Rebuilding Haiti Through Its Culture- May 18 (6:30pm)

The IDB Cultural Center presents the

Special Advisor to the Ministry of Culture and Communication in Haiti

Magali Comeau Denis

in an illustrated lecture on the current state of the arts in post-earthquake Haiti

Rebuilding Haiti Through Its Culture

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 6:30 PM

Free and open to the public.  Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center, Inter-American Development Bank, 1330 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC, one block from Metro Center, 13th Street exit.

Photo ID required.  Unreserved general admission.  202.623.3558

The destruction caused by the 1/12/10 earthquake is unspeakable. All the institutions are affected, and all the symbols of national life have collapsed. The historical heritage of the cities of Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Léogâne is wiped out. Thousands of artworks are buried under the rubble; collections of objects, books, archival documents are either lost or being lost. The memory of the Haitian people is threatened.

The countless number of dead and seriously injured people, the lives to be saved, the millions of homeless people, the thousands of children vainly searching for their parents, overshadows losses suffered in the cultural sector, which are not taken into account in this great show of solidarity by the international community, since they do not come under humanitarian emergency.

Without taking a common stand, all the representatives of national life, including the Government, the civil society, and political parties, in the face of the exposure of the cultural weaknesses of our institutions, as well as the reactions of the population, are calling for the rebuilding of the State through our culture. The earthquake, therefore, has given the nation a new opportunity with history. The objective in invoking our culture, which is highly celebrated here and elsewhere, is to apprehend it from every angle.  How can Haitians use it to build their future and avoid repeating mistakes of the past?

Magali Comeau Denis joined the Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately after completing her law studies, and later transferred to the Ministry of Justice. She worked with the Institut Français d’Haïti for 15 years as Head of Cultural Projects, and was a member of the Editorial Board of CONJONCTION, a Franco-Haitian review of literary creation, essays, criticisms and reflections.  She was also in charge of the network of Alliances Françaises across Haiti. In 2004, she became Minister of Culture and Communication.  She is the General Coordinator of the Culture and Development Movement.  She was a founding member, coordinator and spokesperson of the group No! Coalition of Artists and Intellectuals for the Defence of Freedom in Haiti. She is also an actress and widow of Hervé Y. Denis.  Ms. Denis will lecture in French with simultaneous interpretation to English.


Africans Extend Solidarity to Haiti

Original article at:

Africans extend solidarity to Haiti

Money, food and medicines from “mother Africa” to her diaspora

By Ernest Harsch

Port au Prince, shortly after the earthquakePort au Prince, shortly after the earthquake: Though Africa is beset with problems of its own, many countries have rushed aid to the stricken people of Haiti.

Photograph: UN / Marco Dormino

In the broad international mobilization to help the stricken people of Haiti, Africa is not lagging behind. Government officials, religious leaders, students, artists and many other Africans responded to the news of the devastating earthquake of 12 January with an immediate outpouring of support and solidarity.

By end-March, some 24 countries in Africa had either donated or pledged more than $51 mn for Haitian relief efforts, according to available reports. That was just a tiny fraction of the total of $3.5 bn given or promised worldwide, but notable nonetheless for the continent with the world’s highest poverty rates.

In some countries, critics wondered whether the funds could not be better used at home. Life is certainly hard in Africa, acknowledged Cameroonian music star Manu Dibango. But, he added, “Everyone can do something for the Haitian people, in the name of human dignity. Westerners often do something for Africans. Why not Africans for Africans?”

‘The first black republic’

Historically, Africans have had a particular affinity for Haiti, a country populated almost entirely by descendants of African slaves.

There is a certain pride in Haiti’s history. As a coalition of political parties in Burkina Faso pointed out in a solidarity message, Haiti was “the first black republic in the world,” a reference to the revolution that drove out the slave owners and ended French colonial rule in 1802 — more than a century and a half before most of Africa won its own freedom.

There are also more direct connections. Numerous African countries have citizens in Haiti, including with the peacekeepers of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and with other international organizations. Some were among the 200,000 believed to have lost their lives.

Among the biggest governmental contributors in Africa are: Morocco, which pledged some $34 mn in humanitarian assistance; Ghana, with a vow of $3 mn in emergency relief; the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has promised $2.5 mn; and Equatorial Guinea, with a pledge of $2 mn.

Citizen responses

Two days after the disaster the South African government pledged an initial R1 mn ($135,000). But South African companies and charities quickly vowed to mount a bigger effort. South African Minister of International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane believes that public contributions will eventually exceed the target of R30 mn ($4 mn) set for the national campaign.

In other African countries as well, civil society groups have not left the initiative to their governments alone. Kenya’s local Red Cross is coordinating the collection of money, food and other donations from the public. Church groups from the DRC to Burkina Faso are mobilizing contributions from parishioners. An all-star “Ghana Loves Haiti” benefit concert was held in Accra. Namibia’s Chamber of Commerce, youth groups and local musicians also mounted a text-messaging campaign and benefit concert.

In Senegal, health care and social work unions are collecting medicines and new clothes to send to Haiti, and teachers’ unions held a “week of solidarity.” Musicians from Senegal and other countries organized an “Afrik for Haiti” benefit concert in Dakar and are raising more funds from sales of a group single. The Comité d’initiative Sénégal-Haïti, set up by Senegalese and Caribbean residents living in Senegal, argues for a longer-term perspective that looks beyond emergency relief to rebuilding, including by funding scholarships for Haitian students.

A collective of university professors from Benin, Ghana, Guadeloupe, Guinea, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and the US are planning to fill a ship with goods from various countries along the West African coast and sail it to Haiti. The aim, said Senegalese academic Malick Ndiaye, is to “deliver a message from mother Africa to her sons and daughters across the Atlantic.”

Haiti: Findings of Human Rights Organizations (March 23)

TransAfrica Forum Event
Public Briefing on Haiti

Haiti: Findings of  Human Rights Organizations

When: Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Where: TransAfrica Forum, 1629 K Street, NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20006 (Farragut North Metro Station)

Time: 6:00 – 7:30pm (light refreshments served)

Cost: Free and open to the public

Despite reports that the situation in Haiti are stable, many human rights organizations report a different story. While USAID and the U.S. Southern Command are now asserting that the demand for food and medical care is not exceeding the capacity on the ground, TransAfrica and its colleagues have found these reports wholly untrue. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are going without food, shelter, sanitation and medical care, and the bureaucratic process to receive help is costing lives. Despite more than $1 billion collected for Haiti relief, tens of thousands of Haitians go without nourishment and an adequate amount of sanitation units.

In response to these and other humanitarian and human right concerns, prominent human rights attorneys will testify before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the morning of Tuesday, March 23, 2010. Representatives from the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, and Bureau des Avocats Internationaux.

Following their testimony and meetings with key Congressional Members, the delegation will answer questions at TransAfrica Forum. Join us on Tuesday, March 23 at 6:00pm and hear a poignant, more personal version, of the present situation in Haiti.

TransAfrica Forum is the leading advocacy organization for Africa and the African Diaspora in U.S. foreign policy. In its 30 year history, TransAfrica Forum helped lead the world protest against apartheid in South Africa. The organization was a key player in the restoration of Democracy in Haiti and limiting U.S. oil company power in Nigeria. Today TransAfrica Forum continues to work for human and economic justice for African people on the continent of Africa, in Latin America and in the Caribbean. Our website is

Please RSVP to or call 202.223.1960 ext 131.

In the Wake of Haiti, How Can We Improve Aid to Developing Countries?

An Invitation from Oxfam America and Foreign Policy…

In the Wake of Haiti, How Can We Improve Aid to Developing Countries?

A discussion with leading development experts on promoting recipient country ownership and building more effective institutions.

Thursday, March 25, 2010 / 3 – 4pm

Reserve Officers Association
Minuteman Ballroom
One Constitution Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002

As voices from the disaster in Haiti have made painfully clear, decades of foreign aid to Haiti have had little impact on Haiti’s ability to reduce poverty. In light of the global challenges we face, all donors must reconsider their approaches to foreign aid. The Obama Administration is currently going through two major reviews of U.S. development policy. Developing world voices must be heard in this debate for it to proceed successfully. In the third of a series of events, Oxfam America and Foreign Policy bring development experts to the table to discuss how ownership and capacity building can help the world avoid the next Haiti or Afghanistan.

Discussing these issues in a panel are:

Blake Hounshell, Managing Editor, Foreign Policy (Moderator)

Paul O’Brien, Vice President of Policy and Campaigns, Oxfam America

His Excellency Raymond Joseph, Haitian Ambassador to the United States (Keynote)

Joel Dreyfuss, Managing Editor, The Root

Dr. Robert Maguire, Professor, Trinity College in Washington & Chair, Haiti Working Group, US Institute of Peace

Paul Auxila, Chief Operating Officer, Management Sciences for Health

Space is limited. RSVP today at or 202-741-5581.

We Are The Difference: Rebuilding Haiti (March 13th)




Red Carpet Fundraiser


Saturday March 13th, 2010
6PM-11PM   Because the arts are a prominent part of Haitian culture, the event will include a musical performance, a fashion show and live painting component.

2473 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009


Hosted by actor Leo Breckenridge from the award winning short “U Street DC”, the evening will center around the musical performance of singer/songwriter Ayanna Gregory, who has shared the stage with icons such as Maya Angelou, the Last Poets, Bill Cosby, Stevie Wonder, Dick Gregory, Isaac Hayes, Will Downing, Lou Donaldson, Jennifer Holiday, Amiri Baraka, and Sonia Sanchez.  Witness live paintings by artists Rachel and Rebecca Crouch and Charles Jean-Pierre and enter the silent auction for a chance to take home original pieces.  Finally, enjoy a taste of the runway with a fashion show featuring the most recent collections of designers featured in Vogue Media.


ALL proceeds will go to Partners In Health (PIH).  The organization was founded by Paul Farmer – anthropologist and ethnographer – who has done extensive work in Haiti and regarding biomedicine. PIH is focused on providing health care to the most disenfranchised communities and is actively involved in the rebuilding efforts. Follow this link to learn more about PIH.


 Tickets begin at $20 and must be purchased in advance at


Please direct all questions to



Ghana Cafe Happy Hour- Jan 27th


Where: Ghana Cafe, 1336 14th, NW (at the corner of 14th & Rhode Island Ave. next to 7/11); closest Metro stops are Dupont Circle (red line) and McPherson Square (orange line)

When: Wednesday, January 27th from 6pm to 11pm

The 148th Class of the U.S. Foreign Service and Ghana Cafe are hosting a happy hour to raise money for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

100% of the donations collected at the event will go to Doctors Without Borders and the Foreign Service Nationals Emergency Relief Fund to support the dedicated Haitian staff of U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince.

Donations will be collected at the door (suggested donation is $5 or $10).

Ghana Cafe will also donate $1 for every beer and $2 for every cocktail that is ordered during the event. The more you drink, the more you donate. What a concept!



On Tuesday, January 26th and Wednesday,
January 27th, Scion Restaurant will be donating
20% of food sales to disaster relief in Haiti.
Diners may choose to direct the contribution
from their check to American Red Cross, Partners in
or the U.N. World Food Programme.
Thank you for your contribution!

for more information contact:
Julie H. Liu
(703) 864-3069