NOVEMBER marks the time of year when countries around the world celebrate St Andrew’s Day.

In Scotland, many people gather together to pay tribute to the kindness of our patron saint through food, music and friendship, and that spirit is carried on by Scots and friends of Scotland around the world.

Many events are led by the many international St Andrew’s Societies established by Scots following centuries of migration from our shores. But we also see celebrations from our vast alumni and business communities, and from people who just love Scotland’s culture.

We see Scotland’s diaspora as an extension of Scotland itself, and we value all that these international advocates of Scottish culture do to maintain links with our country.

READ MORE: St Andrew's Day: Why does Scotland celebrate the date?

That’s why this St Andrew’s Day, we’re launching two new digital tools on to help connect Scotland’s diaspora around the world, to strengthen those links and connect with everyone who has, or wants, a link to Scotland.

Firstly, a new online registration service, where people can sign up as a member of Scotland’s diaspora, so they can receive regular updates on news in Scotland, related activity happening near them, and resources and ideas for how to celebrate events like St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night.

The National:

Secondly, a new community directory to bring Scottish organisations and activities into one handy list, to help people living or travelling around the world find ways to engage with Scotland wherever they are. We already have organisations signed up from places as varied as South Korea, Uruguay, Mexico and Western Australia.

The groups we’re looking to sign up are as diverse vocationally as they are geographically, from traditional Highland Games and Scottish country dancing to the new links being forged by alumni of our world-class universities and colleges, and people doing business here.

Global connections like this raise Scotland’s profile and reputation. They encourage people and companies to visit, study, live, work and do business here – making them crucial to the Scottish economy.

Thanks in part to the efforts of Scottish Development International and our network of international offices, Scotland remains the most attractive place in the UK to invest after London. This year’s EY Attractiveness survey on foreign direct investment shows Scotland outpaced the UK for a second year running, with a record 126 inward investment projects secured last year.

The significance of that interest can be seen in statistics from Scottish Development International, which show inward investment created more than 8500 jobs across 20 local authorities over the past year.

Beyond business, our Scottish Connections Framework published earlier this year sets out our plan to expand our diaspora by engaging with the tens of thousands of international students who study in our world-class institutions each year. These students are some of the brightest minds from countries around the world, many of which form a lifelong bond with Scotland during their time at university or college.

READ MORE: St Andrews Day: What countries is Saint Andrew patron saint of?

A significant proportion of tourists from places like the US, Canada and Australia already tell us their heritage is one of the reasons they chose to visit Scotland. Estimates suggest that upwards of 40 million people around the world consider themselves to have Scottish ancestry, so we have many more people to welcome.

By encouraging new links with all of these Scottish connections, we want to help create a thriving and truly international community to benefit both our diaspora and our country.

Whatever you’re doing this St Andrew’s Day, I hope you take the time to check in with your Scottish connections wherever they are – and if they are a valued member of our diaspora, encourage them to keep in touch by signing up on