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Episode #63 - March 2024

Haiti is a country that has suffered through a long, hard history. From disasters, both natural and man-made, the people of Haiti continue to strive to create a bright future for themselves. However, today that goal seems further away than ever and many people would be hard pressed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. How did a land that was once the Pearl in the Crown of the French Empire ends up in such chaos? In this episode we explore the rich and challenging history of this country, while looking at the current crisis and explaining the difficult road ahead. However, this is not all doom and gloom, as there are glimmers of hope that we can look to in order to see a brighter future for the people of this island nation.

For more information on the current situation in Haiti, please read Sophie's article on A Way Forward for Haitian Politics Amid Insecurity.

To learn more about the leaked indictment of 51 people, including the former President's wife, please read this BBC Article.

Another great, deep dive was done by Vox on this issue, which you can Read HERE.

Sophie Rutenbar is a visiting fellow in the Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, which she joins as a Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow. She also currently works as a visiting scholar with the Prevention and Peacebuilding Program of the New York University Center for International Cooperation.

Rutenbar was previously the mission planning officer for the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti. Based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she worked in the front office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General conducting strategic planning for the United Nations in Haiti. Before that, she served as political affairs officer with the policy planning team of the United Nations Department of Peace Operations. In that role, she worked extensively on U.N. peacekeeping and peace and security reform processes, including supporting the Action for Peacekeeping Initiative (2018-present), the secretary-general’s Peace and Security Restructuring (2017-18) and the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (2015). Rutenbar also helped lead efforts to enhance U.N. peace operations’ capacity to respond to the evolving technology landscape and strengthen U.N. efforts to engage with non-state armed groups.

Her other experience at the U.N. has included working with the United Nations Department of Field Support, United Nations Mission in South Sudan, and the U.N. Secretary-General’s high-level panel on the global response to future health crises. She joined the United Nations in 2013 as the first U.S.-sponsored associate expert/junior professional officer in the U.N. Secretariat, working with the policy planning team for the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.

Before joining the U.N., Rutenbar worked for organizations in Sudan and South Sudan, including observing the 2011 referendum process on independence for southern Sudan with the Carter Center and working for USAID’s Sudan and South Sudan Transition and Conflict Mitigation Program. She also has experience in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, and Thailand.

She was a 2005 Truman Scholar and previously served as co-president of the board of the Truman Scholars Association. She is also a security fellow with the Truman National Security Project. Rutenbar graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Dallas, where she studied global politics as a Eugene McDermott Scholar. Through the Marshall Scholarship, she received master’s degrees in conflict, security, and development from the War Studies Department at King’s College London and in human rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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