Francisco Noguera

Special Haiti Conference Added to Miami Social Enterprise Agenda

A conference focused specifically on Haiti’s reconstruction has been just announced by the organizers of the Miami Social Venture Capital/Social Enterprise Conference. The Haiti Conference will immediate follow the larger one and introduce a series of discussions around issues critical to set the country in a viable path of recovery. I was impressed by the range of topics that will be addressed at 25 panels and workshops, as well as the list of invitees and speakers. Hopefully we’ll see partnerships and concrete initiatives coming out of such a diverse group.

There’s one name I didn’t see in the list of invitees, whose perspective I think would be valuable and relevant to this urgent task: Michael Fairbanks, founder of the OTF Group and the SEVEN Fund. Few like Mr. Fairbanks understand the role of markets and enterprise in the reconstruction of a failed state, thanks to the role he has played advising the administration of Paul Kagame in post-genocide Rwanda. The parallel between Haiti and Rwanda has been suggested extensively throughout the blogosphere these days, and rightfully so. The Haiti Conference is an ideal venue to have that discussion. Experiences like that of Mr. Fairbanks would make it a richer one.

For a refresher on the Rwanda experience and the role of enterprise in it, I suggest you take a look at In the River They Swim, a book edited by Mr. Fairbanks that we commented in these pages as soon as it hit the shelves last year. The ideas presented in its pages would increase the odds that Haiti experiences its own miraculous rebirth.