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UAlbany Teach-in on Haiti

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150



Photo by Phyllis Galembo, Three Women Vodou, showing community spirit in Souvenance, Haiti.

Three Women Vodou, Souvenance, Haiti, showing the community spirit that exists. (Photo Phyllis Galembo)

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 1, 2010) -- The University at Albany is presenting a teach-in on Wednesday, Feb. 3, that is designed to offer a more complete portrait of Haiti today than the pictures that have emerged in the wake of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. Four UAlbany faculty members and a Haitian priest will offer their perspectives from 4-6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall on the uptown campus. The program is free and open to the public.

The idea for a teach-in began with Eloise Briere, associate professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (LLC). She teaches French and has led many student trips to Haiti over the years. Briere will be joined by her colleagues, Jean-Francois Briere, professor and chair of LLC, Glyne Griffith, associate professor of English and chair of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies, and Phyllis Galembo, professor of Art.

"The teach-in is an opportunity to begin to make sense of all the reporting on Haiti,” said Briere. “If we pool the knowledge of our faculty, maybe people will begin to get a different picture of Haiti than the one coming through the news reports. Those of us who have worked in Haiti and conducted research there can bring something different to the current perception of Haiti."

Another resource on Haiti is available through the University Libraries.

Damaged buildings in Jacmel, Haiti.

Jacmel, Haiti, severely damaged by the earthquake, is a center of Haitian art. (Photo Andrew Bigosinski, Cine Institute, Jacmel)

The forum will also feature a Haitian priest, Joseph B. Philippe, who was in Haiti when the earthquake occurred. He will share his perception of what happened and what this destruction means for Haiti. Philippe has worked with farmers in the small island nation for 22 years, and organized a farmers' cooperative there.

Galembo has been photographing Haiti since 1993. "The forum is basically a good way for people who have not had any real contact with Haiti to develop an appreciation for its art and culture,” said Galembo. “We want to encourage more dialogue and urge people to volunteer in a variety of ways. Shelter is a very big priority before the rainy season comes. We are also doing a tent drive. Individuals can drop off their tents in room 223 of the Fine Arts building. I have a lot of friends in Haiti and Haiti has been a friend to me. I want to help Haiti in any way I can."

The University at Albany has set up a Haiti relief fund to help victims, as well as an Emergency Student Relief Fund to support UAlbany students adversely affected by the tragedy in Haiti.

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Carol Whittaker
UAlbany Faculty

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