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Letters are welcome and should be addressed to the Editor at Wehaitians.com. E-mail: letters@wehaitians.com
Posted June 7, 2006
Preval's education
Dear Sir::

I am interested in your attempt to verify the authenticity of the popular claim that Preval holds a college degree. This is a very  interesting topic in light of the need for honesty and trust to build among Haitians (those making the news, those reporting the news, and those consuming the news) ever since social morality was crushed by movements against the traditional Haitian lakou social accountability system and replaced with instructions spewed forth via radio waves and the muzzles of guns sponsored by the National Palace in Port-au-Prince.

In that light, I performed my own investigation into the matter using Google. My original hope was to find an official, Haitian biography of Mr. Preval written by a Haitian in French or Kreyol for which Preval and his government take direct responsibility. Unfortunately, I found no such document. Instead, I have found a number of links that provide very different assessments of his educational background.  

I searched for "Preval Leuvens," but it was recommended that I search for "Louvain' by the automatic spelling checker. There was only one link http://www.legrandsoir.info/article.php3?id_article=3287 to an article which states that Preval graduated from Louvain. I don't know anything about that particular site.

After searching the English portion of Google, I found several references in popularity-accepted versions of Preval's biography stating that he graduated from the University of Gembloux, another Belgian university with a degree specializing in agriculture. These include references at wikipedia, prevalhaiti.com, haitielection2005.com, and answers.com. The link for the Gembloux university is: htpp://www.fsagx.ac.be/fac/en/default.asp I searched the university's site for "Preval" and found nothing.   yet another article states that he did indeed study at both Louvain and Gembloux but did not earn an undergraduate degree. This link is: htpp://www.offnews.info/verArticulo.php?contenidoID=3319 (in Spanish). You will have to scroll down quite a bit to find the pertinent information in Part III, but the article does clearly state that Preval did not earn a degree at either institution. Several other Spanish-language articles and other articles apparently translated into English from these same Spanish articles have the same statement.

Finally, others searched under "Preval agronomist" refer to Preval simply as a trained agronomist.  

As far as his status as an agronomist is concerned, there is a lack of clarity. I have no idea what a person needs to accomplish in order to be called an agronomist in Haiti. In the United States, one must hold a Bachelor of Science degree with at least 30 credits hours devoted to agronomic subject classes in order to sit for the certification exam to become a Certified Professional Agronomist CPAg). I, for one, have counted myself as a management consultant while holding only a bachelor's degree in economics and international studies.  

In conclusion, there appears to be no authority on the matter. You are right to request Mr. Preval to provide his academic credentials in order to clarify the matter. Mr. Preval could, by providing authority and his own word (and supporting documentation from his university supported further by independent acknowledgment of his degree) is interested in moving forward toward a more transparent, honest style of government beginning with his very own personality.  

This kind of action, if undertaken sincerely, should be accepted on its degree of sincerity. Historically, the personality of the president has been a huge issue in Haiti, a country which often has put the presidential personality above even the flag of the Republic.  

My wish is for your endeavors to make Haitians, from the President to the primarily school student, accountable for the authenticity of their public statements. Perhaps with more honesty and trust, Haitians will finally develop a respected nation. Respect is much more important than sovereignty-and harder to obtain and maintain. I also do hope that the Haitian press will encourage honest persons to be involved in public life rather than provide only discouragement from sticking one's neck out for his/her country.   

I would be most appreciative if you would take the time to continue to search for this information and to reply to my email message with an update on this matter.

One of our most serious visitors
The news article, originally published in our News & Analysis section/Supplement, on Thursday, May 25, 2006
Extreme violence-issued de facto Haitian President Preval, a forced college drop-out who was assigned mostly the equivalent grade of F, not an agronomist, as he always claims
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor

He is dammed; he is stupid; he is extremely inarticulate; he is a failed neighborhood baker. What's more? He is a terrorist, as the bomb, among many other horrific acts, Rene Preval personally detonated, in late 1990s, in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petion-Ville during a public political event suggests.

Still, extreme violence-issued de facto Haitian President Preval always claims to possess a college degree in agronomy from the University of Leuvens, in Belgium, conferring him the right to say over and over that he is an agronomist.

But according to wehaitians.com investigation, yes he did attend the prestigious institution of higher learning but was forced to withdraw during his freshman year after most of the grades assigned to him were the equivalent of F, by United States standards.

Now it is up to Preval to forward wehaitians.com, which e-mail is letters@wehaitians.com, a copy of his college degree, in addition to permitting the university to send directly to this journal an official copy of his transcripts for publication to prove that the Leuvens University official it spoke to, on the condition of anonymity, because of the sensitivity of the matter, Thursday, by way of a telephone, has erred.

Wehaitians.com, the scholarly journal of democracy
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