The Le Flambeau Foundation exists because of the exceptional passion, hard work, vision, perserverance and tremendous leadership of two individuals. Interestingly the first leader highlighted below significantly influenced the second leader featured – they were connected in so many ways; in a manner that we all should be. They believed in the goodness of man, in equality for all and in elevation through education. They believed in our young people. They believed in sharing - one must give to live and live to give. They believed in the future. They believed that we can do anything. And so we are.
They built the Torch, lit the Torch, committed their lives to it, then handed it over to us to carry it forward. They are our Foundation. They are Le Flambeau.
Sénateur Emile Saint-Lôt (September 11, 1904 – August 17, 1976)
Sénateur Emile Saint-Lôt left an indelible mark in history. Gifted with an extraordinary talent for molding and liberating entire countries, young Emile Saint-Lôt lit, carried and passed on the Torch for generations to come. Degreed as a lawyer, an agronomist and as a journalist; young Emile Saint-Lôt grew to be an advocate for education, a guardian of human rights and one of the most respected and accomplished leaders of our time.
Sénateur Emile Saint-Lôt spent his early years in the midst of the U.S. military invasion and occupation of Haiti, from 1915 to 1937. This experience impacted him profoundly and fueled his future accomplishments; rooted in the free, strong, proud and independent spirit that is Haiti.
Emile Saint-Lôt served in numerous leadership roles as a human rights journalist/publisher, a university professor of law, the senate, and as chief justice of the civil court. On June 19, 1946, Emile Saint-Lôt was elected Senateur for the West . On November 22, 1946, Senateur Emile Saint-Lôt became a signatory for the Constitution of Haiti. Senateur Emile Saint-Lôt later also served as a signatory for the historic Declaration of Human Rights in Paris with U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
The birth of the United Nations in 1945 was pivotal for Haiti and for Sénateur Emile Saint-Lôt. Haiti is a founding and permanent member of the United Nations and Sénateur Emile Saint-Lôt served as the first U.N. Ambassadeur for Haiti and as a member of the Security Council, responsible for voting on the independence of countries. Ambassadeur Emile Saint-Lôt later cast the deciding vote for the independence of Israel, Libya and Somalia; and wrote the constitution for many more emerging nations.
In 1957 at the U.N. in New York, Ambassadeur Emile Saint-Lôt presented his famous speech for the independence of Libya. Upon completing his speech, after receiving numerous compliments on his presentation, he was approached by an ambassador who remarked “le temps est sombre” (the time/setting is dark). Ambassadeur Emile Saint-Lôt, known for his quick thinking and optimistic energy said with a warm smile, “mais, l’esprit brille” (but the spirit shines). This statement captures the essence of Senateur and Ambassadeur Emile Saint-Lôt and speaks to his culture of leadership excellence. He was always seeing, being, giving and bringing; the brightness to the forefront.
Senateur Emile Saint-Lôt is the original Flambeau. He sparked a movement and lit the Torch we carry forward.
Dr. Luc L. Colas devoted his life to leading, teaching and giving. His spirit lives on in the many who have been formed and elevated by his presence and accomplishments. Guided by the legacy of Dr. Luc Colas are doctors, lawyers, judges, mayors, diplomats, etc …our leaders of today and tomorrow, most visibly in Haiti. Education was a centerpiece throughout his life. Dr. Luc Colas is known to have been an exceptionally accomplished man of character, intellect, discipline and vision; with an extraordinary love for, and faith in, humankind.
Born in 1921 in Cap-Haitian Haiti, one of eight children, young Luc Colas excelled in school to become a respected medical doctor, lawyer, judge, college president, college dean and college professor. Dr. Colas also became a founding member of the Rotary Club in Cap-Haitian and later represented Haiti on a medical mission to Hong Kong as a Rotarian. With an impressive list of accomplishments as a medical doctor in various regions of the world, and having held key posts for the United Nations W.H.O. in Haiti and in Africa; Dr. Colas made a decision to take another leap forward. At the age of 64 yrs. Dr. Luc Colas returned to school to study law. He graduated top of his class, practiced law and later accepted the posts of Government Commissioner and Judge in Haiti. For Dr. Luc L. Colas life was a classroom and he soaked up volumes while he was there.
As Dr. Colas was being educated, he was educating. The young people around him were inspired and followed in his footsteps. Integrity and discipline were hallmarks. This thought leader and educator gained a reputation for pulling people together and leading intellectual dialogue on a variety of topics. He stimulated this type of dialogue in his classes, at informal gatherings, at dinner, in presentations, with his family, and at his home when hosting students. A favorite discussion topic of Dr. Luc Colas was that of the life of one of the brightest minds in Haiti’s history, Sénateur Emile Saint-Lot. These dialogue sessions are legendary and are now a part of the Le Flambeau Foundation programming.
Throughout his life Dr. Luc L. Colas overcame obstacles, knocking down barriers as he walked through doors previously bolted for those of his origin and hue. Life for him was not always easy as he often chose the paths less traveled, forging new avenues of opportunity for those less fortunate. His talent for assisting the underserved, particularly the young, was a driving force that made his life most complete. In 2004 Dr. Colas spearheaded the birth of the Le Flambeau Foundation in Haiti; resulting in scholars from Haiti attending college in the U.S. These scholars excelled, including one who recently graduated from Harvard University with a master’s degree in education. The shorter term transitional scholarships, an innovative format originally proposed by Dr. Luc Colas, is now an integral component of the Le Flambeau Foundation scholarships programming.
Dr. Colas traveled the world helping others in Zaire/Congo, the U.S., Turks and Caicos, Canada, Venezuela, Germany and China; completing his journey at home in Haiti at the age of 88. His gift for educating lives on. Dr. Luc Colas is the embodiment of the Le Flambeau Foundation mission – providing youth of Haiti with educational opportunities that prepare them to lead the country’s transition from poverty to prosperity, with dignity. The legacy built by Dr. Luc L. Colas is one that will guide us forward for years to come.