Haitian Studies Association welcomed over 250 scholars

After a quarter century, the contributions made to Haiti's academic patrimony by the Haitian Studies Association have been rightly celebrated by 9 past presidents, 250 current scholars and various organizers, activists, practitioners and researchers in the field at the annual conference held November 7th to 9th.

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Children in school in Boucan Carre

On the occasion, various panels were held covering topics such as history, literature and even Haitian vodou. Speeches were given, including one by Michele Pierre-Louis, former prime minister, and two sessions were held on the work of the late Michel-Rolph Trouillot who was a respected anthropologist.

Vivian Gautier, ninety-six years old, received an award for her contributions to the promotion of Haitian dance for over 70 years. Also awarded were filmmaker Arnold Antonin, playwright and author Franketienne and authors Georges Eddy Lucien and Kate Ramsey.

The association had its start in Boston, as an institute, in 1988 and brought about a space for Haitian scholars to gather that they hadn't had before. They celebrated the association's 25th year with a celebration in Haiti and it was a lucky decision which allowed the practitioners and young scholars in Haiti to attend the ceremony without having to travel.

With 45 panels, hosted in three languages, Creole, English and French, occurring simultaneously, the conference was abuzz with discussions and speeches revolving around the theme, Toward New Narratives for Haiti in 2013 and Beyond. Various contributors spoke about the effects of the earthquake of January 2010 on the association, saying that the devastation to the university system in the country is now making a comeback bigger and better than what it was before.

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