Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Peru, Oman and Jordan are just a few of the countries Belmont F. Haydel has worked in as an economist and diplomat. The retired U.S. Army major says he supports Amistad Research Center because it goes hand in hand with advancing U.S. cultures, as he believes Amistad offers multiple versions of people’s activities.
Determined to follow his interest in Spanish and Latin America, Dr. Haydel attended La Universidad de México in 1948, was graduated from Xavier University Preparatory School in New Orleans, 1949, and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Loyola University of Chicago. In 1962, he received a master’s degree in Finance and his Ph.D., conducted jointly by North Texas State University (Denton, TX) and New York University, in Organization Theory and International Business Administration (major in economics from NYU). He served two years on active duty in the U.S. Army as an Infantry officer and 18 years in the reserves, retiring as a major.
Dr. Haydel was appointed by Presidents Kennedy in 1963 and Johnson in 1964 as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer (Diplomat) in economics, commerce, and protocol in Brazil and Argentina. Later, he returned home to New Orleans to work as an accountant in the family business, Haydel’s Flower Shoppe. Later, he served as a Peace Corps adviser and economic consultant in Paraguay.
He was awarded two Fulbright Awards in economics at National Universities in Amman, Jordan and in Uruguay, and is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and his native English, with a familiarity in Arabic, French and Latin.
Dr. Haydel does not remember when he became aware of Amistad Research Center, but he found it is an excellent repository for his literary works, including multiple professional articles he authored ranging from international economics and family Creole ancestral history. His works are also archived in other institutions.
“It is my intention that the Center’s collections benefit students who are interested in African American and Louisiana Creoles,” he says from his suburban home northwest of Philadelphia.
He notes that his cousin, Sybil Haydel Morial, a retired Xavier University dean and educator; her husband, Ernest “Dutch” Morial, New Orleans’ first African American mayor; and their son, Marc Morial, who is now president of the National Urban League, have done “marvelous” things in Louisiana and on the national stage. Now retired Lt. General Russel Honoré, who coordinated relief efforts in New Orleans after the 2005 hurricanes, is another cousin from his paternal grandmother’s Honoré ancestry.
Dr. Haydel retired in 1994, as professor emeritus of business administration at Rider University, New Jersey. He has authored three books: A Rendezvous with My Professional Destiny - Making a Difference (auto-biography); The Victor Haydel Creole Family -- Beginnings and Early Descendants; and Discovering Our Ancestral Roots: Chessé and Honoré Families, co-authored with Gina Greenlee. He is currently preparing another book, tentatively entitled “Passport to Manhood,” which offers guidance and inspiration to men, ranging from ages 21 and older. He has mentored numerous well-known men in Latin America, including Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua today. He continues his engagement with men who are developing from his experience and knowledge.
Not only has Dr. Haydel donated his papers to the Amistad Research Center, but he provides financial contributions to help support the Center’s collections and activities. “It may not be as much as I’d like, but whenever I can help, I like to,” he says. Dr. Haydel has been an inspired supporter of Amistad for close to six years, contributing both to the Center’s holdings and to its financial well-being. Moreover, he regularly calls to check in with staff about Amistad’s needs and its future plans. “I always like to hear about what is going on, and hope to visit again in the future,” he says.
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