Haiti: Open For Business
New York City is a bustling hive of global activity this week as the UN General Assembly has gathered and the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting is in session. I was honored to open the doors of the Urban Zen center to welcome many of these of leaders, including Haiti’s President Martelly and Rwanda’s President Kagame as our guests last night at Urban Zen, for a celebration of Dr. Paul Farmer’s book, “Haiti: After the Earthquake.”
It was a very special evening that allowed for Haiti to come into the spotlight, highlighting it’s growth, development and potential for business – issues that I have come to support and believe in with great passion. It made my heart soar to see President Martelly take the stage to reintroduce Haiti to the global community saying, “Come to Haiti and recognize the strength and wealth that we have. I welcome you to come and visit. Haiti is now open for business – don’t see me as the president of Haiti, see me as your partner.”
With every visit to Haiti and every new, creative Haitian I meet, I become increasingly convinced of the possibility and potential of Haiti and believe that the marriage of philanthropy and commerce will serve as the solution for rebuilding this country. Last night truly exemplified everything we have been striving for with our Hope, Help & Rebuild Haiti mission. In fact, Dr. Paul Farmer said it best when he said, “If you want to help Haiti, create jobs. Relief is behind us, rebuilding is ahead.”
I was enormously grateful when President Martelly shared with me that, “Urban Zen feels like a Haitian home.” Haiti captured my heart in the first moment I experienced the vibrant country, so recreating a small piece of Haiti’s essence at Urban Zen is a great honor for me.
Special thanks to Dr. Paul Farmer, President Martelly, President Kagame, Michelle Jean, Wyclef Jean, Philippe Dodard, Partners in Health and my Urban Zen team for making the evening a success.