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The first Haitian Culture House inaugurated in Suriname

  • May 12, 2024
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The Consulate General of Haiti inaugurated Tuesday April 7, 2024 the first House of Haitian Culture in Paramaribo, Suriname. The event, with Haitian artist Jean Jean Roosevelt as guest artist, took place in the presence of the highest authorities of the country, including Chandrikapersad Santhoki, President of Suriname and members of his government, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps .

It is a project carried out from start to finish by the head of post of the Consulate General of Haiti in Surinam Jean Claude Lappé and his team. It only took them about three months to bring out the first Maison de la culture d’Haïti in the history of Haitian diplomacy.
For this official opening on Tuesday, the highest personalities of the country were invited, starting with the President of Surinam Chandrikapersad Santhoki who honored with his presence, accompanied by Vice-President Ronnie Brunswijk, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Albert Ramdin, among others. others. Many members of the diplomatic corps were also noticed at the ceremony.

“Haiti and Suriname have made history, and we are very happy and proud to play an important role in this history. On November 24, 2023, the Haitian Prime Minister [ Ariel Henry, Ndlr] and Your Excellency signed the Joint Declaration by which it was decided to open the First House of Haitian Culture in Paramaribo. At the beginning of January, we started implementing the project in your beautiful and friendly country,” said Lappé, head of the Consulate, addressing the head of state of Suriname.

The implementation of this project is above all, he continued, a strong message to the Haitian diaspora to always remain standing, a message to our friends, brothers and sisters living abroad that Haiti is still standing .
According to the Haitian diplomat, the country is “still standing by the power of our culture, through our arts and our music, thanks to our resilience and the solidarity of the Haitian diaspora, through our dreams and our faith in the future. »

Jean Claude Lappé dedicated the opening of the ceremony to former president Lesly François Manigat who was his teacher, sharing with the audience “a very important message” that the brilliant intellectual had given him in March 2014, three months before his death:
“I regret that I am about to die without having had the opportunity to do something great for my people. LAPPE, please, if one day you manage to occupy an important position in the country, do something for Haiti.
And it’s a message that visitors will be able to read on a plaque just at the entrance to the center.
Manigat is not the only Haitian figure to have had a special place in Lappé’s speech. The latter recalled a conference by the famous painter and writer Frankétienne in which he participated in 2008 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“During the conference, he declared that: we can only develop Haiti with our culture, our music, our art and our history,” remembers the head of the Consulate General of Haiti in Suriname, believing that Frankétienne was right .

For President Santhoki, it is a privilege for Suriname to open the first Haitian House of Culture outside Haiti.
“Culture is a powerful tool for connecting people, transcending boundaries and building bridges of understanding. Through cultural exchange, we can dispel misconceptions and truly appreciate the beauty of diversity,” he said.

The creation of the “Haitian Cultural House” in Suriname represents Suriname’s commitment to preserving, promoting and sharing Haiti’s cultural heritage with the entire community. President Santokhi also emphasized that the Haitian House of Culture will be a space where people from different backgrounds will come together to share their stories, their traditions and their ambitions.
Additionally, this house will also be available for cultural exchange, education and collaboration, where understanding and appreciation are encouraged, in addition to the appreciation of art, music, dance, Haitian literature and customs. This center will not only provide a space for Haitians to express their identity and share their traditions, but will also provide a platform for Surinamese citizens to better understand and appreciate Haiti’s rich cultural heritage, writes Times of Surinam, citing the service of communication from the government of Suriname.

The official ceremony was followed by a cultural evening with Haitian guest artist Jean Jean Roosevelt. The winner of the 2013 Francophonie Games, as usual, amazed the audience, made up in particular of members of the diplomatic corps and various personalities.

The obviously proud Haitians of Surinam also came in large numbers. To the sound of a Haitian “Rara” group, the public danced until very late in the evening during which several people including Jean Jean Roosevelt received plaques of honor from the Consulate team for their contribution to the promotion of Haitian culture.

It is important to note that the opening of the Cultural House took place on the sidelines of the 29th ordinary meeting of the Association of Caribbean States (AEC) held in Paramaribo from May 6 to 9, 2024. Haiti was represented there. by the Ambassador of Haiti to Argentina Vilbert Belizaire. The diplomat took the opportunity to participate in the festivities of this first cultural establishment of Haiti abroad, in the company of the head of post of the Consulate General of Haiti in French Guiana Garry Assad. The latter made the trip “as a sign of support” to his neighboring colleague from Suriname Jean Claude Lappé, who, through this center, offers the possibility “for visitors to admire a variety of works of art, including sculptures, handicrafts, Haitian paintings.”
There are also “representations of the heroes and heroines of Haiti, as well as works by great Haitian artists. »
The center also has a conference room and a “furnished bar/café, offering a delicious selection of authentic Haitian dishes, providing a complete cultural experience. »

By Gazette Haiti News

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Gazette Haiti