A two-day international conference called "The Diaspora and the Homeland" began on Thursday, with participants underlining the importance of the diaspora community for Croatia's development and marketability.
Presidential envoy Mirjana Hrga said Croats living abroad were crucial for the sustainability of the Croatian nation, since more Croats were currently living abroad than in Croatia itself.
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who has dedicated her time in office to boosting the country's declining demographics, considers the diaspora community to be an untapped source of wealth and knowledge.
Hrga said Croats living abroad poured in 15.5 billion kuna into Croatia every year, which is more than all other foreign investments.
Zvonko Milas, state secretary at the Central State Office for Croats Abroad, underlined the role of the diaspora in the creation of the Croatian state, saying there had been no Croat community around the world that did not support and participate in the formation of the country.
Milas said the government must do more to promote Croatian identity in Croat communities around the world and that Croats abroad must be included in state strategies in Croatia.
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