10.01.2012 -

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean returns to Haiti on a new mission

©UNESCO/Michel RavassardFrom right to left: Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti.

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti, returns to Haiti today, for a seven-day mission to participate in ceremonies commemorating the January 12, 2010 earthquake that killed and injured hundreds of thousands of people and displaced one-and-a-half million residents.

“The mourning of so many persons dear to our hearts, killed brutally during the earthquake or in the following days, is hard to bear. But life, even if it is not easy, has resumed and this commemoration, two years later, will be on the side of action and hope,” declared Madame Jean. “The country is on the move.”

On the day of the second anniversary, Michaëlle Jean will participate in the inauguration ceremony of the Henry Christophe campus of State University of Haiti located at Limonade, in the north of the country. The President of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency Michel Joseph Martelly, and the President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Leonel Fernández will preside over the ceremony. The campus was paid for by the government of the Dominican Republic after the shockwave destroyed or severely damaged most of Haiti's public university buildings. Its establishment outside of the metropolitan zone of Port-au-Prince will contribute to the decentralization of higher education.

“Investing in education, training, research, graduate studies, is fundamental for a new social pact, for Haiti’s rebirth on solid and perennial ground,” Madame Jean said. "This campus is evidence of the fraternal ties between the two republics on the island of Quisqueya and it sets an example of what it is possible to achieve when two countries from the South facing similar challenges share solutions.”

The Special Envoy will participate in an important meeting on Jan. 11 on the development of the National History Park that encompass historic monuments, notably the Citadel Henri, the Palace of Sans Souci and the Ramiers fortifications. The park was designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1982. The meeting, organized by Prime Minister Garry Conille, will bring together the ministers of culture and tourism, the Secretary of State for heritage, the director of the Institute for the Safeguarding of the National Heritage and UNESCO representatives. Tourism is an essential sector for Haiti’s economic development and the rest of the region. The country wants to develop its eco-tourism and its cultural tourism which are the fastest growing segments of tourism internationally. UNESCO, through its World Heritage Tourism Program, will support Haiti’s efforts to improve its capacities in site management, training, job creation and new opportunities for local communities, as well as funding for protection and restoration of monuments.

“This working session will allow us to discuss the perspectives of the Haitian government, its plan and to decide what we can do together on specific projects that will help develop and exploit this wonderful heritage treasure which is key to a sustainable and viable tourism strategy for the Haitian economy,” the special envoy said.

Madame Jean will have several meetings with members of the cabinet to pursue dialogue initiated with the instalment of the new government last October. She will also meet with representatives of Haitian civil society and international organizations. Those meetings will include an encounter with Chantal Moreno, who is the Caribbean director of the International Organization of the Francophonie, to discuss projects important to both organizations in the domains of culture and education.




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