Howard University Alumni Club and Commemoration of the Battle of Vertières Reception
On Friday November 17, 2017, the Embassy of Haiti was pleased to host the Howard University Alumni Club of Greater Washington DC for a reception at the Chancery. The evening also served as a commemoration of the 214th anniversary of the Battle of Vertières, the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution, which led Haiti to become the first and only country to gain its independence through a successful slave revolt and the world’s first black republic.
Prior to the reception, Ambassador Altidor and prominent representatives of the Howard University community gathered to have a conversation on Haiti’s storied past.
The evening’s program officially began with opening remarks by the Embassy’s Director of Culture & Education, Mr. Dave Fils-Aimé, who provided a brief overview of the historical significance of the evening of November 17th, as it laid the stage for a groundbreaking military victory on the following day. Thereafter, Mr. Fils-Aimé introduced the Master of Ceremony, Mr. Brennon Marcano, who serves as CEO of the National GEM Consortium. Mr. Marcano’s witty oratory delighted the crowd throughout the evening as he introduced the various speakers.
Ambassador Paul G. Altidor delivered the soirée’s keynote remarks, in which he reflected upon the paradigm shift triggered by the Haitian rebel army’s victory at Vertières against Napoléon Bonaparte’s French expeditionary forces. In his speech, Ambassador Altidor also explored the fact that Haiti became a beacon of liberty for enslaved Africans, as the country dared to offer monetary compensation to slave ships for the liberation of slaves and their release in Haiti.
The Ambassador concluded his remarks by delving into the connections between Haiti and the Afro-American community, and how institutions such as Howard University could contribute to the strengthening of these connections through the establishment of Study Abroad programs in Haiti.
Thereafter, Dr. Weibert Arthus, the Embassy’s Minister Counselor for Political Affairs, provided a detailed synopsis of the Battle of Vertières in which he highlighted the legendary exploits of General François Capois (Capois-La-Mort). Afterwards, Dr. Greg Carr, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, delivered a passionate and engaging speech about the heroes of Haiti’s independence and how their unparalleled achievement has benefited people of African descent worldwide and particularly in the United States.
The Howard University Alumni Club of Greater Washington, DC also graciously extended invitations to two current Howard student leaders who shared brief remarks about Haiti and the greater Caribbean community: Ms. Whitney Griffith, President of the Caribbean Students Association, and Mr. Virgil Parker, President of the Bison Pre-Alumni Club.
Mr. Wilfrid Amisial, the Event Chair, and Ms. Hazel L. Robinson, President of the Howard University Alumni Club of Greater Washington, DC delivered the closing remarks to thank the attendees, and the collaborators who made the event a success.
Throughout the evening, guests had the opportunity to explore the renovated Chancery and admire the beautiful Haitian paintings on display, while also savoring the Embassy’s signature punch and delicious Haitian food catered by Gisele’s Creole Cuisine.
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