Universities joined for Haiti

  • e-Toile : Dr. Rahier, you are participating in the symposium entitled "Haiti Initiatives". Can you introduce us to this event?

JPEGDr. Rahier: On February 19, 2011, a year after the earthquake, the Cultural Service of the Embassy of Haiti in France and the Franco-Haitian associations, organized at La Villette in Paris, «Haiti: Initiatives», a day of meetings with Haitian project heads, held in three round tables: culture / media, agriculture / fishing and education.

A dozen Haitian officials were, thus, allowed to present and discuss their activities and express their expectations of the Haitian community in Europe, NGOs, and French and international institutions. The objective of this symposium was to facilitate a dialogue between the various institutions as well as to develop a networking frame and streamline more effectively the relationship between Haitians living within the country and those living abroad. In fact, an invitation was extended in 2012 in Miami at the Little Haiti Cultural Center by the director of the foundation Alliance, who was present at the round table.

This year, the France team will be united with the African and African Diaspora Studies Program, the Latin American and Carribean Center at FIU (Florida International University), and the HCCA (Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance) to organize the second edition of «Haiti: Initiatives 2/ Global University and «Haiti: An Account: Visions and Reality», Friday and Saturday 18 and 19, May 2012. This year, the symposium will focus on the efficient actions, in Haiti, supported by the American, Canadian and European universities, in the following arenas: universitary cooperation, environment, health, information and technology, diaspora and culture.

  • e-Toile : What goals would you like to achieve with this conference?

Dr. Rahier: The objective of these roundtables is to link and communicate about these different programs, with the project managers of North American university departments and their counterparts in the field in an attempt to inventory the various projects in Haiti . These dialogues could build bridges between the different universities working in similar areas.

  • e-Toile: Can you tell us more about universitary cooperation projects between France,Haiti and Florida?

Dr. Rahier: We hope with this symposium to create the space necessary for free flowing dialogue and improved coordination of the different projects directed by the universities coming from France, the United States and Haiti.

Each one of these roundtables is specifically designed to encourage future collaborations between these projects.

  • e-Toile: You are an expert, amongst other topics, on the Haitian diaspora. What are the characteristics of the Haitian community in Florida?

Dr. Rahier: I work primarily on Afro-Ecuadorians. On the other hand, as the director of the African and African Diaspora Studies at FIU, I collaborate closely with Haitians and also make sure to support the research of the doctorats who focus on the haitian diaspora among others.

Currently, my student Mamyrah A. Dougé-Prosper, moderator of the "Environment" roundtable on Saturday, May 19, is preparing to begin his fieldwork in Haiti.

The following information was written by Mr. Dougé-Prosper:

There are several Haitian communities throughout Florida. The characteristics which distinguish the Haitians of North Florida are not necessarily similar to those of the South. Different periods of migration have created a Haitian diaspora with quite diverse interests and concerns.

In Miami-Dade County, there are two to three large and visible Haitian communities: Kendall, Little Haiti / North Miami. Haitians in Kendall in their majority come from the advantaged socio-economic strata of the capital Port-au-Prince and who continue to enjoy this comfort here in Miami. In contrast, Haitians in Little Haiti come from the somewhat less westernized regions of Northern Haiti which are more vulnerable to poverty, particularly in Port de Paix.

These communities separated by geographical distance sometimes come together not o nly in collaboration but in competition as well, vis-à-vis Haiti.

Traditionally, residents of Little Haiti have openly expressed their support for Aristide while those of Kendall strongly opposed any deployment of support of the Haitian Diaspora to the former president. Additionally, Little Haiti acts as a cultural and political center for all Haitian communities in Florida.

In addition to the Little Haitian Cultural Center in the middle of the city of Miami, restaurants, churches, shops, boutiques, bookstores, colonnades, etc.. are clearly identified by signs written in Creole. Similarly, Little Haiti is populated by civil and political organizations that advocate the rights of Haitians in Miami.

Viernes 18 y sabado 19 de mayo
Haitian Cultural Center
212 Northeast 59th Terrace Miami, FL 33137
Tel : (305) 960-2969

Last modified on 10/05/2012

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