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September 21st, 2011
05:07 PM ET

What connects Haiti, Rwanda and Donna Karan? Art, self-reliance and rebuilding a nation

What connects Haiti President Michel Martelly, Rwanda President Paul Kagame, Dr. Paul Farmer and fashion designer Donna Karan? Find out tonight when all are guests on "Piers Morgan Tonight" at 9pmET/PT. "I think people were quite shocked when I went down originally," said Karan of her work in Haiti and with her company Urban Zen. "What I was able to do was work with the artisans."

Martelly discussed the development of his country. "The Rwanda model is a model we're following very closely," he said. Watch the full interview tonight – 9pmET/PT. And find out more below...

"Piers Morgan Tonight" intern Morkeh Blay-Tofey writes about the backstory:

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rippled through Port au Prince, Haiti leaving in its wake total destruction of national monuments, thousands of deaths, and a small Caribbean nation that has had its share of prior struggles in complete disarray. Governments and NGO’s alike have pledged millions of dollars of immediate aid to Haiti after the devastating earthquake. However, long-term solutions are essential to Haitian musician turned president Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly; solutions that drive the nation towards sustained progress, which was successful for another nation in a similar vein of carnage. Mid-July of 1994 saw the end of arguably the worst 100 days on earth for Rwanda – 800,000 people slaughtered, growing civil unrest, and uncertainty towards what may become of this central African nation. Fast-forward to today and Rwanda has achieved success on its own terms through the effective yet controversial policies of President Paul Kagame. His promotion for a national identity of self-reliance through private enterprise and free markets has brought Rwanda numerous compliments.

Fortunately, Haiti is not alone in its development. Nobody knows the squalid condition of Haiti pre and post earthquake better than physician and U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti, Dr. Paul Farmer. He founded the organization Partners in Health (PIH) in the country on the basis of doing whatever it takes to make people in need well through medical care and social services. PIH is currently one of the largest providers of health in Haiti and now has clinics in Peru and Rwanda. Through his outgoing personality and fervent use of the pen, Dr. Farmer is pushing for a Haiti-Rwanda Commission and he has a new book out “Haiti After the Earthquake." In the fashion world, Donna Karan is a very influential figure through her clothing company Donna Karan International. But also through her Hope, Help and Rebuild Haiti (HHRH) organization, she is a player in the ongoing development of the struggling nation. What can Haiti learn from Rwanda? How will Haiti build its own self-reliance? What can the international community do help Haiti beyond financial aid?

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soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. hello

    i will see you tonight when i was 16 i was model in ISL just modelo not size just so i am intristing and even i don't use DK. Italian stilyng. thank you are good friend i meaned.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jonathan J Tibbs

    You can't live from the scars made by the past ...

    September 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. David Vaughn

    I was dismayed by the amount of time spent on Haiti. This subject is deep, worthy of further discussion, and I should hope that you would schedule a more in depth session on this subject in the near future. These people need our help and your coverage merely glossed over the issues and did nothing to rally support. Please try again.
    David Vaughn

    September 21, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Faith Dunne

      I agree that the time spent in discussing Haiti's issues was hardly worth it. In depth needed; not too much more time with more content would have been much more useful. What a waste of time for such leaders.

      September 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Sachin

        Actually any and all of the individual oioanrzatigns would be blessed to receive the 100$ that is to come their way every time a new post appeared on facebook for me to see, I was amazed at the effort of good people for making a difference for someone else. I am partial to Songs of Love since I get to see the smiles on the faces of children and families when they receive their special song just about them. )

        May 20, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. William Snyder III

    Interesting. I like to see creative solutions...and artists involved. Go Donna!

    September 21, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Godson Fortil

    Very good job !!

    September 21, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Manze

    oh wow I will sent you some Haitian Coffee! only 2 minutes to the president of a Nation that is struggling for help... Very disturbing but then again what did I expect!!! you are just the same as all the others, you are always giving a bad image of Haiti! Long live Anderson Cooper he is the ONLY one who tries to give a better image and bring attention to that country !!!!!!!!

    September 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. gigi

    I was too short, Piers should have let them elaborate more their ideas....Good job Donna Karen

    September 21, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Simone

    is this all Piers?? I am sure sure sure that Farmer and Martelly had a lot more to tell you and the world !
    Please show us the WHOLE interview on another date (understand the breaking news interruption of Troy Davis)
    Vive Haiti Cherie

    September 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Haitian101

    I truly respect Piers Morgan and I think he is one of the best interviewers currently. However, I don't think Mr. Morgan showed enough respect to President Martelly in tonight's show. President Martelly wasn't given the chance to talk. This was a slap in the face and CNN should be ashamed.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Sagakiga

    Piers, President Paul Kagame is a great solution not only to Rwanda but also Haiti. Rwanda where it is because of the leadership!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jonathan Glynn

    As Founder of Wings Over Haiti sice the earthquake we are commited to social, economic and educational change from the ground up. It is clear that all factor including dignity have to be addressed simultaneously and on a grassroots basic to effect change in Haiti. For Haitians to help themselves, we first buy land and drill for clean water, establish community gardens before we build ours schools and train for employment.

    September 22, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Joel Esperance

    I congratulate President Michel Martelly for his efforts to develop his country. I thank Dr. Paul Farmer and Ms. Donna Karan for their supports to the country, especially, Dr. Farmer, whom I have a lot respect for. I would like to discuss with Mr. Piers Morgan and/ or his producer about a simple plan that can help building Haiti. By now, it is obvious that money alone and Just a President cannot do anything for the country. Yes, it can produce more Haitian and other millionaires and more corruptions. My plan will help Haiti to sustain and progress and produce on its own. I am the author of the book, "I Sat Where You Sit" Born in Haiti in 1953 and lived in US 30 years and in Saudi Arabia 2 years.
    My plan will deal with: Social Education (Respect, Integrity, Honesty, and Character) Food and Security, then Increase Security and Decrease Corruptions, and create WORK for all. It may sound easy, but the technique is VERY complex. Otherwise, THEY would have done it. I do not have to be on TV, please give me the chance to speak with someone, if anyone really cares about Haiti.

    Thank you
    Joel Esperance, AAs, BS, MBA

    September 22, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Anonymous

    The article should be updated to note that the earthquake occurred on January 12, 2010.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Erzulie La Flambeau

    The Fashion of Rebuilding

    September 22, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Edmund Kagire

    President Paul Kagame all the way.He has what it takes to advise Haiti....Rwanda went to hell and back,he oversaw the resurrection and still going.Bravo PK

    September 22, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Aimé

    Certainly there are good lessons that Haiti can learn from Rwanda but I think there is a big difference between Haiti and Rwanda that is being overlooked. Rwanda has built his way up on the back of resources from the DRC. Millions of people have died and numerous reports are available, and President Kagame will soon or later have to answer theses charges. He has so far succeeded his propaganda with the support of some western governments including the British but this is only for a time because the truth is stubborn.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mobutu

      It is obvious that you are from the region of the great lake. I don't care whether you are rwandan or not, you are trying to say that the Rwandan gov't is running because of DRC resource if so you are just an Idiot. If there was good policies in place and being put in place rwanda wont be where it is right now. Secondly I think you know less about Haiti, before the earthquake haiti"s past leaders have long history of corruption whereas in Rwandan there is no corruption. Haitian will overcome all the challenges they are currently facing as long as their leaders stay focused on the goals of building the country not building their foreign bank accounts( stealing the country).

      September 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Romeo

        Thanks Mobutu,
        I totally support you analysis and response to Aimé. Being focused on a vision of rebuilding a nation, developing sound social policies( pro-poor policies) and having an ancre on good governance, this is the only way to go for a country like Haiti and it is the route President Kagame have privileged.
        If only resources could build a nation,I don't think DRC will be in trouble today. If Rwanda is rebuilding itself with DRC resources, why is that DRC cannot rebuilt and stabilize with its resources? Does it mean that Congolese don't know that they have resources?

        September 27, 2011 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
    • ambon

      It looks like the death toll could be so much higher too I relaly hope not. If haiti was not so poor in relation to us rich nations she may not have been as badly affected. More money, & good governance means safer buildings. Same happened in china last year for a smaller earthquake. The western world needs to take responsibility and help in everyway possible for real prevention work as much as aid. If every person gives just $20 dollars that could add saving many more thousands of lives.

      May 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  17. irene

    I think Morgan Freeman should stick to acting. At least he knows about that. Tea Party members are not racists and the reason we want Obama out of the White House is that he is a socialist, undoubtedly as is Freeman. They are ruining this beautiful country. Freeman might remember what this country has done for him with a lot of tea partiers' dollars.

    September 26, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Phillip Johnson

    I would like to speak to Ms Karan about my film Seven Days in Haiti – a film on the best and brightest of Haiti which features exclusive content and interviews with Haitian President Michel Martelly

    September 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Marc

    I red some very delusional comments on here . There 's no comparaison between Rwanda and Haiti , two different ball
    games. Geopolitic play a big role in these countries situation. Haiti is surrounded by ex-euro colonies where white elites rules. there's rift between the mass and the elites backed by western powers. Haiti have no way out , they will have to follow what the neo-liberal agenda of the US/IMF/EU . We had a president elected and he was kidnaped by France and the US. Rwanda had an ethnic civil war backed by EUROS. Rwanda will have more chance than haiti, they are not surrounded by euro elites living in africa. China is investing billions in africa, they do not need the authorization of the EU.
    Even though that they dont want to see China influence in Africa. China is growing at eht moment in Latin america and the Caribbean but it will never reach to the point where they are in Africa, probably one day but not now. France owes Haiti 22 billions plus reparations . That was addressed by the haitians , next thing you know , they threat that they will have a blood bath in Haiti. Paul Kagame can t help haiti in anyway. Paul should help Rwanda and other african nation get on their feet not haiti. There s not leaders in haiti, only the elite rules. the only way haiti will work is by letting western powers , the elite of haiti and the haitian people to let haiti govern itself without illegal intervention /or a latin american union that will ensure a real democracy across the region without having any risk of another nation violating the rule of law .i'm putting my hope in the haitian diaspora and haiti allies Venezuela ,Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia. I support a Latin american union like the euro union.

    January 1, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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