Born and raised in Thomassique, a small town of approximately 2,200 friendly inhabitants. Located in the central part of Haiti, it is just about 15 miles from the Dominican Republic border. My mother, one of the only five nurses in town, and my dad, a local farmer and Police Aid, were proud parents of six: three boys and three girls. To the best of my knowledge my parents did the best they could to raise us with the little they had. They are my heroes.
Although both my mom and dad had an education equivalent to only a 12th-grade level, they stressed the importance of education during our early years. They were very strict about homework and house chores. In fact, we could not go to bed until these duties were completed. Fortunately, my parents did not have to wait too long before they saw the rewards of stressing education. By the time I completed elementary school, it was no longer necessary for them to tell me to do my homework. I was holding myself to a higher standard. Just passing class was not good enough. Getting good grades was now my goal. I was starting to develop a very strong competitive drive.
Haiti is a very centralized country with financial services, government agencies, and decent schools located in the capital, Port-au-Prince. After middle school, my sister and I moved to Port-au-Prince in search of a decent high school. Adjusting to the capital’s lifestyle was a challenge. To us, Port-au-Prince was a fast-paced big city that was a stark contrast to idyllic Thomassique. We eventually adjusted to the lifestyle even though we had to attend different public high schools. (We could not afford private high school.) My first year in high school was particularly challenging. I lacked any kind of family support since my parents were still living in Thomassique. Fact is, I barely passed my final exam at year’s end.
My fourth year in high school was a complete reversal from the first one. I now had many friends and I was getting good grades.
Public high schools in Haiti are usually free but they lack the resources that are part of a quality education. Usually it is up to student organizations and committees to search for and acquire outside resources to make up for the shortfalls in public high schools. During my four years in high school, I served as class president. During my tenure, I raised money and organized cultural events and conferences, including one that was held on December 6, 1996 by Haiti’s president at the time, Aristide. My most memorable moments during high school were the three times I met with President Aristide and the recognition that I got from my fellow classmates.
Throughout the time that I was living in Haiti, I sensed the harsh and difficult living conditions. Basic necessities such as food, water, electricity and medication were scarce and continue to be so today, and in some parts of the country almost non-existent. For the most part, government leaders were corrupt. Fraud was rampant and political opposition leaders were being assassinated one after the other. Unlike most teenagers, I was very well informed politically and was very outspoken against irresponsible government leaders. It quickly became apparent to me that our suffering was a result of corrupt government leaders, a weak government, and a lack of education.
When I came to America, I discovered the endless opportunities that are available to every citizen in this country. I was amazed to say the least. My experience here in the US had definitely broadened and enhanced my point of view on the rights of citizens and the irresponsibility of government leaders in Haiti. I want to change the status quo.
While growing up, I’ve always admired and read books about Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi. Those well-known activists shared at least one important fact: they all believed in something that they were ready to die for. Their values have inspired me to recognize the horrible living condition in Haiti, and I and want to do something about it. I’m willing to dedicate the rest of my life to do whatever it takes to improve the living condition in Haiti. The next phase of my mission includes the development of my leadership skills. To do so, I am currently attending one of the top five (5) universities in the United States, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management while keeping my full time managerial position in corporate America. Upon completion of my MBA, I plan to seek an international career opportunity that will give me the experience I need in economics and global affairs. In addition, within the next year or two years, I plan on putting a team of dedicated young Haitian students together and establish a grass roots foundation in Haiti and in the U.S. This initiative will require me to travel at least three times a year to give conferences at high schools, colleges, and universities concerning my vision for Haiti’s future.
Alexandre Greguy - Secretary General
Merlin Escarment - Vice Secretary
Jimmy Dubuisson - Public Relations (Haiti)