We had a pretty extraordinary time in Miami at the end of April, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, impressed by the level of development occurring both in Haiti and in the Diaspora community (though of course it is still barely scratching the surface of both the challenge and the opportunity) and determined to make a difference on our return.
Needless to say, however, we were immediately caught up in our local projects once more, which if allowed to do so would easily occupy 150% of our time and energy. I suspect this is true for most of us, whether our projects are in Haiti or elsewhere. Drawn back in to our everyday realities, we may lose sight of the very big picture that opened up for us in the “heart-cracking, deep-listening, and action-oriented” session hosted by the Coalition.
But we’re determined not to let this happen, so we made a commitment to follow up with those at our Coalition session within a couple of weeks — and this is just the beginning of it. So many interesting and worthwhile relationships and possibilities opened up that are inspiring for us to pursue — and by doing so help to bring into focus some new initiatives and strengthen existing ones. And we’re extending this to the entire Coalition community, who were certainly there with us in spirit.
To begin with, here are the (raw, unedited) videos of the Coalition session: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1F08E0C12EDC2C1B.
Then there’s Doug’s heartfelt follow-up letter, which expresses the gratitude we feel when others join us and share their visions for a Haiti restored in body and in spirit, from its once “extremely fertile” soil (that in the 1700s made it the richest colony in the world) to the rehabilitation of its unique syncretic traditions of Vodou, slave revolt, and peasant self-help organizing.
Thank you for your participation in the SHC session in Miami. This note expresses our gratitude for the quality of community co-created by those who assembled together; and Invites you to engage in a series of next steps and opportunities to build forward on behalf of the 100 year vision of a resilient re-building of well being in Haiti.
We are preparing to make accessible in the next days and weeks:
- The contacts roster
- Video segments of several portions of our Sustainable Haiti forum (via You Tube Links)
- Guidance on finding project summaries and additional resources on our website
- Save the Date(s) for the next Sustainable Haiti Coalition Tele-Conference & Webinars to be produced in collaboration with you and other players who represent the vision and actions that will create a regenerative future for Haiti
- Information and links for joining the Coalition at general membership levels and our signature Founders Circle and Leadership Council levels.
We welcome your reflections on the forum in Miami and any and all suggestion for strengthening the evolving platform that is the Coalition. Jonathan & Doug have been highly gratified and experiencing a satisfying state of renewal as a result of the response and declaration of interest to collaborate from among you.
This is a shared leadership of social change journey. We need one another. We look forward to hearing from you and make strides forward along side you.
For those of you at the Coalition session, we are sending a spreadsheet of those attending, with full contact information where we have it (drop us an email if you did not receive it), along with the link to the session videos.
Highlights of the conference, from my perspective, were:
- the two days devoted to Diaspora-led investment, with presentations from current and former Haitian government officials (including the outgoing Prime Minister) and from fund managers and facilitators
- the session by members of the Haiti Medical & Public Health Information Sharing Environment (MPHISE) that warned that the country is about to enter the fourth major wave of the cholera epidemic, even as the major NGOs are pulling back or pulling out (an avoidable tragedy-in-the-making as most recently noted by the New York Times in its Editorial of May 12, reprinted in YoutHaiti’s most recent newsletter)
- the gradual coalescing of groups and alliances, including our own, to focus on tangible projects, such as Partners Worldwide‘s 100,000 Jobs initiative
We’ve also started a dialogue with Université Roi Henri Christophe in Cap Haitien (http://www.urhc.edu.ht, not to be confused with the new but as yet unoccupied university of the same name in Limonade) in hopes of fostering an international exchange with NJ’s Fairleigh Dickinson University.
It’s also clear, however, that we cannot always be directly involved in many of the exchanges we want to facilitate; consequently we’re looking into further tools for sharing and communicating amongst Coalition members, that we can add to the site and use to foster interaction as part of our ongoing contribution to the dialogue and the effort to build the new Haiti.