Event: FATHER JOSEPH Screening

The Focus On Haiti Initiative is hosting a screening of the new film FATHER JOSEPH, a documentary on the life and work of Father Joseph Philippe, Founder of Sèvis Finansye Fonkoze, the Peasant Association of Fondwa, and the University of Fondwa.

The film will be introduced at 6PM and the event will conclude with a panel discussion moderated by Amanda Klasing—Women’s Rights Division Senior Researcher at Human Rights Watch—and the following confirmed speakers:

  • Father Joseph Philippe – Founder of Sèvis Finansye Fonkoze, the Peasant Association of Fondwa (APF), and the University of Fondwa (UNIF)
  • Robert Maguire – Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs
  • Anne Hastings – Founder and former CEO of Sèvis Finansye Fonkoze / Board Member, UNIF-USA
  • Leigh Carter – Founder and Board Member Emeritus, Fonkoze USA / Board Member, APF-USA
  • Jeff Kaufman – Director / Producer of FATHER JOSEPH
  • Jenny Petrow – Inter-American Foundation representative for Colombia and Jamaica, and former IAF representative for Haiti

The screening will be held on September 27, 2016, at the Elliott School of International Affairs (1957 E Street NW, Washington, D.C.) in the Lindner Family Commons.

Please RSVP in advance or email foh@gwu.edu for further information. A preview of the film is available in advance of the screening.
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Postponed: Discussion with Sir Ronald Sanders

An event with Sir Ronald Sanders for September 15th at the Elliott School of International Affairs has been postponed. We hope to reschedule the event in the coming weeks and will send a notification.

Sir Ronald Sanders is currently Ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States for Antigua and Barbuda. Before taking up this appointment, he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London in the UK and as a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto.

Event: Haiti and its Future: Political Breakdown and Need for Reform

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, the Focus On Haiti Initiative and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) will cohost a discussion with Jean-Claude Fignole, Haiti Program Director for Oxfam America. Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli, Senior Associate at WOLA, will moderate the event. The discussion will focus on the future of Haiti’s politics and the durability of Haiti’s long-term development.

The event will be hosted at the Elliott School of International Affairs, Room 505, from 2:00PM-3:30PM. For more information and to RSVP, please email foh@gwu.edu.

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Dumping Peanuts in Haiti

Stop calling “aid” what really is about supply management for US agricultural interests.

By , and , originally posted by The Globalist, June 18, 2016.

For the first time in a long while, Haiti’s peanut farmers are getting some attention. Kicked off by a blog post and Washington Post article, the decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to “donate” peanuts to Haiti has caused due ruckus on blogs and has inspired various editorial responses to and by the Washington Post.

Objections from the world of international development were swift and condemning. From Oxfam to Partners in Health, there has been fierce reaction to the “commodity dumping” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Clearly, Haiti’s own peanut market stands to lose when surplus peanuts from the United States are flown in as food aid.

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Let the voices of the Haitian people be heard

By Sir Ronald Sanders, originally posted by Caribbean News Now.

“International interests in Haiti, in addition to checking off an ‘elections done’ box, are largely defined by controlling emigration, maintaining stability, and managing poverty. The latter is approached either through the creation of low wage factory jobs or by channelling toward Haiti vast sums of international aid most of which are captured by national or international elites, with next to nothing ‘trickling down’ to those who really need it. As a result, the root causes of poverty are not being addressed, and inequality continues to plague Haiti’s citizens as lives once full of promise are wasted.”

That’s the observation of long-time analyst of Haitian affairs, Dr Robert Maguire, Professor of International Development Studies at George Washington University in the United States.

This statement by a respected and neutral US academic is important amid the dissonance that has emerged in the last few weeks from certain governments concerning the holding of presidential and other elections in Haiti. Of special significance is Professor Maguire’s remark about “checking off an ‘elections done’ box”.

Haiti’s elections process has always been deficient. Shortcomings and fraud have underlined the imperative of reforming the system so that it truly reflects the will of the electorate. Election observer missions, largely sent by countries that have meddled in Haitian affairs, more in their own interest than in Haiti’s, have repeatedly stamped approval on elections with the objective of merely “checking the box”. They have failed to look beyond lines of voters at voting stations on polling day.

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HRA Expo on GW’s Campus

2016HRAEXPOflyerThe Haiti Renewal Alliance, in partnership with the George Washington University Center for International Business Education Research (GWU-CIBER), hosted the 7th Annual HRA Business Investment Expo & Conference on GW’s campus June 14-15, 2016.

The Focus On Haiti Initiative previously partnered with the HRA in September of 2015, co-hosting the Haiti Presidential Townhall meeting, available online.

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Haiti: Towards a New Narrative


Raju Singh and Robert Maguire

The Focus On Haiti Initiative hosted Haiti: Towards a New Narrative with Raju Singh, the Lead Economist & Program Leader for Haiti at the World Bank on May 3, 2016. The event featured a presentation of the World Bank’s most recent systematic country diagnostic published, co-authored by Dr. Singh in September 2015. Continue reading