Haiti, Venezuela Sign Pact for El Sistema-Style National Music School

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Above: Haiti Culture Minister Josette Darguste

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti and Venezuela have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of a national music school in Haiti modeled on Venezuela’s El Sistema national youth music programme.

The agreement was signed in Jacmel by Haiti Culture Minister Josette Darguste and Venezuelan Ambassador to Haiti Antonio Gonzalez Canino.

The signing ceremony was attended by United States Ambassador Pamela White, Haiti Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin and Senate President Simon Dieuseul Desras.

The project follows a trip by Haiti President Michel Martelly to Venezuela in November 2011, when he was reportedly inspired by El Sistema, which was founded in Venezuela in 1975 by musician Jose Antonio Abreu. The project currently educates more than 300,000 children in the country across 31 orchestras.

Haiti’s version of the project was first announced in June 2012, and will reportedly involve the establishment of several youth orchestras across Haiti.