Haiti Special Coordinator
The Haiti Special Coordinator heads the Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator, within the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and oversees U.S. government engagement with Haiti, including diplomatic relations and implementation of a reconstruction strategy in partnership with the government of Haiti. The Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator is the coordinating entity engaging the interagency players involved in carrying out U.S. policy in Haiti. The Haiti Special Coordinator coordinates assistance efforts in Haiti within the donor community.
Kenneth Merten has been serving as the Haiti Special Coordinator and as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs since August 17, 2015. Since April 2016, he assumed responsibility as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Canadian Affairs in the same Bureau. A two-time Ambassador, he was most recently the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, from 2012 to August 2015, and prior to that served as the United States Ambassador to Haiti from 2009 to July 2012. He also served as a Deputy Executive Secretary to U.S. Secretary of State Clinton and earlier to U.S. Secretary of State Rice. He was awarded the 2011 Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy for his extraordinary leadership in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. In serving as Ambassador to Haiti, Mr. Merten oversaw the United States Government’s on-the-ground efforts to provide immediate relief after the earthquake through a presence of 8,000 U.S. military personnel as well as hundreds of other professionals drawn from many other U.S. Government agencies including the U.S. Agency for International Development. In the days after the earthquake, he also oversaw the largest evacuation of American citizens since World War II.
Mr. Merten’s overseas assignments include the U.S. Embassy in Paris, the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, the U.S. Embassy in Bonn at the time of German unification, and three tours at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Mr. Merten’s Washington experience includes two assignments in the State Department Operations Center, which responds to unfolding international emergencies, ensures senior State Department officials are kept abreast of breaking events, and supports the daily work and travel of the Secretary of State. He also has served in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and on the Cuba Desk, and worked for the Special Advisors on Haiti in 1993-1994.
Kenneth Merten holds a B.A. from Miami University in Ohio, and a Masters in Public Administration from American University in Washington, D.C. Studies at the Université d’Aix-Marseille in France and at Karl Franzens Universität in Austria complement his other academic work. He gave the commencement address to over 10,000 attendees at Miami University in May 2010 and received an honorary Doctorate from the University as well. In July 2012, Ambassador Merten was decorated by Haiti’s President, Michel Martelly, with the Grande Croix of Honor and Merit, the fourth foreign diplomat to receive that honor in over 200 years of Haiti’s independence.
Ambassador Merten was born in St. Louis, Missouri and considers Hudson, Ohio his hometown.
Biography also avaliable in French.
In Photos: Haiti Special Coordinator Engages International Partners To Advance Democracy in Haiti
United States Haiti Special Coordinator and Deputy Assistant Secretary Kenneth Merten undertook a series of trips -- including to Ottawa, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, Miami, Brasilia, Paris, and Brussels -- to review multilateral efforts in support of strengthened democratic institutions and processes in Haiti. More»
Podcast: Interview with DAS Kenneth Merten, Haiti Special Coordinator, on US-EU cooperation on Haiti
April 5: Haiti Special Coordinator Merten visited the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Union’s diplomatic service, to continue multilateral coordination with the European Union on Haiti. Listen to the podcast for more details about his visit and the upcoming elections in Haiti. Listen» Read Transcript [PDF]»
Learn more about Embassy Port-au-Prince’s coordinated hurricane relief efforts in Haiti Full Text [PDF]»
The Caracol Industrial Park is a mixed-use light manufacturing facility that began operating in 2012 in the commune of Caracol. At 246 hectares, it is one of the largest and most modern facilities of its kind in the Caribbean. Owned by the Government of Haiti, the Park is managed by the National Society of Industrial Parks (SONAPI) under Haiti’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Conceived as a public-private partnership, it was constructed with the support of the Government of Haiti, the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.S. Government, and Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd. - the park’s anchor corporate tenant.
U.S. Support for Haiti's Roadmap toward Completion of Electoral Process - Transcript
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW; Room 12B63
Washington, DC 20520