Haiti time zone Eastern Standard Time) UTC/GMT -5 hours
Capital City Port-au-Prince
Currency Haitian gourde HTG
National Day 1 January
THE REPUBLIC OF HAITI’S new Ambassador His Excellency M. Euvrard Saint Amand arrived in London last November. A big sports fan (soccer, basketball, volleyball and tennis), he looks forward to his family moving to the UK this summer after they complete the academic year in the US. Throughout lockdown, he says he’s seen glimpses of “the famous British spirit,” and has observed how Londoners are so friendly to strangers – “there’s no fear, which you often find in other countries.” Given that he’s been unable to physically meet people he says, he has embraced technology to manage the best he can. “Even so, being face-to-face is so important for communication. That warm hug or high-five can play a great role in diplomatic negotiations.”
Growing up in Haiti, Mr Saint Amand believes his curiosity brought about his passion for diplomacy. From an early age, he was interested in travel, other cultures and history. “When I saw individuals like Emile St Lot, Haiti’s first Ambassador to the UN, I realised that positions in multilateral diplomacy could be a possibility.”
After studying sociology at the University of Haiti, he spent many years as a journalist and broadcaster. From 1993 until 2018, he hosted, produced and directed programmes in his native city Port-de-Paix, in Port-au-Prince and later in West Palm Beach, Florida. As a well-known journalist, he travelled the world meeting people from the poorest backgrounds to famous world leaders.
A major shift in his career took place when the Ambassador decided to leave Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. “I moved to the US with my family to start a new life.” He used this time to complete a number of degrees, including his Master’s in Public Administration. These experiences made him realise what he really wanted to do with his life: “to be a professional public servant.” Alongside his journalism work, he co-founded the Centre for Policy Analysis and Evaluation, an organisation that aimed to promote a different approach to governance around the world with a focus on third world countries. Positive Mind World Corp is another international non-profit organisation that he founded with the objective of creating a new prospective for young people. “It has always been my mission to bring young people together.”
Prior to his posting in the UK, Mr Saint Amand spent three years at Bank of America, working as a Relationship Manager and supervising a team whose role was to strengthen the relationship between the bank and its clients. Much like his journalism work, he explains this was all about communication and public service.
Now as Haiti’s Ambassador in the UK, Mr Saint Amand’s wealth of experience over three decades makes him the ideal candidate to communicate the issues of the day in Haiti. Indeed, one of his major objectives is “to make Haiti better known by the British people, and to give Haiti its rightful place in the world of diplomacy.” He continues: “Haiti is a small country, but in terms of its history and diplomacy we have a big impact. We have been present at many of the large, global diplomatic events. For example, Haiti was one of the first countries to be part of the UN, and the only black country with a representative at the Versailles Treaty after World War I.”
He refers to Haiti’s “deep, historical ties with the UK, which go back before the Haitian Revolution in 1804. Haiti was the first black, independent republic country, and indeed, the word ‘freedom’ began (with reference to the new world) in Haiti when a group of slaves started talking about it in 1791.” Mr Saint Amand is proud of the important role Haiti played bringing freedom to other countries, after its own independence.
“It is important to bring Haiti’s history and sociology to universities in the UK,” he notes. “Students in the UK have a lot to learn from Haiti.” His mission is to also “open doors for Haitians, at both universities and technical schools. The UK is also a good place for cooperation in sport, especially football.”
Furthermore, Mr Saint Amand explains, his government has tasked its new generation of diplomats with “a different kind of diplomacy. We must present Haiti as a country that is not only in need of help, but in need of development.”
Located in the Caribbean, Mr Saint Amand explains that Haiti suffers at the hands of climate change. “Even before COP21, Caribbean countries have been subject to the hurricane season each year. Climate change has made things very difficult for us. So, Haiti is grateful for the UK’s leadership at COP26. As constant victims of various natural catastrophes, we have a lot to say on these issues.”