Michèle Pierre-Louis

Michèle Pierre-Louis

In June 2008, Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis was nominated Prime Minister of Haiti, only the second woman to hold this position. While Prime Minister, Pierre-Louis also served as Minister of Justice and Public Safety. Upon leaving office in November 2009, Pierre-Louis resumed her activities at the Fondation Connaissance et Liberté – FOKAL, as President. She is now working on special projects related to Haiti’s post earthquake reconstruction efforts.

Since her return to Haiti in 1976 after her studying abroad and obtaining her degree in
Economics (cum laude) from Queens College of the City University of New York, she has devoted special attention to improving literacy and adult education, held training sessions for traditional midwives, opened libraries, and made education one of her core projects. She has also served in the private sector as Director of Credit at the Bank of Nova Scotia, Officer of Administration and Human Resources to the Haitian Development Finance Corporation, and Deputy Director of the National Airport Authority.

In 1986 she became a national trainer in the literacy campaign Mission Alpha. In 1991, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide entrusted Michèle Pierre-Louis, as a member of his private cabinet, with the task of redefining the mission of the state and coordination between the Presidency and the Ministries, taking into account the demands of civil society in general and specifically of rural organizations on land management. Since 1995 she has created and directed the Fondation Connaissance et Liberté – FOKAL (Knowledge and Freedom Foundation), a member of the Open Society Institute – Soros foundations’ network, which defends the fundamental position that real change can only take place if those concerned become the main actors. The Foundation focuses on the areas of education, culture, community development, environment, gender equity, civil society, and training of young entrepreneurs.

From 1989 through 2006, Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis was a member of a Review “Chemins Critiques” in which she wrote several articles along with other Haitian and Caribbean writers, on politics, economics, arts and culture. Prior to becoming Prime Minister she was a University teacher and her courses focused on “Caribbean Societies and Culture” and the “History of the Great Civilizations”.

Pierre-Louis has received several awards and distinctions in her career. She holds a “Doctorate Honoris Causa” in Humanities from Saint Michael College in Vermont.

From September through December 2010, she is a Resident Fellow at Harvard University/ Kennedy School of Government.

Photo Credit: Michel DeGraff