Global Affairs Table on Haiti 9 months after quake

Brandeisians who have worked there will discuss their experiences

The first Global Affairs Table for Fall 2010 will focus on Haiti, and on some of the many issues facing Haitian society nine months after the devastating earthquake.

Members of the Brandeis community directly involved with relief and construction work in Haiti will share their perspectives on a range of issues; in addition to reviewing the current situation, there will be discussion of how Brandeis has been, and could continue to be, involved in the country.

The event will take place Wednesday, Oct. 13, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Alumni Lounge, Usdan. Lunch is free but seating is limited and reservations, which may be made on-line, are required.

Among those leading the discussion will be:

  • Napoleon Lherisson, a senior who is a member of the Brandeis Haiti Relief Efforts steering committee. Lherisson is a Haitian-American who visited Haiti for the first time this summer.
  • Professor Jane Hale, who teaches French 165, "Haiti: Then and Now." Hale directs the family literacy project Famni Ki Li Ansamn -- Haitian Creole for “Families Reading Together" -- in which a number of Brandeis students are involved.
  • Supreetha Gubbala, a Brandeis junior who, during the summer of 2010, worked for one month in an emergency medical relief camp in the district of Delmas, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The Global Affairs Lunch Table was established in the spring of 2008, with the help of a start-up grant from the Office of Global Affairs. Its mission is to share insights and encourage thoughtful dialogue on important current events and issues in global affairs at monthly round-table discussions.

The project has grown since its founding, and receives funding from multiple campus sources, including the Student Union, the Wien Programming Fund and academic departments. The audience of participants has grown too, to include undergraduates, graduates, faculty, staff, and members of the wider Waltham community. The Wien International Scholars, international students who attend Brandeis through the generosity of founding trustee Lawrence Wien and his family, now oversee the project and organize the events.

Discussion is led by students who present opinions, insights and experiences relevant to the nation being discussed. Faculty members with related interests are always in attendance, but a lecture-environment is consciously avoided. Attendance is capped at 30 to foster an intimate and interactive experience in which participation is strongly encouraged. Prior to each event, articles and talking points are circulated via the online sign-up list to provide context, and to help people prepare for the discussion.

Some of the themes of past round-tables have been land reform in Zimbabwe; the state of Russian democracy; the US-Pakistani relationship in the wake of the Afghan war; Iceland’s financial collapse; the Turkish-Armenian conflict and democratic and developmental capacity building in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and post-civil-war Liberia.

The Global Affairs Table operates an e-mail list  through which information on upcoming tables is publicized.  For questions about the project, email Benjamin Gorelick.

Categories: International Affairs, Student Life

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