Haiti Ambassador to Help Students’ Initiatives Succeed
June 15, 2011 – Two Georgetown students met with the Haitian ambassador to the United States June 14 to discuss their initiatives and activities to help the Caribbean nation.
Luke Schoenfelder and Mark Svensson, both rising seniors in the College, talked to Ambassador Louis Harold Joseph at the Haitian Embassy in Washington, D.C., about their plans to promote sustainable economic growth in Haiti.
The students, who reached out to the embassy to set up the nearly hour-long meeting, wanted to find out how they could better maximize their efforts to produce sustainable change in the country.
Schoenfelder is returning to the earthquake-ravaged Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince this summer to help develop affordable, eco-friendly construction technology.
His classmate worked with the Water Justice Alliance (WJA) to help provide affordable water filtration systems to communities in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
“The ambassador addressed the lack of communication among organizations as a real problem as resources are wasted and efforts duplicated,” Schoenfelder says. “I … think the central issue is shifting the focus from top-down international programs to bottom-up domestic programs that are more in touch with resources available and the means to solve problems in real time.”
Both students have tried to help Haiti with through their respective organizations, but are now collaborating on their initiatives.
Svensson attended the Clinton Global Initiative University in April to spread the word on global water issues.
Both students believe their work is a testament to Georgetown’s commitment to help others.
“Luke and my efforts represent a hallmark of Georgetown University’s tradition for service to others,” Svensson says. “I am proud that together we are able to make a measureable impact on the lives of others.”
Impressed with Students
Joseph says he was impressed with the Georgetown students’ interest in helping Haiti and offered to help facilitate official program recognition through the Haitian Ministry of Planning, the governmental office charged with overseeing development programs.
“Very frankly, I welcome your visit here,” Joseph told the students during their discussion. “I am very pleased that young men like you have an interest in Haiti, and have taken the time to stop into the embassy to talk about that.”