May 7, 2010

Good Morning:

This week I joined Recovery School District Superintendent Paul Vallas and representatives from other local universities in a meeting with Dr. Jacky Lumarque, rector of Haiti's Quisqueya University and chair of the Presidential Commission for Education in Haiti. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the best means to rebuild Haiti's destroyed school buildings and reform its educational system from pre-kindergarten through college.

I viewed this meeting as a continuation of the long relationship between Haiti and New Orleans. From red beans and rice to Creole cottages, New Orleans has deep cultural and historic ties to Haiti. Now we share the experience of having to rebuild a school system destroyed by disaster. It was with this kindred spirit that those attending the meeting pledged to partner with our neighbors, indeed our brothers and sisters, to ensure that every child of Haiti receives the education he or she deserves.

In the next couple of months, Dr. Lumarque will share with our group a blueprint for the reconstruction and reformation of Haiti's educational system from pre-K through college. We will offer our expertise, advice and assistance in helping to implement this plan so that Haiti and New Orleans can share another experience: a transformed educational system that gives all children, regardless of race or socioeconomic class, the opportunity for a rich and fulfilling life -- with lots of red beans and rice.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638