Former Haitian PM Claudette Werleigh speaking at CAFOD


Former Haitian PM Claudette Werleigh speaking at CAFOD

On 12 November former Haitian Prime Minister Claudette Werleigh will deliver CAFOD’s 2010 Pope Paul VI. Lecture. In it she will explore the deeper issues behind the headlines of the recent earthquake.

She is drawing on a wealth of experience. She says, “I have been blessed to have worked both in rich countries and one of the most impoverished ones, at grassroots level and at top level. I have learned that we all need to acknowledge our differences, to accept the other as equal and to cooperate in order to improve life.”

The lecture takes place on Friday 12 November 2010, 7.15pm (doors 6.45) at the Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW.

Claudette Werleigh, Secretary General of Pax Christi International, will be the guest speaker at this year’s CAFOD Pope Paul VI Memorial Lecture on Friday 12 November at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster. Jon Snow from Channel 4 News will chair the evening.

The lecture, a permanent yearly fixture in CAFOD’s calendar for all its supporters and staff, is inspired by the late Pope Paul VI’s landmark encyclical letter, Populorum Progressio, published in 1967, in which the Pope urged people to work for a better world through an active spirit and the practice of global solidarity.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, eminent Latin American theologian Gustavo Gutierrez and the Rt Hon Shirley Williams have all previously given the lecture.

This year’s speaker has had an equally prominent and high profile career and her work has taken her across the globe.

As well as now occupying the role of Secretary General of Pax Christi International, Claudette Werleigh was also the first female Prime Minister of Haiti and before that, Secretary General of Caritas Haiti, one of CAFOD’s partners.

Claudette Antoine Werleigh was born in the city of Cap-Haitian, Haiti, in 1946. She trained and studied medicine in the United States and Switzerland before returning to Haiti to study for her degree in law and economics at the state university in Port-au-Prince.
Having obtained her qualifications, which included a post-graduate specialisation in ‘adult, non-formal, education’, Claudette moved on to work for a number of non-governmental organisations in the fields of adult literacy and humanitarian relief. At only 30 years of age, Claudette was made Secretary General of Caritas Haiti in 1976, an organisation formed only a year before by the Bishops Conference of Haiti.

First female Prime Minister of Haiti

After working for Caritas Haiti for over a decade, Claudette moved into politics. Claudette was appointed Minister for Social Affairs and Foreign Affairs in her home country, serving the department between 1990 and 1995 before she was elected the first female Prime Minister of the Republic of Haiti in 1995, remaining in office for two years.

Claudette Werleigh can boast extensive international experience in the fields of peace, justice and reconciliation using non-violent means. Not only has she represented and worked for Pax Christi International in a number of roles since the 1990s, Claudette was made the Director of the Life and Peace Institute in Uppsala, Sweden in 1999.

As Director of the Life and Peace Institute, she led field activities aimed at facilitating and strengthening local peace building initiatives in war-torn societies such as in the Horn of Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A great linguist

Claudette’s work has taken her all over Latin America, to Asia and Africa, and to many areas struggling with conflict in Western Europe.

Claudette is bilingual in French and Haitian Creole, fluent in English and Spanish, and has a good understanding of Portuguese.

CAFOD welcomes Claudette to the Pope Paul VI Memorial lecture as General Secretary of Pax Christi, a role she has occupied for the last three years.

Her lecture, titled ‘Life to the full? Development in solidarity’, will discuss the idea of human flourishing and consider what implications human flourishing might have on development, on efforts of peace and reconciliation, and for the people of Haiti as they strive to rebuild their lives after the devastating earthquake.

Chris Bain, the Director of CAFOD, said: “I am delighted that Claudette has agreed to give 2010’s Pope Paul VI Memorial lecture. Her varied and wide-ranging international career in Catholic action and Haitian politics will provide us with a fascinating and insightful lecture.”

“It will also give a chance for one of Haiti’s most well-known modern figures to tell us, first hand, how development and aid is helping her country of origin to recover after the terrible earthquake that hit Haiti in January of this year. I hope that many CAFOD supporters will join us for what should be a memorable evening.”

Tickets for the Pope Paul VI Memorial lecture are priced at £6 (£4 for students) or £12 for the lecture and the post-lecture reception. To purchase tickets, please call CAFOD on 020 7095 5684 or email [email protected].

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