Loune Viaud

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Loune Viaud
Born c. 1966
Port-Salut, Haiti
Nationality Haitian
Occupation Director of Strategic Planning
Organization Zanmi Lasante
Known for health care activism
Awards Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (2002)
Ms. magazine "Woman of the Year" (2003)

Loune Viaud (born c. 1966[1]) is a Haitian health care worker who serves as Director of Strategic Planning for Zanmi Lasante, a sister organization to Partners in Health. She won the 2002 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for her work with the group to provide health care in Haiti,[2] and in 2003 was named one of Ms. magazine's "Women of the Year".[1]


Viaud was born in Port-Salut in southern Haiti.[1] In the 1980s, she organized programs for street children in poor areas of Port-au-Prince alongside future president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In 1988, she was present for the St Jean Bosco massacre, an attack on Aristide's church which left at least 13 dead; following the attack, she left the country, resettling in Boston. There she became active with Partners in Health, founding programs for the Haitian immigrant community including "Haitian Teens Confront AIDS".[3]

In 1990, following a democratic election that brought Aristide the presidency, she returned to Haiti.[3] That year, she helped found Proje Sante Fanm, Haiti's first women's health clinic. She has also begun a gender-awareness training program for health care workers as well as women's literacy projects and scholarship programs.[1] She also implemented numerous projects for AIDS education and prevention.[3] Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer said of her work, "It’s no exaggeration to claim that Loune’s pragmatic solidarity has reached hundreds of thousands of Haitian women living in poverty."[1]

In 2002, Viaud won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for her innovative human rights-based approach to establishing health care systems in Haiti. Her groundbreaking work encompasses rights-based HIV/AIDS treatment; advocating for fundamental rights including health, access to medicine, and clean water; and working with the local government and citizens to build the government’s capacity to respond to those human rights.[4] During her acceptance speech, she stressed the need to represent the rights of the poor and that basic social and economic rights must be respected.[4] Since receiving the award, she has joined forces with the RFK Center to work with the international community to implement a rights-based framework for assistance that prioritizes Haitian participation.[5]

After the earthquake in January 2010, Viaud has been working to strengthen the Haitian health care sector by providing health care to the most vulnerable populations. She has partnered with the government and other organizations to help establish a children’s shelter for orphaned and abandoned children.[4] Named Zamni Beni, meaning “Blessed Friends”, the shelter is staffed by caregivers responsible for providing ongoing educational, emotional, and psychosocial support to orphans.[6]

She is currently the director of strategic planning and operations at Zanmi Lausanne, a socio-medial complex in Cange, Haiti. The organization offers free health care to hundreds of thousands of people. Her expertise informed a grant proposal to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculouis and Malaria and resulted in a $67 million grant to Haiti and Zanmi Lasante. Making it the largest AIDS treatment program in the world.[7] As of 2010, Zanmi Lausanne employed over 5,000 Haitians and support 12 health facilities.[8]

Awards and Honors[edit]

  • Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Laureate, Awarded in 2002
  • Peace and Justice Award from the Cambridge Peace Commission, 2000[7]
  • Honorary Doctorate, Regis College, 2011[9]
  • Rang NASDAQ opening bell in New York City’s Times Square, 2011[10]

Further reading[edit]

Testimony of Loune Viaud, Delivered to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, March 23, 2010


  1. ^ a b c d e Jennifer Margulis (December 2003). "Women of the Year 2003: Loune Viaud". Ms. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "2002: Loune Viaud, Haiti". Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Edward Kennedy (2002). "Remarks by Senator Edward Kennedy: 2002 RFK Human Rights Award Ceremony". Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Speak Truth to Power | Loune Viaud". blogs.nysut.org. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  5. ^ "Loune Viaud | Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights | Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights". rfkcenter.org. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  6. ^ "Pam O'Brien Brings Speak Truth To Power To Zanmi Beni | Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights | Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights". rfkcenter.org. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  7. ^ a b "Viaud, Loune". www.haitisupportgroup.org. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  8. ^ "http://www.ijdh.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Testimony_LV1.pdf" (PDF). www.ijdh.org. Retrieved 2015-04-30.  External link in |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Regis College awards honorary degree to social justice warrior, Loune Viaud". www.pih.org. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  10. ^ "PIH's Loune Viaud opens the NASDAQ stock exchange". www.pih.org. Retrieved 2015-04-30.