By: Mark Leon Goldberg on May 17, 2011 A three day long meeting of Diaspora communities here in the United States is underway at the State Department this week. The “Secretary’s Global Diaspora Forum” will host discussions about the role of Diaspora communities in development and diplomacy. From the State Department: The Secretary of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, in collaboration with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), is organizing an action-oriented Global Diaspora Forum. The goal is to: Recognize and celebrate the contribution of diaspora communities to America’s relationship with their countries of origin or ancestry; Foster diaspora-centric partnership models; Encourage intra-diaspora collaboration and learning. Diaspora communities need to be a part of any discussion on Development policy. Remittances sent abroad from Diasporas in the United States amounted to an estimated $48 billion last year. For comparison‘s sake, the United States government gave about $29 billion billion in official development assistance in 2009. The State Department forum will take place from May 17 to May 19. You can follow via live webstream and by Twitter (hashtag: #diaspora). I will attend some sessions as well, so check back here.