The Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies

Tracing Scotland’s global reach

As early as the 13th century Scots have been leaving their homeland. Until recently, there has never been a dedicated Scottish centre researching the worldwide impact of these expatriates.

Prompted by his own global business travels, Edinburgh alumnus Alan McFarlane was keen to find out more about the heritage of migrant Scots.

Mr McFarlane credits the Edinburgh Campaign with connecting his personal interest in Scottish diaspora with the work of historian Professor Tom Devine. In 2007 he donated £1 million to aid the establishment of the first Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies. His generous gift is believed to be the largest, single, private donation to promote a UK-based historical research initiative.

Mr McFarlane’s gift has created scholarships and bursaries to support six postdoctoral fellows and eight PhD students.

The Centre has hosted a series of public events and advises the Scottish Government on its plans to engage with diaspora, and this is just the beginning.

For more information please visit The Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies website.



I wanted to get a deeper understanding of Scotland’s role in the world. Why is there a Robert Burns statue in every Australian state’s capital city? Scotland’s place in the global imagination has to be rooted in history but how did the myths come to be wrapped around the historic events?

Alan McFarlane

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If you are interested in supporting the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies please contact Emma Lacroix