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Haiti remains in crisis

What can and should the international community do to help?

The Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies will present an engaging webinar, "Haiti Crisis: Prospects for Peace Building," at 4 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.

The virtual webinar, which is free and open to the public, will feature speakers Keith Mines, Director of the Latin America program at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Louis-Henri Mars, Executive Director of Lakou Lapè, and Ambassador Patrick Duddy, Director of the Duke University Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Haiti is currently facing one of the most challenging periods in its troubled history. In the aftermath of the July 2021 assassination of President Moïse, the country is grappling with political instability, criminal violence, and widespread disruption to daily life. Gang activity has severely hindered efforts to provide essential supplies, such as food and medicine, while homicides and kidnappings have surged.

Despite calls for international assistance, the situation remains dire, with the international community striving to restore the rule of law, deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid, and strengthen the capacity of Haiti's government to govern effectively. The United Nations' Integrated Office in Haiti has underscored the interconnectedness of political, security, development, and humanitarian dimensions in addressing the current crisis.

Moderator Ambassador Duddy hopes to engage in a comprehensive discussion, covering topics such as the ongoing crisis, Haiti's most pressing needs, and the prospects for robust international support. Registered attendees will be able to submit questions in advance to steer the conversation in a productive way, so that viewers might gain valuable insights into the complex challenges faced by Haiti and the potential pathways for meaningful assistance.

Keith Mines brings extensive experience to the discussion, having served in various diplomatic and military roles, including work on governance and institution building, peacebuilding, and post-conflict stabilization. His book, Why Nation Building Matters: Political Consolidation, Building Security Forces, and Economic Development in Failed and Fragile States, further demonstrates his expertise in this field.

Louis-Henri Mars, the Executive Director of Lakou Lapè, based in Port-au-Prince, has dedicated himself to peacebuilding in Haiti since 2007. With a background in the private sector and conflict transformation, Mars has been instrumental in fostering peace and reconciliation within the country.

“I became engaged in peacebuilding as I noticed the recurring cycles of violence in Haiti and wanted to help in breaking those cycles and reconcile relationships between Haitians,” Mars said.

Ambassador Duddy, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the region. During a long diplomatic career, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere. Currently he is a fellow with the Caribbean Policy Consortium. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.