Dr. Jelle Zijlstra was the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, President of the Central Bank of the Netherlands, and President of the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland, with long-standing engagement with the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands. In honour of this renowned economist, we recognize international leaders whose work champions economic national growth, generational-shifting innovation, global collaboration, or charitable commitments which dramatically improve the quality of life for society.

Haiti’s ambassador in Madrid, His Excellency Dr. Louis Marie Montfort Saintil, in conversation with Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain on the occasion of the 24th Reina Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry, one of the most important Spanish-speaking poetry awards.

Education is one of the major institutions which contributes to the stability, evolution, and well-being of a nation. Education creates unity, instills moral values and contributes to social cohesion.

Haiti’s government has put access to quality education at the top of its policy agenda. At school, children learn how to behave and collaborate with others; learn social and practical skills as well as discipline. School is where children can express both their creativity and critical thinking. As the source of advanced learning and new information from research, universities help train the workforce of tomorrow while supporting the innovations of today. Knowledge creation has been identified by economists as a key driver of economic growth.

Haiti will achieve higher rates of economic growth and rising prosperity, because it improves its education and its competitiveness. Success has required a coherent strategy that leverages the country’s strengths. Haiti has numerous weaknesses to overcome, and careful prioritization has been implemented to successfully address them. The Haitian people have been resilient and able to recover from very difficult circumstances. Building the capability and unleashing the initiative of citizens has been the key for success.

Economic development in Haiti is a collaborative process involving government at multiple levels, local and foreign companies, industry associations, educational and research institutions, and local communities and citizens. Competitiveness depends on both top-down and bottom-up processes in which many companies and institutions take responsibility. Translating policy into action is seen as a decisive element in determining success.

International cooperation has proven to be a crucial asset for supporting Haiti’s economic strategy. Haiti’s ambassador in Madrid, Dr. Louis Marie Montfort Saintil, works very successfully with national and international educational institutions to raise quality and create specialized programs that address actual company and cluster needs. This is a key consideration for the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands to issue this year’s Dr. Jelle Zijlstra Awards in the field of Education to His Excellency Dr. Louis Marie Montfort Saintil.