Haitian President Rene Preval has appointed Haitian-born hip-hop star Wyclef Jean as a roving ambassador to promote the troubled country’s image abroad, government officials said Wednesday.
“We wish we could have several Wyclefs as roving ambassadors because the country could have gained so much,” Foreign Affairs Minister Renald Clerisme told Reuters in an interview.
Jean moved to New York when he was nine, but has been active in his support of his native country, regularly wearing the Haitian flag on his clothing at public events and creating a foundation to provide aid and assistance there.
Government officials praised the Grammy award-winning Jean as a model for youth, the pride of all Haitians and “our best asset to promote the country’s image around the world and to help attract foreign investors.”
The presidential palace announced that Preval, who left Port-au-Prince on Wednesday for a three-day visit to Jamaica, would be joined there by Jean.
Jean, 34, gained fame as a member of the hip-hop trio The Fugees, who won Grammys in 1996 for their album “The Score” and the single “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” He was also nominated last month for a best pop collaboration Grammy for his performance with Shakira on the smash hit “Hips Don’t Lie.”
Haiti’s government credits Jean with successfully lobbying the U.S. Congress for passage of a trade bill expected to help create textile manufacturing jobs in Haiti.