Originally: To the Washington-area Haitian-American Community

Haiti Democracy Project

Are you satisfied with the current situation in Haiti?

Are you in favor of the proposed changes to the constitution by the Haitian authorities?

Are you satisfied with U.S. policy toward Haiti?

Are you satisfied with your representation in the U.S. government on these questions?

     All these questions were discussed at “Bridges to the Policy-makers,” Part 2, with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on May 27 in Silver Spring, Md.


About Representative Van Hollen:

Chris Van Hollen was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland‘s 8th District in November 2002. Van Hollen serves on the Committee for Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Government Reform. He is also the Vice Chair of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus. Prior to his election to Congress, Van Hollen served in the Maryland General Assembly from 1991 to 2002-fours years in the House of Delegates and eight years in the State Senate where he was Vice Chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee and Chair of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee.

The son of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Van Hollen was born in Karachi, Pakistan and lived also in Turkey, Sri Lanka, and India. After receiving a graduate degree in public policy and national security studies, Van Hollen worked in the 1980s as a professional staff member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as the Legislative Assistant for national security issues to Maryland Senator Charles Mathias. Chris Van Hollen is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University‘s Kennedy School and an undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College.


About HDP’s Bridges to the Policy-makers:

We began on February 22 with a meeting at St. Michael’s Church between the Washington-area Haitian-American community and the chief of the Caribbean desk at the State Department. This official was impressed by the determination of the Haitian-Americans to see progress in their homeland. This official went on to organize a high-level diplomatic mission to Haiti in March which intensified the pressure for democratic progress.

 “Bridges” Part II created a strong bond between Rep. Chris Van Hollen and his Haitian constituents of the Maryland Eighth Congressional District. The congressman vowed to vigorously advocate Haitian concerns and has already taken action on trade and refugees. Responding to a variety of views expressed by Haitian-Americans at the meeting, the congressman called for greater U.S. engagement with Haiti. He decried a policy that would send twenty thousand troops one year and neglect the situation in subsequent years.