FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington DC, September 29, 2016 — Focused on the economic and political capacity of the diaspora and the significant role they play in rebuilding Haiti, the National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals (NAAHP) has taken its message and mission to Washington DC this week.
“NAAHP is thrilled to convene its annual national conference in Washington DC, where so many game changing policy and funding decisions about Haiti originate, and to provide this platform and access to members of the diaspora and friends of our homeland,” said NAAHP President Serge Renaud. “This is not just the largest gathering of the diaspora that the U.S. capital city has seen in a long time, this three-day forum stands out as a unique space where the achievements and successes of Haitians abroad are front and center from beginning to end.”
Approximately one million Haitians reside in America. They comprise an important and dynamic market, which includes middle class families and senior level professionals primarily in STEM careers. Geographically, Haitian-Americans are concentrated in the Northeast (NY, MA, NJ, CT), Midwest (IL, MI), and South (FL, GA, NC). The Haitian diaspora is estimated to send back approximately $2 billion to their homeland annually.
“As the Member of Congress representing the Congressional District with the largest population of Haitians, it gives me great pleasure to welcome NAAHP and the diaspora to Washington,” said Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who is co-host of the conference kick-off reception on Capitol Hill.
The impressive lineup of speakers for the conference that runs from September 29 to October 1, 2016, at Howard University includes 11 Members of Congress as part of the Honorary Congressional Host Committee, five global ambassadors, District of Columbia officials, senior Washington policy makers, and Haitian-American political operatives. Entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, business leaders, officials from Haiti, and millennials are participating on panels, workshops, and roundtables to discuss strategies to leverage the assets and talents of the diaspora, and identify concrete solutions to help Haiti realize its full potential.
“One of the greatest engines for economic development in Haiti is the Haitian diaspora. In today’s globalized world, diaspora have an enormous role as informal ambassadors in their countries of heritage by knowing the country, its people and culture, and the immense potential of possibilities there,” observed Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten.
The U.S. Department of State is co-hosting the conference’s millennial luncheon, which includes keynote remarks by Haiti Special Coordinator Merten and a young professionals-focused panel discussion about collaboration among Haiti’s millennials.
Watch Haiti Special Coordinator Merten’s keynote address, and the entire conference via livestream HERE, facilitated through a special broadcast by Radio Continentale Power 102.1 FM every day in Creole, French and English.
Among the 2016 award honorees are Congresswoman Mia Love; District of Columbia Attorney General, Karl Racine; National Urban League President, Marc Morial; Millennial entrepreneur and millionaire, Leanna Archer; C. Reynold Verret, PhD, President, Xavier University; and acclaimed architect, Rodney Leon.
“I am honored to host the diaspora in the District of Columbia, my hometown,” said D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine. “I am humbled to be the recipient of the NAAHP Diaspora Achievement Award, and very proud of the ways in which my fellow Haitians abroad are collaborating and partnering to strengthen our influence in the U.S. and foster meaningful change in Haiti.”
The conference agenda highlights the activism of millennials of Haitian descent, diaspora expertise in technology and environmental sustainability, advances in workforce and private sector development, and inroads toward empowering women. There are also “teaching-moments” commemorating Haiti’s most sacred legacy of freedom and rich history of collaboration, including reflections on its past support of Jews, Cubans, and Blacks in America. With such a focus on thought-leadership, advocacy, and social impact, it is particularly significant that the conference is taking place at the Mecca – the epicenter of Black culture – Howard University.
Sponsors and partners of the event include The Raben Group, Embassy of the Republic of Haiti, 1 Click, Off the Ground Solutions, Haiti Renewal Alliance, and Azure College. NAAHP is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Information about the conference is available at http://naahpconference.org.
Haiti’s Diaspora Goes to Washington: Leveraging the Diaspora’s Political & Economic Power for the Good of The Homeland The Raben Group Partners with the National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals