About the Focus on Haiti Initiative

The Focus On Haiti Initiative was founded after the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Based at the George Washington University, the Initiative promotes scholarship and policy discussions on Haiti on campus, in the Washington, DC area, and with our online audience.

We seek to present objective, impartial and straightforward analysis concerning Haitian development in an attempt to advance international aid dialogue. In that regard, this site supports the right of authors to present informed and balanced opinions.

Our team is supported by the Institute for International and Global Studies, and the Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program, of the Elliott School of International Affairs.

Meet the Team


Dr. Robert E. Maguire

Dr. Maguire joined the faculty of the International Development Studies (IDS) program at the Elliott School in August 2011, following a decade in the International Affairs program at Trinity Washington University, where he also directed the Trinity Haiti Program. In January 2012, he assumed the duties of Director of GW’s Latin America and Hemispheric Studies Program (LAHSP).

Dr. Maguire has worked for years on issues of ‘bottom-up’ development in post-plantation societies in the Americas, including Louisiana, where he conducted Ph. D. research, but especially Haiti and the English-speaking Caribbean. He is recognized as leading US expert on Haiti, having been engaged with that country since 1974. His current involvement focuses on issues of US-Haiti policy, politics, post-disaster development, and effective poverty alleviation.

Nicholas JohnsonNJ00003

Nicholas Johnson is an undergraduate student studying international development and economics at the George Washington University. His research interests include the role of local and national development authorities in determining development priorities and funding allocations. Nic has worked for the Focus On Haiti Initiative at the Elliott School of International Affairs since 2013.


Past Team Members

Scott Freeman18671_Freeman_Photo

Dr. Scott Freeman is an environmental anthropologist who works extensively in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He is currently concerned with the bureaucracies of international aid projects, and how bureaucratic and financial procedures in international development undermine conservation interventions. In the Dominican Republic, he has conducted research on sustainable fishery programs and the relationship between NGOs and coffee cooperatives. In Haiti, his research has covered the vetiver perfume industry, and soil conservation/reforestation efforts. He has worked with large international aid institutions as well as small grassroots NGOs. Dr. Freeman is also affiliated with the Université d’etat d’Haiti in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


Meghan Pierce

Meghan Pierce received a degree from the Elliott School of International Affairs, concentrating in International Development and Latin American Studies. Her research experience includes US/Latin American migration and Latin American gender and development issues. She worked as a Research Assistant at the Institute for Global and International Studies, where she managed the “Focus on Haiti” blog.


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