About the Author: Suzanne Hall serves as New Media Advisor in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.
In the lead up to the Department of State co-sponsored Haiti Donors' Conference at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters on March 31, we knew we had to capture hearts and minds on the critical needs facing the Haitian people following the devastating earthquake on January 12. Our goal -- along with the Haitian government and the conference co-sponsors -- was to draw the world's attention back to Haiti. We sought to remind people that while the emergency phase may be behind us, we must all remain steadfast in our commitment to stand by the people and Government of Haiti as they build back better.
In diplomacy, we seek to build personal relationships that engage governments and peoples around the world. Today, people increasingly use connection technologies -- including digital tools like video -- to educate, listen and connect with one another. Citizens are watching and uploading hundreds of millions of videos a day online where they share stories, react to news, and voice their opinions. This reality has effectively provided us with a new digital means to reach diverse, cross-cutting populations around the globe. Using video, we knew we could visually portray the calamitous impact of the earthquake and the pressing need to build back Haiti better. We could also share this call to action beyond the walls of the UN headquarters in New York, reaching a global audience and asking them to be part of the effort to rebuild Haiti.
Led by Dan Taylor, a public affairs specialist in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, we conceived of, produced and edited this video, which ran on reel in the hallway before the UN General Assembly room throughout the day of the Haiti Donors' Conference on March 31. As delegates to the Haiti Donors' Conference approached the hall, they were confronted with images of the reality the Haitian people face following January 12. We captured the calm before the quake, the 35 devastating seconds that brought the population of Port-au-Prince to its knees, the international emergency relief response, and finally the ongoing challenges. After seeing the video, you come away with a sense of the strength and resilience of the Haitian people in spite of the serious hurdles that remain, specifically in the areas of housing, education and restoring commercial activity.
The Haiti Donors' Conference was a one day event at the UN on March 31. But through this video, we are able to scale the message about the need to work together to rebuild Haiti into the future and across geographic boundaries. We encourage you to check out the video, share it and provide your feedback.
Related Entry:Building Back Haiti Better: Donors' Conference Delivers