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U.S. Fulbright

Reflections on a Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship

July 27, 2016

Katelyn Leader, 2013-2014, J. William Fulbright – Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellow to Haiti (second from left), with her colleagues from the Haitian government’s Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation

I believe that mutual understanding is the foundation of tolerance and peace; it can only develop, however, when people are willing to listen to and learn from one another. This is such a simple notion, and yet time and time again, we see the consequences of it being forgotten by leaders and individuals.

In September 2013, I arrived in Haiti as a J. William Fulbright – Hillary Rodham Clinton Public Policy Fellow. I was placed in the government’s Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation, where I was assigned to the Division of Territorial Planning and Local and Regional Development. Over the course of my fellowship, my primary responsibility was to design and implement a study examining urban expansion in an area north of Port-au-Prince known as Canaan. Unpopulated at the time of the 2010 earthquake, Canaan now hosts more than 100,000 people. Many live in substandard, makeshift shelters without access to basic services. My colleagues and I conducted over 100 interviews with individuals living in this area, and the perspectives and information that they shared offered valuable insight into the country’s housing and urban planning challenges.

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U.S. Fulbright

Cancer: A Growing Public Health Problem in Haiti

February 4, 2016
Martine - 1

Martine Prompt, 2015-2016, Fulbright-Clinton Fellow to Haiti (center), discusses the socioeconomic impact of cancer with patients Madame Louis (left) and Melissa (right)

In honor of World Cancer Day, 2015 J. William Fulbright–Hillary Rodham Clinton Public Policy Fellow to Haiti Martine Prompt shares her cancer awareness work with Project Medishare as part of her overall grant objective to improve the health literacy skills of vulnerable populations as a means towards improving their overall health, and promote health equity.

“Mwen pè maladi sa, mwen pè mouri pou pitit mwen yo, men mwen gen espwa poum geri paske mwen gen konfyans nan Letènèl, sa banm plis espwa.”

“I am afraid of this disease. I fear death because of my children, but I have hoped that I’ll heal because I have faith in the Lord – that gives me more hope.”

Madame Louis and four other women sat on the chemo chair in the cancer center at Bernard Mevs Hospital as their nurse prepares them to receive their infusion. Madame Louis is a middle aged woman with a malignant tumor that was undiagnosed and untreated for a long time. In the place where her right breast should be, there is a cauliflower-shaped tumor growing through her skin. She pointed at it for me to look but she looked away, sad, angry, and shamefaced. Such enormous tumors are rare in developed countries, yet typical in Haiti. The women at the cancer center are trapped by poverty, misinformation, and stigma, which often lead to them not seeking help for breast cancer. Many are diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer when the prognosis for survival is poor. Madame Louis confirms, she has never performed a self-breast exam, nor had a mammogram. She was diagnosed, when she showed a doctor that she had blood coming out of her nipples. “Yo dim se cancer ke mwen genyen, kounye a map tann gerizon. Yo dim map geri.” (They told me I have cancer, now I’m waiting for a cure because they told me I will be cured.)

Studies confirm that breast cancer is a leading cause of death and disability among women, especially young women in low-and middle-income countries. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), low-and middle-income countries like Haiti, accounted for 57% of the 14 million people diagnosed with cancer worldwide in 2012—but 65% of the deaths. Today, cancer kills more people in poor countries than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The high fatality rates are likely due to a lack of awareness of the benefits of early detection and treatment and a scarcity of adequate facilities for detection, diagnosis, as well as treatment.

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U.S. Fulbright

Want to learn more about some of this year’s Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship recipients? Read about Andrew Tarter.

December 5, 2012

Andrew Tarter’s professional placement is in the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation, within the government of Haiti. Born and raised in Haiti, Mr. Tarter has always maintained a keen interest in all things Haitian. His master’s research, which was fully funded through two U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships in Haitian Creole (2008-2010), culminated in an anthropological outcome-evaluation of Haiti’s largest tree-planting project. Mr. Tarter is currently finishing a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida, where he has taught undergraduate courses for the Department of Anthropology as well as the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. His Ph.D. coursework has been fully funded through the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship (2010-2015). Tarter’s dissertation research, which focuses on Haitian farmers who have independently elected to grow trees as a cash-crop, has been jointly-funded by both the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. For his Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship, Mr. Tarter is currently working with the governmental unit that coordinates the activities of NGOs operating in Haiti, helping to implement policies for NGO registration, and monitoring and evaluation. These measures will help ensure that the activities of NGOs meet the existing laws, policies, priorities and best-practices of the democratically-elected Haitian Government as it takes steps to strengthen its autonomy.

Interested in pursuing a Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship or want to learn more? Click here and  here. Also, be sure to sign up for one of the upcoming Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship webinars.

Applications will be accepted from November 1, 2012 – February 1, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

U.S. Fulbright

Announcing a New Fulbright Opportunity for Public Policy Students and Young Professionals

November 8, 2011

On behalf of the U.S. Department of State, we are pleased to announce the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship – a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and a new opportunity for public policy students and young professionals.

The Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship will allow U.S. citizens to contribute to the strengthening of the public sector abroad by serving in professional placements within foreign government ministries or institutions while simultaneously carrying out an academic research/study project.  The fellowship will help advance public policy research agendas, fosters mutual understanding and builds lasting ties between the U.S. and partner countries. 

Selected Fulbright Students will work side-by-side with the citizens of other countries to tackle the toughest public policy problems of the day.  This new exchange is the vanguard of international public diplomacy, as it leverages the excellence of the Fulbright program to achieve global development objectives.

Fulbright Public Policy Fellows will serve in partner country governments, which include:

  • Bangladesh
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Mongolia
  • Nepal
  • Nigeria
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia

The U.S. Department of State and partner country governments will coordinate professional placements for candidates in public policy areas including, but not limited to, public health, education, agriculture, justice, energy, environment, public finance, economic development, housing and communications.

Candidates must be in receipt of a master’s or J.D. degree by the beginning of the Fellowship (Summer 2012) or be currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program.  Applicants must apply At-Large and have at least two years of work experience in public policy-related fields.  Final selection will be made by the Presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

More information, including complete eligibility requirements, please contact Theresa Granza, or Walter Jackson,  For more information on how to apply, please visit

Applications for the 2012-13 competition will be accepted from November 4, 2011 through February 1, 2012; Fulbright Public Policy Fellows will begin their assignments in summer/fall 2012.

U.S. Fulbright

Reflections on the Earthquake from a Fulbright Alumna to Haiti , By Leara Rhodes, Ph.D., 1990-1991, Haiti

February 15, 2010

During my first visit in 1988, Haiti was brimming with expectation. Though Michèle and Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier stripped the country of its museum quality art, depleted all of its financial resources and left the people to fend for themselves with no government programs or working institutions, there was a feeling of hope. Inspired by that feeling of hope, I completed my doctoral work at Temple University focusing on the three dominant Haitian newspapers in the United States, applied for a Fulbright and was off to Haiti in 1990.

Haiti was wonderful. I walked freely about, toured the countryside, interviewed journalists and discussed the free press on radio shows. I met up with two friends at the Hotel Oloffson and took a weekend jaunt down to Jacmel on the southern coast. We climbed up to Bassin-Bleu to swim in the waterfall. We hiked down to find two flat tires. The guide and I volunteered to roll the tires into town while my two friends kept watch over the car. We found a limb to hold the tires up on our shoulders and to help us when we had to forge a river. Finally, we tucked in for the night at the famous La Jacmelienne Hotel. On Sunday during our return to Port-au-Prince, we stopped for soursop. I asked Hotel Oloffson’s bartender to make it into juice for us. It was late, so rather than return to Hospice St. Joseph, where I was renting a room, I stayed in the Hotel Oloffson’s maternity wing when it was still a military hospital. That night, Haiti changed.

In the middle of the night, there was shouting and I smelled smoke. Stepping out onto the breezeway from my room, I could see smoke. I stumbled into the hotel lobby where the guard flew by me shouting, “Coo, coo!” In a few quick minutes, I learned that there had been a coup d’état. Jean-Bertrande Aristide had been elected that fall but one of the prospective hopefuls, Dr. Roger Lafontant, who once led the Tonton Macoutes under Duvalier, wanted the presidency.

Five days later, after mobs had stormed the hotel and camped out on the lawn, the U.S. Embassy sent an armored car at the request of Representative Floyd Spence of South Carolina. I was taken to the Embassy, processed and then escorted to the airport. When the airplane took off, I saw Port-au-Prince burning and cried. Dirty, covered in soot, hungry and exhausted, I made my way back home.

That was 20 years ago. I continue to return to Haiti every year. Some friends have suggested that I should not return to Haiti. I have not listened. Some of my work has extended outside of Port-au-Prince in the Fondwa and Deslandes rural areas. I continue to go to interview journalists, to conduct journalism training workshops, write, and have a glass of soursop juice. My work and Haitian friends have made Haiti a part of me.

I am not alone. Many others feel a part of Haiti. I believe that with the Haitians’ ability to persevere and outside community support, Haiti will rebuild itself emotionally, financially and spiritually. Earthquakes may shake buildings, kill many, damage much, but Haiti’s spirit will live on and on.

Photo: Dr. Leara Rhodes, 1990-1991, Haiti.