Commission for the Search for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis
Former UNFPA Representative in Niger
Monique Clesca is currently an international consultant after a career of more than 25 years specializing in high-level policy dialogue, human rights, youth and women programming, development, crisis communication, and writing. A feminist pro-democracy, pro-social justice activist, she is also a member of the civil society Commission to Find a Haitian Solution to the Crisis, more commonly known as the “Montana Accord.”
Clesca was appointed representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Niger in 2012, after serving as its regional advisor for Africa in New York and regional advocacy and communication advisor for 22 Southern African countries. In Niger, she initiated and spearheaded a country-wide movement for the elimination of child marriage, a traditional practice entrenched in centuries-old ideas of protecting women, and “Illimin,” an adolescent girl empowerment initiative now adopted as a model for West African countries. She led her team to winning a WEBBY award for the series on Niger girls empowered against child marriage as well as to record resource mobilization for the implementation of the cooperation program. The president of Niger awarded her the country’s highest honor in the Niger Order of Merit, that of Commander in 2016. She has been a trusted advisor of Traditional Chiefs in Niger and Heath and Population Ministers in various African countries, and leveraged well-known artists and top influencers for girls’ and women’s rights.
Clesca was a founding member of MC Conseils, a communication and special event firm that provided services to government, civil society and international organizations in Haiti between 1996 and 2003. Previously, she served as advocacy and communication officer for UNICEF Haiti from 1983 to 1996 and spearheaded the campaign on the Convention on the Rights of Children and a national network of media and journalists in favor of children.
She has been a speaker at the Yale Law School Human Rights Clinic and a guest on Democracy Now, CNN, MSNBC, NBC News, and Black News.
Clesca’s writing has appeared in major national and international newspapers and magazines, including Foreign Affairs, Americas Quarterly, The New York Times, Miami Herald, Huffington Post, Le Nouvelliste, and Ayibopost. She has authored two books: a novel La Confession and a compilation of essays entitled Mosaiques and is currently writing her memoir Celebrating My Mysteries of her childhood under the Duvalier dictatorship. She was profiled by the French newspaper, L’Humanité, in 2015 and Le Nouvelliste in 2015 and 2016. She received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Howard University and a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University.
Clesca is a member of Think Tank Haiti- a joint initiative of Université Quisqueya and the Inter-American Dialogue.
Criminality is ubiquitous in Haitian officialdom. In fact, Haitian politics and government at all levels have become so enmeshed in and dependent on graft, gunrunning, drug smuggling, and gang violence that it is nearly impossible to disentangle them.
Since March 2021, Haitian civil society has been working hard to develop innovative, local solutions to the country’s problems, including a blueprint for a Haitian-led transition that could well forge a new path for the country. For that plan to work, the changes will need to be profound and transformative, and the process of implementing them as inclusive and empowering, as possible.