Consul General of Haiti in Atlanta
“Service Above Self”
Is a Mantra of the Consul General of Haiti Who Uplifts Women, Girls and the Underserved
Conducted by: Cynthia L. Blandford, Publisher
Please share with us your professional background.
First, thank you for having Haiti and me personally in this iF Magazine edition. I want to commend you for the wonderful job you have been doing by highlighting our efforts to promote our respective countries (African Caribbean) in Atlanta.
I am a Public Administrator with a degree in leadership. I am pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Texas Permian Bassin. I have served for four years as Consul General of Haiti in Atlanta. I represent the Haitian Government and serve the Haitian Community in a jurisdiction encompassing Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North & South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.
My primary responsibility is to serve as a liaison between the Haitian Community and the Haitian Government while preserving Haiti’s interests within the United States, consolidating relations between Haiti and the U.S., develop cultural exchange between Haiti and U.S. throughout the consulate jurisdictions. I also handle all legal matters for the Consulate and oversee drafting documents.
During my posting, I participated in several conferences and discussions emphasizing women’s Roles in Diplomacy or Leadership, international relations, global aspects of gender equality, and sustainable development as a keynote speaker, such as the consular conversation in 2020 with Global Atlanta, alongside the Bahamas, Guyana, and Jamaica; the panelists of the International Women’s Day Leadership Forum of Atlanta in 2021, with Israel, Ireland, Bahamas, India, and Germany, and the 6th Annual Equinox Symposium 2023 organized by Global Education – Kennesaw State University.
I have been selected by Clark Atlanta University President George T. French, Jr. and First Lady Dr. Ba-Shen Bacon French as the recipient of the 2023 Champion for Peace & Diplomacy.
Before integrating diplomacy, I Worked for different Non-Profit Organizations, social and governmental programs, and the Haitian parliament.
Tell us about yourself and how you became Consul of Haiti.
As I have said before, I am a humble public servant. The public service is where I find my joy and my purpose. I always remember a bible verse my mom taught me about the power of giveaways: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” My passion for servicing comes from that verse, and having the opportunity to have been trained by the state university of Haiti motivated me even more to give back to my community. I volunteered to work with vulnerable populations, empower women, and foster change in my community. Before being appointed to the consulate general of Haiti in Atlanta, I spent almost ten years working in public administration and non-profit organizations. I worked for the executive and legislative bodies in Haiti. When the opportunity came to shift to diplomacy, I knew the challenges would be even bigger, as Haiti has been facing enormous challenges at every level. However, I was motivated to continue servicing.
Being appointed to the Consulate General of Haiti in Atlanta was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am very humble to have served my country at this level. This appointment was my first diplomatic post. I joined the Consulate in 2019 as Head of Post and became the Consul General. It was a total shift from public administration to the diplomatic field. One of the best memories was the support the Consulate provided, under my leadership, to thousands of Haitian migrants who arrived at the U.S. southern border in Texas in September 2022.
What are some past, present, and future goals of the Haitian Consulate?
The Consulate General of Haiti in Atlanta has always focused on cultural exchange and art exhibits, which increased over time. The art exhibit “Transcendent: More to Haiti than you Know,” in 2020 before COVID hit everything, was a great partnership with the City of Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, the world’s busiest airport, and the Georgia American Chamber of Commerce. We also continue to foster great connections that can help us tell our story. The battle of Savanah with “Les Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint-Domingue,” for instance, where thousands of Haitians fought for an independent America, is one of the consulate’s traditional celebrations of the Savanah Georgia’s Haitian Monument on Franklin Square, and especially with the presence of the Mayor of Savanah, Mr. Van Johnson, in 2022, showed how the consulate continues to emphasize this particular area to promote Haiti in Georgia and the states that its jurisdiction covers. The celebration of diverse Haitian holidays such as Independence and flag day has brought a great partnership with the City of Atlanta and the City of Doraville. Furthermore, the consulate seeks to strengthen its tie with the local authorities, partners interested in working with migrants, and, more importantly, the African-Caribbean community in Atlanta since we share mostly the same culture and values and develop stronger relationships with local authorities in Atlanta.
Tell us about your perspective regarding international trade and development. Please also describe US and Haiti relations and what you are presently focused on.
The United States is one of Haiti’s most important trading allies. As part of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), Haiti has exploited several opportune commercial programs with the United States, including textile, apparel, and crafted products under Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE), Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP), and the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership (CBTPA) legislations. In addition, there are free trade zones, including agricultural free trade zone, and ports that provide maritime access to Haiti. Although the business environment is challenging, Haiti’s regulation emboldens foreign direct investment, and Haitian investment laws maintain the same privileges, rights, and equal care to regional and alien companies. During these past few decades, Haiti has faced serious challenges, including natural disasters, environmental shocks, and political turmoil, making the trading climate more fragile. However, The Haitian government has continued to work closely with all the actors to enhance the political situation and the safety of the people in order to pursue free, fair, and democratic elections that will bring a better business environment.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you and the IF Magazine family for the outstanding work you have been doing in showcasing international stories and the efforts of courageous African-Caribbean men and women diplomats in Atlanta in promoting their countries. Thank you for giving us this huge platform to engage more audiences and attract more people to know more about our countries, cultures, and all the opportunities to connect with us. As a female in diplomacy, I would like to use this platform to encourage women and young girls in leadership, take the initiative, and foster change.