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Discover Haiti in Washington, D.C.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 September 2012 01:56 Written by Donna Karan Sunday, 17 June 2012 01:59

Web Grid 62 Discover Haiti in Washington, D.C.


The Discover Haiti Exhibition represents my heart for Haiti and to see it on display in our nation’s capital was magic.

Discover Haiti is the result of beautiful collaborations. First, I am forever grateful to Former President Bill Clinton for bringing me into Haiti and for being a constant source of inspiration and support. I am also thankful for another opportunity to work with fashion photographer Russell James; this exhibition allowed us to expand our creative partnership by collaborating with artisans like Philippe Dodard and videographer David Belle to create a sensory window into the vibrant world of Haitian culture. Thank you to the Inter-American Development Bank for bringing the exhibition to their Cultural Center and for creating such a celebratory schedule of events. We kicked everything off with a luncheon, hosted by MIF General Manager Nancy Lee, which focused on sharing the IDB’s key findings on Haiti’s artisan sector. Learning that Haiti’s artisan community has the potential to generate $20-30 million dollars and to create 10-15 thousand new jobs reaffirmed the limitless possibility of Haiti’s creativity.

Following the luncheon two of my biggest inspirations – former U.S. president Bill Clinton and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno – held a public discussion on how the international community, the private sector and nonprofits could help Haiti overcome its economic challenges; a truly powerful example of what can happen when you bring like-minds together to create change.

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Creating Solutions for Haiti’s Future

Last Updated on Monday, 19 March 2012 05:26 Written by Donna Karan Monday, 12 March 2012 05:53

ConferenceAndNomination Creating Solutions for Haitis Future

The progress of Haiti and the hope for its future is something I am truly passionate about and I know that for progress to take place, like-minds must come together and join forces to create real solutions. I am thrilled to share with you that on a recent trip to Haiti, I witnessed powerful examples of exactly this kind of connecting and collaborating.

In a presentation hosted by President Martelly and Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Lamonthe, governmental representatives from Curacao and Venezuela came together to create real solutions for Haiti’s future – including signing a 369 million dollar agreement between Haiti and Venezuela to support the rebuilding of Haiti.

During the presentation I was surprised and humbled when President Martelly and Mr. Lamonthe announced my nomination as Ambassador-at-Large for Haiti. The ambassadorship is such an honor. I am excited to share that my friend Petra Nemcova – a true champion for Haiti – was nominated as Ambassador as well. For me, what’s most moving about these nominations is the community of commitment it represents. It was just a few months ago in LA that Sean Penn received his Haiti Ambassadorship and I am proud to join this team of people who are committed to doing whatever it takes to see Haiti not only recover, but to achieve unprecedented levels of progress and success. I am enormously inspired by both Sean and Petra and look forward to continuing our work together.

Part of the reason why my passion for Haiti continues to grow and expand is because of the vibrant energy of the country and its people. I was reminded of this so many times on this trip. From watching President Martelly and his son Olivier play an impromptu game of soccer, to sharing Jacmel (my favorite place in Haiti) with a new team of people, to catching up with individuals like Philippe Dodard, Maryse Kedar and Magalie Dresse – there is no limit to the inspirational resources in Haiti. I was also thrilled to connect with a new individual on this trip – Vanessa Jacqemin, a fantastic Haitian woman who has previously worked for LVMH, but returned to Haiti after the earthquake to help develop the artisan sector.

I am always saying that “it’s not about the ‘me,’ it’s about the ‘we’” because of how important it is to do create embolden, passionate communities that can come together to support a shared cause. For me, this trip to Haiti was all about this. There is a powerful community that has come together to create change in Haiti and I am happy and most of all honored to be a part of it.


Photography by Franck Rimpel

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A Heart for Haiti: Letting Love Inspire

Last Updated on Friday, 17 February 2012 05:29 Written by Donna Karan Monday, 13 February 2012 06:41

gold heart1 A Heart for Haiti: Letting Love InspireLove. It’s one of our greatest inspirations. Its sources are endless and its ability to ignite creativity is boundless. I have always been a person who is driven by heart; it’s what has inspired me as a woman, mother, designer and humanitarian – if it speaks to my heart, I can’t not get involved. This is why I have such appreciation for the month of February; it serves as a powerful reminder to pay attention to the heart and to bring love into all that we do.

This February, many of my great loves are coming together and I couldn’t be more excited. My creative expression comes to life during Fashion Week, where I have the unique opportunity to turn my passions into something tangible… I take the loves of my life and transform them into a collection. At this moment in my life, Haiti continues to serve as an inspiration catalyst for the many facets of my life.

Not only has Haiti inspired my designs, it has inspired the work of my foundation. Haiti has been, and will continue to be, the perfect model for philanthropy and commerce. The work of our Haiti Artisan Project continues to flourish and I remain beyond motivated by the extraordinary creativity of the Haitian people.

In so many ways, my heart is for Haiti. And, because of this, it is such a dream come true that we are able to do our part to care for the Haitian people in mind, body and spirit. Our Urban Zen Integrative Therapists are continuing their work at St. Damien’s Hospital in Haiti where they are bringing holistic wellbeing to patients and care-givers. It’s truly amazing to witness and I invite you to learn more HERE.

This month Urban Zen is all about sharing our heart. I invite you to come and be a part of it – feel the love! Join us at the Urban Zen Center for an exhibition and celebration of the inspiration behind my heart for Haiti. Featuring the collaborative works of Russell James and Nomad Two Worlds, Philippe Dodard, David Belle and Cine Institute and Donna Karan International

I am wishing each and every one of you a Valentine’s day filled with love, inspiration and so much heart. I invite you to keep checking out our website and my blog for updates on the many things we have going on and to join us on our journey.

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