A NEW framework to enhance Scotland’s connections to the diaspora across the world has been announced by the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Connections Framework will seek to expand links and networks with Scots living elsewhere in the world, those with Scottish heritage, people who have previously lived in Scotland - including alumni - and those with a professional or business link to the country.

As part of the framework, a number of projects will be expanded or launched including a Scottish Connections Challenge Fund to support initiatives that promote Scotland’s reputation and interests.

In the lifetime of the Parliament, a recognition award to highlight the achievements of Scottish diaspora internationally will also be launched and an external advisory group will be established to shape proposed and future work with the diaspora.

External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson said: “Scotland is an open, connected and outward-looking country with a long and proud history of intellectual, cultural and economic exchange.

“Recent research suggested upwards of 40 million people across the world consider themselves to have Scottish heritage but the approach set out in Scottish Connections goes far beyond bloodlines.

“Recognising and engaging our diaspora is an objective in itself – not a means to an end. Scotland’s diaspora and our Scottish Connections are an extension of Scotland – our living bridge with people, organisations and communities around the world.

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“Publishing this framework will unlock many opportunities for Scots and those connected to Scotland across the world.

“Connecting with our international diaspora will enable us to learn from their skills, experiences and achievements.”

Robertson added he was looking forward to discussing the framework in detail with friends and partners in New York City as part of the 25th anniversary of Tartan Week, which will be celebrated over the coming days.