Apr 12, 2013 07:00 PM
The event is free and open to the public. To register for the conference, to view the event via live stream, and to find additional information, please visit the conference website http://sites.fhi.duke.edu/humanitarianisminhaiti/.
the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University will bring together high-profile government officials, donors, grassroots activists, legal advocates, and international NGO workers to assess delivery of relief and development efforts in the Caribbean nation. Among the panelists are former Haitian Prime Minister Michèle Pierre-Louis; Nancy Dorsinville, Senior Policy Officer of the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti; Brian Concannon, director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti; and Jonathan Katz, award-winning author of The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster. This event is the culmination of a joint Duke-NCCU course called “Humanities in Humanitarianism: The Haiti Project,” which has analyzed the structure, coordination, and delivery of international aid to Haiti.
Three years after a devastating earthquake killed an estimated 300,000 and displaced 1.5 million Haitians from their homes, the humanitarian and development effort continues to grapple with how best to deliver aid while contending with issues of transparency, efficacy, and coordination between local, international, and government actors. Meanwhile critics of the aid effort point to examples of lack of accountability and local involvement in planning and implementation. The cholera epidemic introduced by UN soldiers in 2010 has killed nearly eight thousand Haitians and infected half a million more, further exacerbating tensions around these issues.
The conference will feature two panels per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They will be conversational in style with ample opportunity for audience engagement. Issues that the participants will address include: donor politics, grassroots capacity building, and public health, among other topics. Krèyol, English, and French will be represented at the event. Discussions will be livestreamed through the conference website, and questions can be sent via twitter with the hashtag haitiproject.
“Humanities in Humanitarianism: the Haiti Project” developed from a Humanities Writ Large fellowship intended to foster greater collaboration between NCCU and Duke University. Over the course of the year the students have explored together the stakes involved in international aid efforts. For NCCU senior Langston Harris, the cholera epidemic has sharpened his awareness of the complexity of aid interventions. Harris says, “the UN’s response to the outbreak demonstrates that in spite of good intentions, humanitarian interventions sometimes hurt the people they intended to help.” Professor Joshua Nadel believes the inter-institutional course offered through the Franklin Humanities Institute offers an “interdisciplinary academic foundation necessary to effectively moderate dialogue between Haitians and the international aid community.”
Humanitarianism in Haiti: Vision and Practice is sponsored by the Duke Humanities Writ Large initiative, the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Duke Haiti Lab, the Department of History at North Carolina Central University and the Bank of America Foundation