President Michel Martelly, among other world leaders, joined the list of heads of state speaking at Columbia’s World Leaders Forum, officials said yesterday. In addition to Martelly, King Abdullah II IBN Al Hussein of Jordan and Atifete Jahjaga, president of the Republic of Kosovo will also speak at the world-renown event that provide a platform for dialogue about current political, economic and social issues.
President Martelly’s speech, Moving Beyond Crisis Recovery Towards Lasting Development, will take place on September 22, 2011 followed by a question and answer session with the audience. The hour-long event at Morningside Campus’ Miller Theatre of Columbia University will come after the Haitian parliament’s ratification session on Garry Conille, Martelly’s third nomination for prime minister. His first two designations for the post, entrepreneur Gerard Rouzier and former Justice Minister Bernard Gousse received unfavorable votes from lawmakers.
Outsider qualities that made Martelly an attractive candidate and agent of change to his supporters became the basis for pointed criticism on his first hundred-day evaluations. Exactly four months since assuming office, the wave of optimism he rode into the crumbled palace dissipated as the country gradually descended into a political crisis. Three prime minister nominations later, the country seems no closer to ratifying a head of government, a prerequisite to establishing a stable government to oversee some $5.3 billion in promised reconstruction aid from international donors.
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake ravaged Haiti’s capital and surrounding cities on Jan 12, 2010, killing, according to revised government figures, more than 316,000 people, living another 1.5 million homeless.
Meanwhile, Columbia speakers’ selection generated protests and media attention, extending invitations to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi to speak at the leaders forum. Other influential speakers included Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Ahmad Mohammed Ali, president of the Islamic Development Bank Group.
Officials cancelled speeches from Kamla Persad-Bissessar, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago and President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Dilma Rousseff announced earlier this week.
Also joining the lineup, seven-time Tour de France champion, Louis Armstrong, Doctors Paul Farmer, Sanjay Gupta, Wafaa El-Sadr and Laurence Shulman in a pane discussion about non-communicable diseases in developing countries. A question and answer session will also follow the discussion taken place from 4pm to 5pm on September 19, 2011 at Rotunda in Low Memorial Library.
For his part, President Martelly may face tough questions from the audience given his inability to forge and majority in either house of the Haitian parliament to see his nominees through the ratification process. His third designation was not without controversies as it provoked disagreements even within the president’s inner circle.
Conille, 45, did his undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and his doctoral work at the State University of Haiti. He served in Ethiopia as a seasonal development worker for the United Nations until June 2011 when he became Resident Coordinator of United Nations Development Programme in Niger. Conille also served as chief of staff to former U.S. President Bill Clinton in his post-quake work as U.N.’s special envoy to Haiti and co-chairman of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) that coordinates the country’s reconstruction efforts.
The Haitian media reported the senate would likely pronounce on Conille’s fate next week, assuming the House of Deputies gave a nod to the Upper House.
- Haiti leader announces 3rd pick for PM post (sfgate.com)
- Protesters in Haiti demand ouster of UN troops (redantliberationarmy.wordpress.com)
- Martelly marks 100 days in Haiti with little progress (repeatingislands.com)