On December 2, 2021, Brigham Young University hosted His Excellency Bocchit Edmond, Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti. A member of our faculty, Dr. Marc-Aurel Martial, and three nursing students were able to attend a luncheon with the ambassador.
Sophia Almeida, a current sixth-semester student, shared her experience at the luncheon saying, “I was very impressed by the Ambassador’s vision for the future of Haiti. Ambassador Edmond also provided a brief history of Haiti’s decline from prosperity. I feel empathy for the Haitian people after learning some of their living conditions, but I see hope for their futures. The Haitian people are smart and capable. But unfortunately, their living conditions have just prevented them from reaching their full potential. I want to help empower the Haitian people with knowledge, skills, and resources as the Ambassador suggests.” Sophia reflected, “I am grateful for the opportunity I had to listen to and learn from the Ambassador. I hope that BYU will continue to foster increased understanding by inviting experts like Ambassador Edmond to speak with students and faculty.”
Another student in attendance was second-semester student Pamela Laurent. While Pamela is from Hudson, Massachusetts, her parents immigrated from Haiti in the 80s. Pamela stated, “I speak Creole because that was my parents’ primary language at home.” Her background and connection with Haitian culture made her experience meeting the ambassador a unique and empowering one. “He was pretty intimidating,” she admitted. However, as she talked with him, Pamela discovered the ambassador was not very difficult to talk to, and they even had a personal connection. “My cousin works at the embassy in Germany and has met the ambassador,” she explained. Pamela shared about the experience, “Even though I didn’t know him, having a figure like that come to Utah and share the same culture was impactful. Representation matters, and it’s important to see. It’s important to see someone who has a similar background to me doing things to help the community.”
We want to thank Ambassador Bocchit Edmond for his visit and encourage students to seek opportunities to broaden their cultural understanding continually.