September 14, 2017

Here to Serve

Thank you Toronto!

It was a successful evening at the 9th annual Bovet 1822 presents APJ Festival Gala 2017 benefitting Artists for Peace and Justice. This is thanks to the generosity of every one who attended and continues to support APJ. All the money raised directly benefits the beautiful students of Haiti. We are left with irreplaceable memories and a fire in our hearts to serve.

Check out photos from the event here.

This year’s Peace and Justice Activism Award recipient was Jackson Browne, celebrating his lifetime of activism and commitment to peace and social justice both in Haiti and around the world. APJ distributed the inaugural APJ Canadian Changemaker Award presented by Maison Birks to recipient Gary Slaight, honoring his work as a leading Canadian philanthropist committed to integrity and impact.

Major thanks to our co-chairs, Natasha Koifman and Suzanne Boyd and the incredible event committee for making this night possible. Thank you to our title sponsor, Bovet 1822, for your continuous support. We can’t forget our incredible co-hosts, donors, and serving staff: David BelleShantelle Bisson, Yannick BissonKathryn EverettCuba Gooding Jr.Dana MaskimovichAudrey RaffyBen StillerMorgan SpurlockGeorge Stroumboulopoulos, and our other presenting sponsors Birks, Stella Artois, Audi Canada, Slaight Music, NKPR, Joe Fresh, Remington Group, Fabricland, Icon, and Flow Water. And to the Art Gallery of Ontario for hosting us at their beautiful venue.

Thank you again, Toronto. Join us next year for our 10-year anniversary!

 

Last month we celebrated the newest graduating classes from the Academy for Peace and Justice and Artists Institute in beautiful ceremonies honoring the graduates. Below we have two updates from APJ team members who were present for the celebrations with more details on the proceedings and on the graduates followed by a few of our favorite photos.


Graduation at the Academy for Peace and Justice
By Kathryn Everett, COO

Dear friends,

I’ve just come from the Graduation at the Academy for Peace and Justice and I wish you all could have been there. I was given the incredible honor of being the “Marraine,” or Godmother, of the graduation ceremony, and I made a short speech to the graduates congratulating them on all their hard work. It is hard for me to put into words how much the honor and experience meant to me. It was so beautiful, and humanizing, to see the graduates with their families, so happy, full of school spirit, bursting with happiness. The graduation was full of music, dance, poetry, song — the young leaders we are supporting in Haiti are definitely the next generation of artists for peace and justice! I feel so lucky to have been one person who helped to make this amazing school become a reality, just like all of you.

One of the best moments was when the graduating class, who have named themselves the “Quiddité,” or essence, of the school, literally passed the torch to the incoming seniors. The outgoing president held the torch high, and asked the incoming president if she was prepared to carry the legacy of the soul of the school — to which she replied a resounding YES! You could feel the pride pulsating throughout the tent.

I know that this year has been a challenging one, and at times it can feel like we are drowning in bad news. While I was in Haiti, Father Rick gave an impassioned service talking about our troubled times. He said that we can’t let our spirits be dulled by egotism, and greed, and darkness. We must keep our spirits sharp, and remain vigilant and compassionate, so that when we are presented with the next chance to help someone else, we can do so with hearts full of grace.

I am grateful for his reminder — and I look forward to that next opportunity. The Academy for Peace and Justice is proof that goodness still exists. Thank you for being a part of it.

With gratitude,
Kathryn


Graduation at Artists Institute
By Erlantz Hyppolite, Country Director

Dear friends,

July 1st marked the graduation ceremony of the third class at Artists Institute. For 10 years the institution has been serving the Jacmel community and Haiti by training 5 graduating classes of filmmakers and now 3 graduating classes of audio engineers. Artists Institute provides students with a dignified place to study, equipped with the best studio facilities available in the country.

The professionals trained by the Institute represent an important financial and artistic impact for Haiti. For admissions and scholarships, priority is given to young people that have talent but who would otherwise not have an opportunity to pursue the same kind of training. Because of this, each graduate is not only well trained but is also proudly engaged as a member of the Haitian music industry.

This year’s graduation ceremony was held on the Institute campus in Jacmel, with the sound of waves crashing in the background and modern Haitian beats mixed by the students setting the tone for the afternoon. The ceremony itself was simple and full of emotion, with cheers and celebration for each graduate as each was called by given names and nicknames, indicating the close bonds within the class.

Thank you for your continued support and for making these life changing opportunities possible.

With gratitude,
Erlantz


October 7, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Update

On October 4th, 2016 Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti. The storm ravaged much of the southwestern peninsula with winds of over 145 mph. Roads were cut off, power lines downed, roofs torn from most schools and homes, widespread agricultural and livestock losses, and over 1,000 people were killed in this monster storm.

There is much work to be done. A number of very effective, locally led response and relief efforts have been underway in the immediate aftermath.

Many people are asking how they can help. For the months of October and November all donations through our website will be directed to the first responders we know best, our Haitian partners, The St. Luke Foundation for Haiti. To donate click HERE.

Our hearts go out to Haiti in this, her latest challenge, and we send gratitude and respect to all the first responders working in partnership with these devastated communities to rebuild.

In solidarity,
APJ

APJ is going to London!

Join Artists for Peace and Justice and Bovet 1822 as we launch Brilliant is Beautiful: a new fund to support scholarships for girls education around the world.

The event will be held in honor of Karen Elson and will be hosted by Pascal Raffy, Gilles Bragard, alongside Amber Heard, Jeremy Parisi, Johan Ernst Nilson, Karolina Kurkova, Kelly Brook, Moran Atias, Petra Nemcova and many other friends!

The night will include a magnificent dinner prepared by Chef to Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom, as well as a live auction and a very special performance by Maxwell.

Major thanks to our event chair, Caroline Stanbury, as well as our incredible event committee, for making this night possible.

There are a limited number of tables and tickets available. For table and ticket reservations, as well as sponsorship and other inquiries, please contact: events@apjnow.org

We hope to see you in London!

Time to celebrate, cabaret style!

Join us and our partners Bovet 1822 at the 2016 Festival Fair in Toronto on September 11th, honouring the remarkable Sean Penn.

This year’s special event will be hosted by Maria BelloMaxwell, Pascal Raffy of Bovet 1822, George Stroumboulopoulos and more friends to be announced soon!

A big thank you to our fabulous co-chairs Natasha Koifman and Suzanne Boyd and our event committee members Nicholas Mellamphy & Simona Shnaider.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please email events@apjnow.org.

To reserve your tickets and to learn more about the event click HERE.

Six years ago, in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and left 1.5 million people living in tents, we committed with our incredible partners the St. Luke Foundation to build the Academy for Peace and Justice. The vision: to build a free high school for the very poor. And what a school it has become! Thanks to the St. Luke team’s commitment and hard work we now have a school with 2,600 students on full scholarships.

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Last weekend, we celebrated a major milestone at the school: friends and supporters from around the world who have made our work possible came to Haiti to celebrate the first ever graduation! Special guests included Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Donna Karan and Maria Bello. Our hearts are full of pride for these students, respect for the St. Luke team, and immense gratitude to everyone who has been on this journey with us.
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We also celebrated the opening of our newest wing at the Academy for Peace and Justice, built in partnership with Carlo Traglio, Ben Stiller & Christine Taylor, and RTL Foundation. Wing IV is home to a new art program along with all future graduating classes. The students that received their diplomas on Sunday spent the past year studying in this beautiful new building. At the ceremony, Ben Stiller said, “I am just amazed every time I come here. There is always so much more that exists and that really is a credit to all of those involved in the organization. The people here are working so hard and really have a desire to create something that lasts. It’s just an incredible spirit that gets translated into reality.” Thank you to all for your commitment to turning this dream into a reality!

We are so grateful for the continued support of our partners Bovet 1822, Vhernier and Brioni, without whom this day wouldn’t have been possible.

This school rose from the rubble and now it’s first graduates are emerging as young leaders who want to make a better future for their country. Congratulations, Class of 2016! We can’t wait to see where you go from here!

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June 8, 2016

Haiti Optimiste 2016

On June 1st, we gathered together with friends and supporters for our annual Haiti Optimiste event in New York City at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) to benefit Artists Institute. This year’s event was hosted by Grammy Award-Winner Maxwell and Artists Institute founder David Belle.

The event opened with a performance by the event’s artistic director, Haitian musician Paul Beaubrun. Paul is one of Haiti’s most promising new international musical talents, with a recent chart-topping solo album and appearances alongside artists such as Arcade Fire, Sheryl Crow, and Lauryn Hill.

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After his performance, guests viewed a screening of the short documentary “Dans la cour de Vivianne Gauthier”, which explores the life and legacy of Vivianne Gauthier, one of Haiti’s most iconic dancers, choreographers, and teachers, and the role that her remarkable home has played in her career. Directed by Marie-Claude Fournier and beautifully shot by Ciné Institute graduate Marco Saint Juste, the film was produced by Ciné Institute for the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation.

Following the screening, Riva Précil and Bohio Music took to the stage. Having studied dance with Madame Gauthier in Haiti, Ms. Précil gave a striking performance of dance and music that left the audience breathless.

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Afterwards, Artists Institute Director Paula Hyppolite and graduate Cesar “Bougon” Massena gave inspiring testimonials about the training made available through the Institute and employment opportunities for graduates. Paul Beaubrun then returned to perform a new song “Surrender”, dedicated to Bougon and his incredible journey. Paul recently wrote the song while attending a Songwriters Summit at Artists Institute hosted by music legend and APJ Advisory Board member Jackson Browne.

David Belle then came to the stage to join Paul, bringing with him Maxwell and Artists Institute advisory board member Michael Brun. Both guests spoke about their experiences at the Institute and the importance of supporting young Haitian artists. Michael Brun told the story of writing his hit single “Wherever I Go” at the Institute and his own personal journey of connecting with his Haitian roots. Maxwell then spoke about how his trip to Artists Institute helped him connect with his heritage. He expressed that he has been searching for an organization that he could trust, whose impact is evident and consistent. He is excited to be supporting APJ and Artists Institute on his upcoming tour, donating $1 from every ticket sold to support our programs in Haiti. The news was met with overwhelming applause!

Following these testimonies, supporters in the audience were asked to consider making contributions of their own to fund the future of the school. The response was overwhelming and shattered previous records from the event.

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The show wrapped up with a screening of the “Wherever I Go” music video, directed by Ciné Institute graduate Marc Henry Valmond and a electric performance by Haitian roots band Lakou Mizik. The audience was on their feet dancing in the aisles, some joining the band on stage before everyone was led out of the theater in a rara procession to enjoy a reception with amazing Haitian cuisine prepared by Nadege Fleurimond.

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It was truly a magical night thanks to so many friends and supporters. Our deepest thanks to all who came to Haiti Optimiste and for your support of Artists Institute. Until next year!

Click here to see more photos from the event.

 

 

 

We are thrilled to announce that the APJ Store is open! Now you can get all your favorite APJ gear as well as our incredible collaborations with like-minded brands and artists, including Bovet 1822, Vhernier, Faherty, Roots, Obey, TwentySix, Simbi, Fait la Force and Michael Brun. Support APJ and look stylish doing it! Create change & buy for good. Shop now: store.apjnow.org.

Haitian born DJ and Audio Institute advisory board member Michael Brun recently produced the song ‘Wherever I Go’ with our students at Artists Institute. It was a collaboration born out of his love for the school and for his country. Over the past year Brun visited Audio Institute several times to produce the track, working with a number of Haitian artists on the song, including BélO and J. Perry.

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Michael says, “’Wherever I Go’ is the most important project I’ve ever worked on in my career because it’s been a way for me to both share my heritage with the world and show the positivity that comes with investing in community”.

Michael is generously donating 100% of the proceeds from the song to APJ. Check out the song here and watch the music video below!

January 13, 2016

Thank you Aspen!

Thank you Aspen! We had an incredible inaugural New Years Eve celebration with Bovet 1822 at the beautiful St. Regis Aspen Hotel. Co-hosts included Academy Award® winner Susan Sarandon, star polo player and model Nacho Figueras and wife Delfina Blaquier, owner of the St. Regis Aspen Stephane De Baets, owner of Bovet 1822 Pascal Raffy, and Amy Sacco. Event guests included the evening’s performers, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire, musician Rufus Wainwright, actress and model Madalina Ghenea, and front man of The National Matt Berninger.

Click here for photos from the celebration.

The spectacular night featured hors d’oeuvres and a four course culinary experience from Chefs Club by Food & Wine Magazine, including Petrossian Caviar, agnolotti with shaved white truffle, and a Waygu beef duo. The open bar featured Billecart-Salmon Champagne, Aspen Brewing Company Beer, and cocktails furnished by Woody Creek Distillery. Guests wore special Masquerade Masks hand painted by Broadway makeup designer Joe Dulude II.

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Highlights of the evening included a lively and fun auction, where a Zoolander 2 experience brought home over $50,000, and a special live performance by Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, who played classics such as “Haiti”, “The Suburbs,” and were joined onstage by Matt Berninger from The National for a beautiful version of “Wake Up.” Katharine McPhee, American Idol contestant and star of hit television show ‘Smash’, sang the classic “What Are You Doing New Years” to start off the party.

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“I couldn’t think of a better way to start 2016 than with our friend Stephane and the St Regis family. Artists for Peace and Justice has always benefited from our extraordinary, ever-growing, committed friends who are all dedicated to achieving meaningful results for the children of Haiti. The Midnight Masquerade brought together old friends and an opportunity to make new friends and continue to build on our fantastic achievements. In the coming year, we will be prepared for new challenges but also a bright beginning for our first-ever graduating high school class. Because of you, these children will have a chance at a better tomorrow. Because of you, we are beginning to break the cycle of poverty and lack of education in Haiti. And because of you, and your amazing support, we can ring in the New Year with a message of hope and progress for our students. We’re grateful to the Aspen community, our incredible partners and friends Bovet 1822, Stephane De Baets, Chefs Club by Food&Wine and the St. Regis Aspen for the warm welcome to your beautiful town.”

We came to Aspen with our strategic partner, Bovet 1822, as the 2015 New Years Eve gala’s title sponsor, with Owner Pascal Raffy joining the roster of co-hosts for the evening. Bovet 1822 ensures APJ is able to give 100 percent of every dollar raised directly to Haiti.

Guests looking to wear this season’s hottest new looks visited The Armarium Chalet, a luxury pop-up retail styling concept where guests have access to high fashion pieces on a borrowed basis, as well as access to the fashion industry’s top stylists. Esteemed guests of the Midnight Masquerade Susan Sarandon, Delfina Blaquier, APJ COO Kathryn Everett, and more were all dressed by The Armarium Chalet.

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The highlight of the evening was the countdown to midnight, with Win Butler and Régine Chassagne taking the stage with Zing Experience (Paul Beaubrun, Morgan Zwerlein and Yves Boyer) to play Arcade Fire’s hit “Here Comes the Night Time” as the fireworks display was above them and the beautiful Aspen mountains. It was a truly special way to ring in the New Year.

All in all, over $500,000 was raised for our programs in Haiti. The Midnight Masquerade was a party for our guests to do good, and have fun!

 

December 16, 2015

Fait la Force Tote for APJ

We are excited to announce the new ‘School Kids Tote’ by Fait la Force benefitting APJ! Fait la Force “works with Haitian artisans using traditional techniques and natural materials to provide jobs, skills and access to markets by bringing modern design to indigenous craft”.

This tote was made with the local fabrics that are used for making school uniforms. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these totes will go directly to our programs in Haiti. They make the perfect holiday gift!

Click here to purchase yours today.

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Natasha Koifman, APJ Canada Board Chair and President of NKPR, has partnered with custom scent experts Aromachology to create a new fragrance, TWENTYSIX, in support of Artists for Peace and Justice.

Crafted from Haitian vetiver, a fragrant grass that grows on the coast of Haiti, TWENTYSIX combines 26 ingredients to inspire and move the heart. Bergamot top notes reveal a floral bouquet of roses and peony, followed by patchouli, earthy sandalwood and noble vetiver. The scent evokes Haiti’s natural charm, timelessness and possibility.

“We are inspired by the work that Artists for Peace and Justice does, and jumped on the chance to be involved in such a meaningful passion project,” says Ashlee Posner, Co-Founder of Aromachology. “Haiti is the largest producer of vetiver in the world and being able to create a product to support Haitians was so important to both Natasha and myself.”

“Collaborating with Aromachology was a natural fit based on our likeminded passion for philanthropy. We both wanted to develop a product timed for holiday that would truly be the gift that gives back,” says Natasha Koifman. “The signature scent was named TWENTYSIX because it is not only a number that holds a lot of meaning in my life, but combines 26 ingredients including one directly sourced from Haiti. Every day I am in awe of the kids of Haiti and their unbreakable spirit and I am so grateful to be able to share what comes from this beautiful country.”

We are very excited for the launch of this product right before the holidays. It is the perfect gift! You can read more about the project and purchase the fragrance at www.26forapj.com.