Attracting Haitian Talents to the Inter-American Development Bank


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The event fits into the IDB diversity and inclusion strategy. Teams and country presence that mirror the diverse composition of the people of Latin America, the Caribbean and non-borrowing countries make the
IDB more credible, representative and responsive. The race issue is very important at IDB, both
in terms of human resources, because of the rich culture of the region, and also with regard to its
operations. As of Feb 2011 there were 27 Haitian nationals working at the IDB, compared to 28 employees from the Dominican Republic. The two countries both have a population of approximately 10
million. In addition there are Diaspora members with other nationalities.

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Attracting Haitian Talents to the Inter-American Development Bank

  1. 1. Panel discussion at the Inter-American Development Bank February 24, 2011 Attracting Haitian Talents to the IDB
  2. 2. IDB and Haiti - Partnering for development
  3. 3. AttrActIng HAItIAn tAlents to tHe IDBPAnel DIscussIon AT THe InTer-AmerIcAn DeveloPmenT BAnkFeBruAry 24, 2011On February 24, 2011, around 130 Haitian professionals and students gathered at IDB headquartersin Washington, D.C. to discuss career opportunities and the reconstruction and development effortin Haiti.Ericq Pierre, Senior Counselor for Haiti, Office of the Executive Directors for Argentina and Haiti,IDB, extended a warm welcome to participants and said he was happy to see that so many wereinterested in exploring professional opportunities with the IDB. Haiti is a founding member of theIDB and the Bank has worked with Haiti for the past 50 years. Having worked at IDB for many years,Mr. Pierre felt that the Bank was a good and friendly institution. He strongly encouraged Haitians toapply to vacancies.Ericq Pierre, Senior Counselor for Haiti, welcomed around 130 participants to an event aiming to attract Haitian professional talents to the IDB Inter-American Development Bank 1
  4. 4. Tinde Tinde, Diversity Advisor in the IDB Human Resources Department, said a newly created affinity group for afro descendants and indigenous peoples was guiding the Bank’s sourcing of diverse talents and networking with academic and professional organizations in Latin American and the Caribbean Tina Tinde, Diversity Advisor, Human Resources Department, noted that the event fits into the IDB diversity and inclusion strategy. She said teams and country presence that mirror the diverse composition of the people of Latin America, the Caribbean and non-borrowing countries make the IDB more credible, representative and responsive. The race issue is very important at IDB, both in terms of human resources, because of the rich culture of the region, and also in terms of its operations. Currently there are 27 Haitian nationals working at the IDB, compared to 28 employ- ees from the Dominican Republic. The two countries both have a population of approximately 10 million. In addition there are Diaspora members with other nationalities. The only Haitian who joined via the Young Professionals Program is a woman who was hired in 1995 and now works as a Modernization of the State Senior Specialist at the IDB Country Office in the Dominican Republic. By ensuring a more diverse workforce, the IDB understands better the needs of the communities it serves. Some of the priorities that HRD is working on: proactive recruitment focus on afro-de- scendants and indigenous peoples; work systematically to reach 2015 gender targets that were set by the Board of Governors in connection with the 9th General Capital Increase; supplier diversity in local procure- ment (Country Offices have received guidelines to include “IDB is actively following under-represented groups), and inclusion of diversity and up on recommendations inclusion goals in supervisor performance evaluation, start- from the 2009 ‘Leadership ing with 2011. Awareness-raising events held by HRD have addressed race/ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual identity in Diversity – Setting and flexible work arrangements. HIV/AIDS training will start the Tone from the Top’ this year. Diversity and inclusion training of supervisors was launched in December 2010 with a seminar on” Mind Bugs” conference” Tina Tinde by Harvard Professor Dr. Mahzarin Banaji. IDB now has self identification available to employees, the first of its kind in2 ATTrAcTIng HAITIAn TAlenTs To THe IDB
  5. 5. an international organization. Information from the self identification will give baseline data that can help create policy to fill gaps. With regard to the Haiti operation and representation of Haitians in the IDB, HRD is happy to link up closely with Haitian communities to attract the best talent. IDB encourages everyone to apply to positions they find suitable, whether you are a Haitian citizen or a Diaspora member. In addition to about 150 vacancies per year, IDB advertises a competitive recruitment of around 10 Young Professional positions each spring, and there are internships for students currently enrolled in a university program, consultancies and research fellowships. Agustin Aguerre, Manager, Haiti Country Department, IDB, outlined the IDB response to the 2010 Earthquake. He also addressed why the Bank wishes to hire more Haitians. IDB wants people with passion, he said, and Haitians had told him they felt passionate about contributing to the Bank’s Haiti operation. IDB has worked in Haiti for a long time, and since the earthquake its efforts have increased. The Board decided to do three things with Haiti: 1. Cancel Haiti’s debt to IDB; 2. Grant $200 million a year until 2020; and 3. Create a department solely devoted to Haiti. The Bank focuses on the following sectors in Haiti: Road and transportation, energy, water and sani- tation, agriculture, education and development of the private sector. Currently the biggest invest- ment is in the construction and rehabilitation of roads. The Bank is building a road network, which was launched by the former Haiti President, René Préval. Starting in the south-western city of Jérémie the road will go all the way to Cap-Haïtien in the northeastern part of “We’re hard at work the country. Challenges in the energy sector are daunting connecting the road between and include both generating electricity and distributing it. There is a large agricultural program. Water and sani- Jérémie and Cap-Haïtien” tation pose a major challenge as well. IDB implements a Agustin Aguerre water and sanitation program in the capital and in some of Haiti’s rural areas. Agustin Aguerre, Manager of the Haiti Country Department at IDB, encouraged professionals with a passion fordevelopment work to apply to IDB postings Inter-American Development Bank 3
  6. 6. Magda Theodate, Lead Fiduciary Procurement Specialist in the Caribbean, is based in the IDB Country Office in Trinidad & Tobago. She is a U.S. citizen, of Haitian and Dominican origin. Ms. Theodate joined the Bank in 2006, after having worked with the World Bank’s Africa region and the OECD in Paris, France. Magda Theodate, Lead Fiduciary Procurement Specialist in the Caribbean, IDB Country Office in Trinidad & Tobago, joined the conference via telephone to present her view on “Building an IDB Career”. She shared her experience in developing a career with several international organizations over the course of the last decade. Ms. Theodate encouraged participants seeking professional posts with international agencies to hold at least a Master’s degree, five years of relevant experience, specific knowledge of the geo- graphic region in which he/she may be interested, and foreign language skills. Armed with these assets, interested parties should verify organizational job sites, apply, and prepare for a rigorous in- terview process, often accompanied by a written evaluation. Ms. Theodate stressed that it was not necessary to have personal contacts within any international organization in order to be selected for an interview and offered a post. She further advised that those falling short of the above-mentioned requirements consider applying for “IDB employees use their internships, short-term consultancies, research assis- tant roles, and opportunities for young professionals. skills and apply their talents The IDB’s annual Young Professionals Program, which in a variety of situations includes a diversity component for indigenous peoples and African descendants, is one such avenue for poten- in support of the Bank’s tial candidates. More than 3,000 people apply annually, development initiatives and only 10-12 individuals are selected, so it is highly in Latin America and the competitive. The program accommodates people who do not necessarily have much experience in interna- Caribbean” Magda Theodate tional development, but who meet the Bank’s needs in specific technical areas.4 ATTrAcTIng HAITIAn TAlenTs To THe IDB
  7. 7. Lastly, candidates were advised to keep in mind local IDB Country Office opportunities. Those rolesentail working in one of the 26 regional Country Offices, based in the country of candidates’ nation-ality/citizenship. Available international opportunities include joining the Bank’s headquarters inWashington, D.C., or serving as an international employee in a Country Office or at the representa-tion in Paris or Tokyo. Currently just above 30% of Bank staff work in Country Offices, while a de-centralization goal of 40% has been set for 2015.Ms. Theodate ended her contribution by thanking the audience for their attention and advisingthat there are no ‘typical work days’ in a dynamic organization such as the IDB. Instead candidatesshould expect to use their skills and apply their talents in a variety of situations in support of theBank’s development initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean.Magalie Emile, Vice Chair for the Haiti Renewal Alliance, addressed “Linkages between theHaitian Diaspora and Capacity Building in Haiti”. In her view the reason for participating in an eventlike this was to promote partnerships between international stakeholders such as investors, pri-mary contractors, NGOs and the Diaspora to actively engage with each other on Haiti’s reconstruc-tion initiatives. Dr. Emile said the Haitian community is an integral part of the reconstruction effort;engagement at both the local department level and with the Diaspora promotes decentralizationand strengthens our community’s voice. The Haiti Renewal Alliance (HRA) seeks to foster and buildpartnerships to strengthen Haiti’s institutional, technical and intellectual capabilities, in order toadvance human development and promote economic growth. Capacity building in Haiti is key tosustained development, particularly in areas of trade, employment, and business development.Only through human and institutional development can Haiti meet the global millennium goals andlong-term goals of true economic independence. Therefore, current and future projects should bealigned with identified country priorities and capacity deficits. Magalie Emile, Vice Chair for the Haiti Renewal Alliance, made a strong call for partnerships among Haitians, the Diaspora and contributors to development and the reconstruction effort in Haiti Inter-American Development Bank 5
  8. 8. Current reconstruction plans of the Haitian government, US government and the Interim Haiti Re- covery Commission (IHRC) briefly mention the need to engage the Diaspora or delineate its role in the rebuilding efforts. We, the Diaspora, seek to engage and leverage our resources and professional expertise to support current and future projects to ensure sustainable results in Haiti’s redevelop- ment. Existing efforts should focus on better outreach strategies to engage the Diaspora in collabo- rations; the Diaspora should also be proactive in soliciting such partnerships in order to ensure projects have sustainable features and meet basic cultural competencies to facilitate connection with Haitian communities. This is the background and driver for the Haiti Renewal Alliance’s upcoming Haiti Reconstruction Trade & Capacity Building Expo on June 2, 2011. In the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake, the international community, including members of the Haitian Diaspora, is especially eager to work in Haiti or in Haiti-related reconstruction efforts. Haitians living abroad have been the life line of Haiti for several decades now. According to Dr. Emile, an estimated 80% of the country’s profession- als reside outside of Haiti. More than $2 billion in remittances (one-third of Haiti’s gross national product) is sent to Haiti by Haitian immigrants residing in the United States. With a buying power of well over $150 billion, the Haitian Diaspora, known as the third rail, is becoming entrenched in Haiti reconstruction and redevelopment. Engaging Haitians living abroad is a critical aspect in de- veloping Haiti’s human capital and in building capacity for a stronger socio-economic culture and a healthy, sustainable society. Some of the money sent to Haiti goes to create institutions and not just to the family. The goal of the June 2 expo in Washington, D.C. is to create a networking platform for dissemination of Haiti, US and international trade and employment to improve capacity building and promote transparency in the reconstruction process. Objec- “A June 2011 Haiti expo in tives of the expo include to promote trade, investment Washington, D.C. provides and business development in Haiti, provide job seek- ers with employment opportunities, and information job seekers with employment sharing (via workshops) among the international com- opportunities and offers munity on US & global best practices on sector-related thematic workshops” infrastructure projects. USAID, the World Bank, the US Department of Health and Human Services, IHRC, and Magalie Emile the IDB will be among expo presenters. Further info: Paul Altidor, Vice President of Programs and Investments, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, shared his views on “Advancement of Haitian Talents in International Organizations”, outlining useful strate- gies to qualify for and obtain a position in an international organization. The competition for jobs at international institutions such as the IDB and the World Bank is fierce, he stressed. Before you start looking, do your due diligence on these institutions. Reach out to con- tacts within your network, including alumni from your school, classmates and friends. Ask for intro-6 ATTrAcTIng HAITIAn TAlenTs To THe IDB
  9. 9. Paul Altidor, Vice President of Programs and Investments at the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, urged people seeking an international development career to explore which would the best fit for their background, aspirations and style.ductions at these institutions to arrange informational interviews. Make certain that the culture ofthese institutions is a good fit for you. This is not just about a job, but your own career and life. Thatis why it is important to be comfortable with what you do. This is true for people who are startingout as well as for those who are in their mid-careers.There are a lot of stereotypes about Haiti and Haitians; most are not positive. Haitians looking forwork in the international development field are ambassadors. Because of the small number of Hai-tians in this field, achieving success opens doors for Haitians who follow.Once hired, be ready to manage the frustrations that accompany being in a junior position withina large institution. For those of us who work on Haiti, in spite of being Haitian and believing youknow better than most people about the capacities and needs of the community in Haiti, you mustremember that you are part of an established process. International bureaucracies have their set ways of proposing, adopting and implementing policies and projects that may seem cumbersome and overly bu- reaucratic. Learn and master what these processes and“…international institutions policies are. Whether you are seeking just an entry levelare great venues for learning position or looking for a long-term career in interna- tional development, international institutions are greatand making an impact…” venues for learning and making an impact as long as youPaul Altidor understand the advantages and limitations of the world you have chosen to enter. Inter-American Development Bank 7
  10. 10. Jacky Lumarque, Rector of Université Quisqueya in Haiti, outlined challenges in the country’s education sector and connected them to demands and opportunities arising since the devastating earthquake in January 2010 Jacky Lumarque, Rector of Université Quisqueya, Haiti presented “The Right to Dream: A Case Study“. Dr. Lumarque referred to his experience at the Université Quisqueya and pointed to the dif- ficult situation currently faced by the education sector in Haiti. Founded in 1988, the newly refur- bished university campus and museum were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. Lacking classrooms and laboratories, students sought to finish their school year in Miami, USA, the Dominican Republic or in Martinique. Immediately after the earthquake, the university erected tents in its parking lot in order to provide medical care to earthquake survivors. On the first day, approximately 300 patients sought help. Ad-hoc partnerships were created with emergency assistance groups arriving from abroad, including a medical team from the Israeli Army. Their equipment and expertise were put to good use on the university’s parking lot. These events prompted the institution to become Haiti’s largest medical school, providing ample hands-on training for students. Thanks to the emergency effort, the Université Quisqueya caught the interest of US universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania. Most of us spend a majority of our time, up to 12 hours a day, at work. For that reason, if you choose a job that makes you unhappy, that is close to 70 percent of your time being miserable. Most of the achievements of the human being start in our minds, Dr. Lumarque noted. What we do and say sums up our human experience. He advised participants to carefully analyze their strengths and professional aspirations. The educational system in Haiti is very poor. Funding education in Haiti is somewhat new and it is the most neglected sector in the country, not only by the government, but also by the private sector. Most of the investment in education has been in primary education. Yet 82 percent of children have to go to private school to get an education. This puts a heavy burden on low-income households, and many parents cannot afford to send their children to school. Of stu- dents in private school, only seven percent finish college. There is a large amount of “universities”, but only a handful has been officially accredited.8 ATTrAcTIng HAITIAn TAlenTs To THe IDB
  11. 11. One of the lessons from Haiti is the need for the country “The destroyed Université to become self reliant. With so many NGOs working in Haiti, it is important for Haitians to engage themselves Quisqueya campus turned and ask: What can we do for you? Statistically, the trend into an outdoor emergency indicates that Haiti has not been able to do much to help itself. The country has to show that it can ensure return hospital following the 2010 on investment. earthquake” Jacky LumarqueParticipants came from as far away as New York and Philadelphia to attend a Haitian talents event at IDB headquarters inWashington, D.C., and engaged in a lively debate about career strategies and sustainable development in Haiti. Inter-American Development Bank 9
  12. 12. Multilateral Investment Fund Member of the IDB GroupRapporteurs: Tina Tinde, Diversity Advisor and Oscar Ruiz, Diversity Research Fellow, Human Resources Department (HRD), IDB