Photograph by Justin Knight

The 22-member Howard delegation arrived to Haiti and had their first lesson in diplomacy and development shortly after disembarking the sold out American Airlines flight from Miami to Port-au-Prince.

Rev. Marcia Dyson, a loyal Howard supporter, traveled with ASB Haiti volunteers from Washington. Dyson told actor and advocate Sean Penn, who was also on the outbound flight from Miami, about the work Howard students were doing in Haiti. Yes, the meeting was solidified from 30,000 ft! When we landed, the group was shuttled to a private reception area to meet with Ambassador Penn.

Penn greeted students and encouraged their commitment and dedication to help Haiti.

The noted American actor and humanitarian was named Ambassador at Large earlier this month by Haitian Prime Minister Michel Martelly to honor Penn’s work to improve and shed light on conditions in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.

“Congratulations on your work Mr. Penn,” said Saidat Ilo, a second year doctoral student in Political Science. The gracious Penn expressed his gratitude and emphasized that there was more work to be done.

There was lot of excitement about the impromptu meeting.

Kerry-Ann Hamilton, director of strategic communications and marketing, is traveling with Howard University volunteers on their service mission to Haiti. The blog “Howard Brings Hope to Haiti” chronicles the travels and work of nearly two dozen students, faculty and staff during Alternative Spring Break 2012.