PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — As the country with the greatest number of sister city relationships in the Caribbean region, Haiti is set to lead the way in the revitalization of these relationships and development of new ones.
The Caribbean region has 54 sister city relationships and, with the appointment of a Caribbean representative of Sister Cities International in July 2017, initial efforts have been reactivating relationships that have become dormant, focusing strongly on Haiti.
“Haiti has 14 sister city relationships with cities in the United States that provide wonderful opportunities for economic and community development through business, cultural, tourism, educational, and humanitarian exchanges,” said Ginger M. Moxey, the Caribbean representative of Sister Cities International. “Haiti is a diverse nation of beautiful people, communities, and experiences. There are tremendous opportunities to create reciprocal, meaningful, results-oriented impacts that will allow Haiti to thrive locally and connect globally.”
On the heels of a very productive week of sister city meetings and immersive experiences, Moxey is thrilled by the response of the Haitian community on the reinvigoration of their sister city relationships.
During the meetings, attendees established that Haiti’s priorities in strengthening its sister city connections will be three-fold: first, Haiti will reignite the 14 existing relationships; second, it will establish new relationships with the 12 cities represented by its female mayors; and third, it will focus on sister city relationships with other cities throughout Haiti.
“I am thrilled to hear of strategic efforts to revitalize and grow the sister city network in Haiti and the region at-large,” said Roger-Mark De Souza, president and CEO of Sister Cities International. “As a Caribbean native, I understand that such a vibrant region offers wonderful opportunities for a myriad of initiatives, particularly those related to sustainability and resilience in the face of disasters. These initiatives will change lives and communities for the better.”
The central and local government authorities in Haiti recognize the importance of sister cities and are committed to exploring these opportunities. In order to create a framework to ensure the sustainability of Haiti’s sister city initiatives, Alix Desulme, Haitian native and Councilman for North Miami, was appointed to assist in the development of a robust sister city program for the country with a focus on fostering understanding and goodwill.
“We have a lot of pride in our sister city partnership with Arcahaie, Haiti. We take it very seriously,” said Desulme. In 2017, we deployed a team of City of North Miami personnel to Arcahaie to assess and support revitalization efforts focused on its aging city square – the hub of their community. We committed thousands of dollars to transform the area in order to improve the quality of lives for residents. People of Haitian descent account for nearly half of North Miami, Florida’s households. Arcahaie and all of our Sister City partnerships keep us tied to our homeland’s people, customs, and culture through service and collaboration.”
It is anticipated that the Caribbean will be well-represented at the upcoming 2018 Annual Sister Cities Conference and Youth Leadership Summit to be held in Aurora, Colorado in August. The conference and summit will focus on economic development, youth leadership and immigrant entrepreneurship.
There are 54 Caribbean sister city relationships including Aruba (1); Bahamas (8); Barbados (1); Cayman Islands (1); Cuba (12); Dominican Republic (5); Guyana (1); Haiti (14); Jamaica (4); Puerto Rico (2); Saint Kitts and Nevis Islands (1); Sint Maarten (1); Trinidad and Tobago (2); and the Turks and Caicos Islands (1)