Bill Clinton: U.N. envoy for Haiti

By Laurie Bennett

January 14, 2010 at 8:57am

Through horrific circumstances, Bill Clinton again finds his mark on the world stage.

Clinton is United Nations special envoy for Haiti, a job he has held since May 2009.

Yesterday, as foreign aid began to reach the country’s devastated capital, Clinton addressed the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

“The most important thing individuals can do, who care, is to send cash – even if it’s a dollar, or two dollars,” he told the delegates.

Bill Clinton at UN
Bill Clinton addresses UN

Clinton has taken a leadership role in several emergency relief efforts since leaving the White House. He previously worked with the United Nations as special envoy for tsunami recovery after the 2004 quake in Southeast Asia.

He also partnered with former President George H.W. Bush to establish the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, which raised money to rebuild the Gulf Coast.

After his U.N. appointment last year, Clinton expressed optimism for the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

“Haiti, not withstanding the total devastation wreaked by the four storms last year, has the best chance to escape the darker aspects of its history in the 35 years that I have been going there,” he said at a news conference in June.

He pledged then to strengthen the country’s disaster-mitigation efforts and promote private sector investment.

Bill Clinton visits the Sans Souci Palace in Haiti.
Bill Clinton visits the Sans Souci Palace in Haiti, October 2009. (UN photo)

Clinton’s ties to Haiti go way back. He and Hillary Clinton visited as newlyweds. Bill Clinton has traveled to Haiti repeatedly in recent years as U.N. envoy and as chair of the Clinton Global Initiative.

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton visited last year. This week, she cut short a nine-day diplomatic trip to Asia and returned to Washington to oversee the U.S. response to the disaster.

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  • #1.   Sharron Haymore 01.14.2010

    Ideas for relief efforts in Haiti:
    1. Use cruise ships to house relief workers; set up hospitals on borad the ships; take over food and supplies
    2. Use helicoptors to drop food and supplies along with relief workers
    3. Dont rely solely on planes getting in on the air strips

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