In celebration of Duke University’s acquisition of the Radio Haiti Archives, the Forum for Scholars & Publics hosted a discussion with Haitian journalist and human rights activist Michèle Montas along with Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist and Craig Breaden, Audiovisual Archivist at the Duke University Library. As a journalist in Haiti in the 1980s and 1990s, Montas and her husband Jean Dominique were critical voices documenting the movement that led to the overthrow of Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986 and the struggles for democracy that followed. Their work was documented in Jonathan Demme’s celebrated documentary The Agronomist. Montas has recently donated the archive of Radio Haiti – including 2500 audio recordings, largely in Haitian Creole – to Duke University. In our lunch discussion, we will discuss the history of the radio station and the importance of this archive, which provides vital documentation of the struggles for human rights and democracy in Haiti, as well as projects to make these materials as broadly available as possible to publics in the country.
Journalist and Human Rights Activist
Michèle Montas is a journalist from Haiti and the former Spokesperson under UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Prior to her appointment, Montas headed the French unit of UN Radio. From 2003 to 2004, she served as the Spokesperson for UN General Assembly President Julian Robert Hunte soon after she fled to New York from Haiti.