WASHINGTON, USA -- Hundreds of members of the Haitian Diaspora from the United States, Latin America and Europe gathered in Washington DC this weekend for the 2012 Haitian Diaspora Congress.
The Congress, which took place under the theme “Unity for Results,” was addressed by representatives of the government of Haiti through Minister of the Diaspora Daniel Supplice, president of the Senate Simon Desras, former governor general of Canada and UNESCO special representative to Haiti Michaelle Jean, representatives of diplomatic missions and several others.
Assistant secretary general of the Organization of American States and chair of the Haiti Group of Friends and Haiti Task Force, Ambassador Albert Ramdin described the discussions at the Congress as both pointed and fruitful.
“The Diaspora is clearly committed to progress in Haiti regardless of political affiliation. At the same time concerns have been expressed about the delay in the appointment of Permanent Electoral Council, the overdue partial senate elections and the need for political stability,” said Ramdin.
“These are issues which should be resolved as soon as possible so that we can continue on the path to stability, progress and development,” he added.
Addressing the Congress, president of the Haitian Senate Simon Desras praised the Diaspora for “staying loyal and faithful to the Haitian dream.”
After expressing thanks to the international community for its support of Haiti, Desras appealed to the Diaspora to work with the government of Haiti to find a long term sustainable solution for Haiti’s challenges.
“We know what went wrong over and over in Haiti, now let us determine what works, and build from there,” said Desras, who went on to announce the designation of a special representative of the Senate to serve as a direct liaison with the Diaspora.
UNESCO special representative Michaelle Jean urged the Diaspora to work together to find solutions to challenges facing millions of their countrymen.
"United we stand. Let us muster our strengths -- all of our strengths -- within Haiti, outside of Haiti, throughout the hemisphere and indeed from around the world. We need Haitian solutions to Haitian problems,” said Jean.
Minister of Haitians Living Abroad Daniel Supplice, who addressed the gathering several times, reiterated the importance of the Diaspora in the development of Haiti and called on Haitians living abroad to continue investing in their homeland. He described Haiti as a country of tremendous potential which can be realized, with support and commitment of all stakeholders and members of the Diaspora.