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I was recently invited to speak at Secretary Clinton’s 2nd Global Diaspora Forum in Washington DC on July 25-26, 2012. I had a really wonderful time sharing MentorCloud’s vision and technology during events at US Dept of State and US AID, and seeing incredible response to the idea of people coming together to empower others by sharing their knowledge and expertise.

Dr. Ravi Gundlapalli @ GDF 2012 – Delivering plenary talk

Our visionary and highly inspiring Secretary Clinton called this initiative itself as an ‘IdEA – International Diaspora Engagement Alliance,’ to unleash the ‘Smart Power’ of over 62 M US diaspora members. She made this powerful statement at the 2011 Global Diaspora Forum: “Diaspora communities have the potential to be the most powerful people-to-people asset we can bring to the world’s table.” And during her keynote address this year, she added – “By tapping into the experiences, the energy, the expertise of diaspora communities, we can reverse the so-called “brain drain” that slows progress in so many countries around the world, and instead offer the benefits of the “brain gain.” What an innovative idea!

Hon. Secretary Clinton delivering her keynote address @ GDF 2012

The theme of this year’s forum was ‘Moving Forward By Giving Back’, with distinguished speakers and panelists sharing how new technology can empower and increase diaspora philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, volunteerism, and social innovation. The energy and positiveness that I experienced at the Forum was very inspiring. Over 500 delegates representing diaspora organizations from all over the world engaged very actively, forged new friendships and partnerships that will undoubtedly lead to tremendous results in the years to come.

US AID administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah summed it up so nicely. He said during his opening remarks on Day 2 – “One of the things that makes this country great is the fact that there are 62 million of us.  And the fact that so long as we’re the country where people aspire to come to succeed, we’ll be the greatest country in the world.  And so long as we connect that success back to where we came, that’s the embodiment of our humanity and our commitment to ourselves.

MentorCloud is proud and privileged to be a strategic partner for this historic initiative. Our sincere appreciation and plaudits to Romi Bhatia, Thomas Debass, Kris Balderston, Kathleen Newland, Deena Shakir, Malina Dumas and others from the IdEA team for organizing such a fantastic, inclusive and highly inspiring conference. Thanks to Vuyo Dunjwa (Executive Chairman of the Board, Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce), Greg Buie (Chief Operating Officer, People to People), and Francis Robles (Chief Financial Officer, FUPEC-CA) and Elmer Arias, (President, FUPEC-CA) for joining me during my presentation and sharing your remarks on how you envision leveraging and complementing this platform for your organizations’ development programs in your respective communities and countries of origin/heritage.

In closing, I like to add that Knowledge and Experience are those rare things that grow on you when you share with others. Make a pact with yourself today to

a) Be a mentor and share what you know

b) Be a mentee and seek to learn from others who have been there done that, and accelerate your own career.

Here are some other photos from my memorable visit to DC.

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