MissionCreated in 1995, the Fondation Connaissance et Liberté / Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète (Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty), is a well recognized national foundation supported mainly by Open Society Foundations, OSF, a worldwide network of foundations and initiatives created by philanthropist George Soros for the promotion of democratic values. FOKAL also receives support from the European Union and the French cooperation. The Foundation offers to local communities throughout the country and to organizations of civil society a large spectrum of activities in the fields of education, arts and culture and development.

FOKAL’s creation

The Foundation was created in April 1995 after Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis received the mandate by Karen J. Greenberg, vice-president of programs of the Open Society Institute founded in the 1980s by philanthropist Georges Soros. This network of foundations, projects and partner institutions present over 100 countries is known today as the Open Society Foundations (OSF). Aryeh Neier, then president of the Open Society Institute (OSI), was the first to contact Michèle D. Pierre-Louis in January 1995 in Port-au-Prince. Michèle D. Pierre-Louis was then invited to meet Georges Soros, founder and chairman of OSI, in New York in February 1995 and from that meeting came the decision to entrust her with the creation of a foundation in Haiti. A notarized official mandate was then be communicated to Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis "for the purpose of signing the constitutive act, the statutes and all acts necessary for the constitution of the Foundation knowledge and freedom; To constitute all the values or all the sums necessary for the assignment of this foundation. "

In July 1995, the founder of FOKAL, Michèle D. Pierre-Louis, invited seven volunteers to form the first board of directors; as recommended by the article 4 of FOKAL’s statutes which confers to the founder the power to appoint the members of the first board of directors. Members of the board have the status of volunteers and do not receive any salary. On 14 June 1996, notary Garry Brisson Cassagnol officially transmitted the Statutes of the Fondation Connaissance et Liberté to the Mayor of Port-au-Prince, after their notarial registration according to a mandate granted to Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis. The Statutes were to be transmitted via the Mayor’s office to the Ministery of Interior for final approval and publication in the Official Journal : Le Moniteur. The articles were filed in the presence of the following witnesses: Lorraine C. Mangonès and Evens Toussaint, respectively Deputy Director and Financial Director.On 21 April 1997, the Mayor of Port-au-Prince, Joseph Emmanuel Charlemagne, transmitted to the Minister of the Interior, Jean Joseph Molière, the certificate of registration of the Foundation in the special city ledger of Port- au-Prince. The publication will be made in the January 28,1999 issue, number 8 of the 154th year of the Official Journal Le Moniteur. The following year, FOKAL will receive from the Government of the Republic the declaration of public utility giving it legal personality that will appear in the Moniteur of May 4, 2000, number 35, 155th year.The Article 3 of the Foundation statutes defines the vision of the institution: to promote the necessary structures for the establishment of a just and solidary democratic society concerned with the development of education and the communication of science and culture.

FOKAL’s board of directors 

FOKAL’s board of directors gives the broad guidelines of the foundation and meets at least four times a year to monitor the implementation of the actions that have been approved. In January 2015, the lawyer and economist Maxime D. Charles became the president of the current board of directors, succeeding Danièle Magloire, sociologist and human rights activist.The President of the board shall convene the Board for a meeting or any modification of the by-laws, co-sign with the Director the official statements and represent the Board of the Foundation at the annual meetings of the Open Society Foundations network. He / she shall be entitled to sign on the Foundation's accounts in the same way as the Executive Director, the Financial Director and / or the Assistant Director. The Vice-President shall replace the President in the event of his / her absence. The secretary approves and signs the minutes of the boards of directors. The other members of the board or advisers agree as well on the broad guidelines presented by the Executive Director. They do not have the right to sign the accounts or official declarations unless exceptionally mandated by a majority of the Board members and the Executive Director.

Members of FOKAL’s first board of directors in 1995 : 

President: Brother Franklin Armand, Founder of two indigenous religious orders in the Central Plateau: the Little Brothers of the Incarnation (1976) and the Little Sisters of the Incarnation (1985).Vice-president: Inette Durandis, Agronomist, has been leading the development projects of the Methodist Church of Haiti since 1992,

Secretary: Michèle Montas, Journalist, director of the newsroom of Radio Haiti InterAdvisor : Daniel Henrys, Medical doctor specialist in community health and public health, founding member of the SOE (Ecumenical Service of Help).Advisor : Moïse Jean-Charles, Coordinator of Mouvman Peyizan Milot, newly elected mayor of Milot

Advisor: Luc Pierre, Professor at the Ecole Normale Superieure and the Faculty of Applied Linguistics. Author of the Book: “Education and socio economic challenges”

Advisor : Father Hugo Trieste, of The Scheutt Congregation, a member of the Justice & Peace Commission since 1989 and the Platform of Haitian human rights organizations since 1991.

FOKAL Board Presidents from 1995 to today :

  • Brother Francklin Armand : July 1995 to november 1998
  • Inette Durandis, agronomist : November 1998 to june 2006
  • Daniel Henrys. MD: June 2006  to September 2008
  • Danièle Magloire, sociologist : September 2008 to January 2015
  • Maxime D. Charles, economist : January 2015 to present

FOKAL board members and their mandates from 1995 to today:

Luc Pierre (July 1995 – September 1997), Advisor

Moïse Jean-Charles (July 1995 – July 1998), Advisor

Father Père Hugo Trieste (July 1995 – October 1998), Advisor

Dr. Daniel Henrys (July 1995 – February 2009), Advisor (1995-1998) Vice-president (1998-2006), president (2006-2009)

Michèle Montas (July 1995 – December 2001) Secretary

Inette Durandis (July 1995 – June 2006) Vice-president (1995-1998), Presidente (1998-2006)

Brother Francklin Armand (July 1995 – December 2001) President (1995-1998), advisor (1998-2001)

Abner Septembre (November 1998 – Avril 2005) Secretary

Smarck Michel (November 1998 – February 2002), Advisor

Vertus Saint-Louis (November 1998 – March 2017), Advisor

Danièle Magloire (December 1998 – present), Secretary (1998-2008), President (2008-2015), Vice-president (2015-to present)

Dr. Nicole Magloire (June 2002 – March 2015), Vice-president

Patrick Vilaire (November 2002 – February 2009), Advisor

Norma Powell (October 2009 – to present), advisor (2009-2015), Secretary (2015-to present)

Maxime D. Charles (April 2010 – to present), advisor (2010-2015), President (2015 to present)

Me. Jean-Joseph Exumé (June 2015 to present), advisor

Elisabeth Colimon Woolley (March 2017 to date), advisor

FOKAL actual board of director

Maxime D. Charles (April 2010 – to present), advisor (2010-2015), President (2015 to present)

Danièle Magloire (December 1998 – present), Secretary (1998-2008), President (2008-2015), Vice-president (2015-to present)

Norma Powell (October 2009 – to present), advisor (2009-2015), Secretary (2015-to present)

Me. Jean-Joseph Exumé (June 2015 to present), advisor

Elisabeth Colimon Woolley (March 2017 to date), advisor

Facilitators to the board

Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis, President of the foundation (Executive Director from 1995 to 2008)

Lorraine Mangonès, Executive Director

Marie Edmonde Jeune, Financial director

Elizabeth Pierre-Louis Augustin, Program Director

First visit of George Soros to the Foundation: November 1998. 

Second and last visit to date: November 2008.


Contact and address

143, Avenue Christophe BP 2720 HT 6112
Port-au-Prince,Haïti | Tel : (509) 2813-1694

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