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Fall 2010 Resident Fellow

Michèle Pierre-Louis became Prime Minister of Haiti on September 5th 2008, after a series of internal and external shocks that hit the country in the summer of that same year: food and oil crisis, government crisis and a succession of 4 hurricanes which destroyed the country's fragile infrastructure and environment. Only the second woman to hold this position, Prime Minister Pierre-Louis also served as Minister of Justice and Public Security. On September 30, 2009, she was ousted by a group of newly elected Senators close to President Preval.

Since her return to Haiti in 1976 after her studies abroad, Pierre-Louis has devoted special attention to improving literacy and adult education, held training sessions for traditional midwives, opened libraries, and made education one of her core projects. She has also served in the private sector as Director of Credit at the Bank of Nova Scotia, Officer of Administration and Human Resources to the Haitian Development Finance Corporation, and Deputy Director at the Airport Authority.

In 1986 she became a national trainer in the literacy campaign Mission Alpha. In 1991, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide entrusted Pierre-Louis with the task of redefining the mission of the state and coordination between the Presidency and the Ministers, taking into account the demands of rural organizations for agrarian reform. Since 1995 Pierre-Louis has directed the Knowledge and Freedom Foundation (FOKAL: www.fokal.org) which defends the fundamental position and democratic values that real change can only take place if those concerned become the main actors. The Foundation focuses on the areas of education, culture, community development, environment, gender equity, civil society, training of young entrepreneurs. In the last years Pierre-Louis spent as Executive Director of FOKAL, she was engaged in an urban development project in an impoverished neighborhood of Port-au-Prince also financed by the European Union. The project also aims at recuperating the last wooded area in the city and transforming it into a Natural Park. Connections have been made with the US National Park Services to that effect.

Pierre-Louis was also a University teacher prior to becoming Prime Minister. Her courses focused on "Culture and society in the Caribbean" and "The History of the Great Civilizations." She was a member of a review "Chemins Critiques" which published several issues on politics, economics, arts and culture, from 1989 through 2006.