Conference series examines challenges of rebuilding Haiti
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A four-part public speaker series on rebuilding Haiti begins Monday at the University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Caleb and Michele Grimes Conference on Liberal Arts and Public Affairs will address how Haitiâ€™s unique historical, geographic, and social features have shaped current crises in the country.
â€śHaitiâ€™s Challenges: Rebuilding Lives and Nation in the Earthquakeâ€™s Aftermathâ€ť will explore Haitiâ€™s complex historical legacy and examine various strategies by individuals and groups to build sustainable recovery efforts and improve Haitiâ€™s future. Speakers will examine Haitiâ€™s contentious past and severe environmental threats such as deforestation. They will also look at the political, health, and educational issues that affect how the people of Haiti, nongovernmental organizations, and foreign governments lending aid to Haiti are coping with the effects of the earthquake in a land already facing monumental challenges. Details of these events follow:
Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m., Ustler Atrium, University of Florida
â€śWhy Is Haiti So Poor?â€ť
David Geggus, history professor, University of Florida
Haiti was the Caribbeanâ€™s first independent state and the first American nation to abolish slavery, but how many of its current problems can be traced to its colonial and revolutionary past? This talk will give historical background to the countryâ€™s present crisis.
Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m., Ustler Atrium, University of Florida
â€śThe Anthropology of Survival in Post-Earthquake Haiti: Institutional Predators, Individual Maneuverâ€ť
Gerald Murray, anthropology professor, University of Florida
The Haitian earthquake of January 2010 exacerbated the already stressful economic and social conditions in Haiti. This talk will examine the realities of rebuilding Haiti amidst an environment of corruption and rhetoric.
March 1, 7:30 p.m., Smathers Library Room 1A, University of Florida
â€śHaiti: Public Health and Structural Changeâ€ť
Louise Ivers, chief of mission, Partners in Health in Haiti, and Harvard Medical School
Structural issues related to food and water security affect the ability of government and other agencies to provide sound public health interventions. This talk will examine work by Partners in Health to build sustainable mechanisms for health promotion in Haiti.
March 17, 7 to 9 p.m., Smathers Library, Room 1A
â€śTwo-Part Panel Discussion: The Role of Haitian Creole in the School System of Post-Earthquake Haitiâ€ť
Michel DeGraff, MIT
Flore ZĂ©phir, University of Missouri-Columbia
Instruction in the Haitian school system is largely conducted in French, a language that excludes almost 90 percent of the population. In the post-earthquake efforts to rebuild Haiti, this talk will advocate reform in the school system, particular to create instruction in Haitian Creole. Moderated by Benjamin Hebblethwaite, UF.
Due to the high level of expertise in Haiti among UF faculty and students, the Grimes Series lectures will be affiliated with a number of additional cultural and speaker events co-organized with Gators United for Haiti.
Jan. 11, 7 p.m., Reitz Student Union Auditorium, University of Florida
Screening of the documentary â€śBound by Haiti.â€ť
Followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers, Jon Bougher and Roman Saufiullin.
Jan. 13, 4:30 p.m., Reitz Student Union Room 286
Panel Discussion: â€śRebuilding Haiti: Perspectives from the Field,â€ť with audience Q&A.
A panel of UF faculty working in Haiti from five colleges will speak about the challenges of conducting sustainable interventions and how individuals and groups can make difference.
In addition, two art exhibitions will offer additional perspectives on Haiti. The Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere will be displaying the photographic exhibition â€śAyiti: Forces of Nature, Forces of Life,â€ť curated by Natalia Marques da Silva, until May 1 in 200 Walker Hall. The Harn Museum of Art will display art related to the Yoruba deity Shango, with objects from Africa and Haiti, in the exhibition â€śA Sense of Place: African Interiors,â€ť Richardson Gallery, from Jan. 21.
All events are free and open to all. For more information, visit http://www.humanities.ufl.edu/.
This fall series is sponsored by Caleb and Michele Grimes Fund (in the CLAS Deanâ€™s Office) and organized by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere.
- Bonnie Effros, email@example.com, 352-392-0796