Catching the Sun Alfonsina Blyde/Flickr

De omkering van de brain drain

DUBAI – In 1968, toen ik studeerde aan de Mons Officer Cadet School in het Verenigd Koninkrijk, moest ik naar het ziekenhuis. Daar ontmoette ik een dokter die tot mijn verbazing vloeiend Arabisch sprak. Ik kwam erachter dat hij nieuw was in Engeland, dus ik vroeg of hij lang wilde blijven of naar huis wilde gaan. Hij antwoordde met een Arabisch spreekwoord dat zich vertaalt als: ‘mijn huis is waar ik te eten heb’.

De woorden van die dokter bleven vele jaren bij me hangen, omdat ze de contradictie tussen onze geïdealiseerde blik van ‘thuis’ en de harde werkelijkheid van het leven dat getalenteerde mensen van huis wegdrijft benadrukten.

Deze dokter was een klassiek geval van het brain drain fenomeen dat ontwikkelingslanden al tientallen jaren plaagt. Deze landen besteden hun schaarse hulpmiddelen aan het opleiden van dokters, ingenieurs en wetenschappers in de hoop dat ze aanjagers van welvaart zullen worden. Dan zien we ze met ontzetting migreren naar het Westen terwijl ze de belofte van hun talent meenemen.

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