The first Haitian woman to be inducted into France’s Légion d’honneur, the highest French order of merit, Sylvie died of cardiac failure in San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 7, 2023.

Born Sylvie Tourdot July 24, 1942, in Troyes, France, she moved to Haiti with her parents during World War II.  She married Jacques Wadestrandt, a Haitian Harvard graduate who died during an attempted coup of dictator François Duvalier’s government. 

Sylvie later married Haitian political activist Jean-Claude Bajeux *77. The two entered Princeton Graduate School, and Sylvie earned an M.A. in architecture and urban planning in 1979. After Princeton, the couple moved to San Juan, where they worked to free Haiti from despotism and to defend the rights of Haitians abroad. Returning to Haiti, they founded the Centre œcuménique des droits humains (CEDH), one of Haiti’s most important human rights organizations. They were targets of violence and an assassination attempt.

When Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in February 2004, Sylvie served as an investigator on the Commission d’Enquête Administrative (CEA), tasked with investigating the Aristide government’s corruption and theft of public funds. After Jean-Claude’s death in 2011, Sylvie continued her political and human rights efforts.  

Sylvie is survived by her son, Jacques Wadestrandt. 

Graduate alumni memorials are prepared by the APGA.

Graduate Class of 1979