By Vania Andre

A host of ambassadors, ministers, elected officials and four former and current prime ministers are all convening next weekend at Florida International University for the fourth annual National Association of Haitian Professionals (NAHP) conference. This year’s conference focuses on the “interrelated themes of advocacy, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship.”

The three-day event, set to take place Nov. 12 – Nov. 14, will feature six panels ranging from investment opportunities in Haiti to women empowerment in Haiti’s business sector. Keynote speakers include, current Haiti Prime Minister Evans Paul, former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine. U.S. Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson of Florida’s 24th Congressional District, and Alcee L. Hastings, U.S. Representative for Florida’s 20th Congressional District, will be the conference’s special guests.

“This is a great opportunity for Haiti and its Diaspora to collaborate on efforts for professional advancement approaches and explore social and economic advantages,” Miami Mayor Smith Joseph said. “As a city with a large population of Haitian-Americans, I welcome the involvement of NAHP and encourage all young professionals to assert themselves in this community.”

For the first time in conference history, NAHP will close the conference with an awards gala, where they will honor those making a difference in their industries and the community at large. Two Haitian Leadership Award Scholarships will also be presented to students Raquel Laguerre and Amanda Raymond.

“The National Associations of Haitian Professionals is much needed with in the Haitian Community for those aspiring to reach leadership positions in the United States,” Windia Dieudonne, a research analyst and past conference attendee said. “For some of us, we are the first generation carving are own path in a new culture during challenging economic times.”

NAHP was founded in 2011 by a diverse group of “forward thinking” professionals dedicated to seeing the professional advancement of Haiti and its Diaspora. Previous conferences were held at Harvard University, Columbia University and at Newark Museum.

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