On the evening of Saturday, March 2, 2019, members from the Washington community and throughout the nation gathered at the Embassy of Haiti in Washington, DC to bid farewell to Ambassador Paul Altidor and honor the end of his seven-year duty. Ambassador Altidor, who occupied the seat of Ambassador Plenipotentiary & Extraordinary of Haiti to the White House after leaving the U.S. private sector focused his mission on dismantling the negative narrative often associated with Haiti, that has historically crippled its development growth. He accomplished this primarily by establishing the Embassy as the most welcoming and visited on Embassy row through a three-year renovation project, redefining Haiti’s public diplomacy in the nation’s capital, and streamlining the services offered to Haitian citizens.
His tenure closed with those who have supported the movement to shift Haiti’s narrative towards a more positive light on Saturday evening when members from various communities traveled from near and far to express their gratitude and best wishes to the departing Ambassador. The evening was designed to present the culture in a rich, elegant and tasteful manner, recreating the experience often presented during various Embassy initiatives. Each guest were welcomed with a signature caribbean infused cocktail specially crafted for the occasion, followed by passed hors d’oeuvres featuring some of Haiti’s traditional dishes and presented with a twist. “Culinary diplomacy was such a large part of his tenure…food was the way he engaged people in the Haiti conversation” says an Embassy personnel.
As guests toured the Embassy, they encountered a number of hidden figures portrayed on the Embassy walls featuring the contributions of Haiti in the advancement of American society. On their way to greet the Ambassador, the guests entered an oasis of Haitian art and curated exhibit of over 200 pieces. Amongst them was one of Haiti’s most cherished prize, an early 18th century painting of the “Children of Henri Christophe”.
During the evening, a selected number of community leaders shared a private moment with the Ambassador to honor his efforts and vast contributions. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Karen Andre, attorney and former White House Liaison gracefully welcomed a number of key individuals such as Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste, Attorney General Karl Racine, Commissioner Jean Monestime and many others to the stage to extend words of acknowledgement.
The Ambassador closed the evening by addressing his supporters: “As my tenure comes to an end, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Embassy staff, the numerous volunteers and the community at large for embarking on the mission to change the Haiti narrative during these last seven years. We have put tremendous efforts into achieving this goal but it was your support that carried it through. Thank you. The next person will come and I expect you to give them the same support you gave to me. May we continue the movement…” – Ambassador Paul Altidor
You can view additional photos here.
Karen Andre, Emcee
Nellie Goen, Logistics and Floral Arrangement
Magalie Pradel, Catering
Port-au-Prince Authentic Haitian Cuisine, Signature Cocktail
Samira Rashid, Photography
Galerie Monnin, Art exhibit
Racine Family, Racine Art Collection
Melissa Hertelou, Cake featuring Embassy crest
All staff and volunteers