Cynthia Ellis is a mother, humanitarian and activist was ushered into the world by a Mayan Indian midwife in the village of August Pine Ridge, Belize, and Central America. Ms. Ellis is a board member of the WNY Peace Center and Liaison of the Caribbean Initiatives. She is also a former Deputy Program Manager of the Caribbean
Community (CARICOM). Ms. Ellis lifelong commitment is to empower women and families through education, training, and motivation that seek information and knowledge to improve their lives socially, politically, and
economically. Her journey has allowed her to crisscross most of the globe, from Iceland to Austria, from Soweto to the kingdom of Swaziland, including the Caribbean and Central America. As a Kellogg Foundation fellow; she coordinated programs for Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, as a Ford Foundation fellow, she was selected as the first person from the Caribbean to pursue Women’s Studies at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands. She has worked with the Canadian University Services Overseas as a national consultant at the Office of the Prime Minister of Kingston, Jamaica where she developed social and economic programs for youth and women. She co-founded Belize Rural Women’s Association, this network birthed out of a need for peace
and reconciliation in Belize during a time of civil wars in Central America. For over 25 years she has stood in the gap for farmers, workers and youth. Where the poor seemed powerless, she has taken the leadership in
challenging the Belize Government at the highest level to derail the building of the Chalillo Dam that would threaten national treasures of the indigenous people. The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma embraced her as one of
the leading women of the 21st century.
Marguerite Laurent, Esq. is an award winning playwright; perform poetry, a dancer, actress and an activist attorney. Ms. Laurent has won a Connecticut Playwright Fellowship from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, a Vermont Studio Center writing fellowship and scholarship, a Stanford Arts Partnership Grant and many other awards, residencies and fellowships. Ms. Laurent has worked, for over ten years, as an entertainment attorney within the Hip Hop and R&B music, recording, merchandising and independent film industries. She has represented numerous national and international recording artists and independent film directors, producers and screenwriters. She has written a judicial reform agenda for Haiti. Her most challenging and memorable work thus far has been as a legal advisor, to Haitian government in 1994-1995, promoting the democratic process in Haiti. She is the founder of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership, a network of lawyers dedicated to institutionalizing the rule of law and protecting the civil and cultural rights of Haitians at home and abroad.
Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine: Co-Founder and National Coordinator of September 30th Foundation. (FTS) is Haiti’s largest human rights organization, created after the 1991 coup in order to advocate for Haitian victims of political violence, fight for justice, put an end to impunity, and secure reparations for victims of the 1991 coup d’etat. Under Mr. Pierre-Antoine’s leadership FTS coordinated a campaign with a photo exhibition, which toured Haiti’s nine geographical departments and gathered over 150,000 names on a petition calling for Constitutional amendment to outlaw the Haitian Army. Mr. Pierre-Antoine is a psychologist, a long-time grassroots community organizer, and an activist who advocates for street kids and families with domestic problems. He is also the former General Coordinator of the National Office on Migration, which receives Haitian migrants who have been deported from abroad and helps them rehabilitate in the Haitian communities. Mr. Pierre-Antoine has training in psychotherapy, clinical intervention; public administration, attended extensive seminars on negotiation, conflict resolution and conflict management; human rights and the rights of children, assisting children living in the street, and international migration. Mr. Pierre-Antoine is a former social science and literacy teacher, who monitored some of Haiti’s literacy programs.
Bolivar Ramilus: President and founder of FODH (Front of Organization for the Development of Haiti), a collective that unites peasants’ organizations to improve local farming and provide professional training to youths. Mr. Ramilus is a Haitian peasant leader and former Member of Parliament represented the village of Cote-de-Fer of the South East department of Haiti. He served as president of the Haitian Parliament’s Commission on Peasant Affairs. In Parliament he helped bring electricity and a telephone system to Cote-de-Fer for the first time; he created an irrigation system for peasant farmers and had 23 miles of new roads built in the area. All of these projects supported local economic development. In addition, he helped start a project raising fish in reservoirs and an industry fabricating briquettes from scrap paper and cardboard to help stop people from cutting down trees for fuel. He also had a hand in extending local schooling through the last year of high school. Moreover, he worked with the peasants to strengthen and control their own economy while promoting sustainable agriculture and micro credit financing which encompasses local Haitian livestock. He spent over 20 years doing developmental work as a community organizer for various nonprofits, including the Red Cross/Red Crescent. His projects focused on sanitation, including building public and individual toilets, providing clean water and dispensing health education, especially for pregnant women.