University forms Brown Haiti Crisis Response Committee

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To the Brown community,

Following President Ruth Simmons' call to respond to the Haiti Crisis, we have formed the Brown Haiti Crisis Response Committee, with faculty, students, staff, and administrators. The Committee is coordinating Brown's relief efforts and will make recommendations to the President about future initiatives the University can undertake. We will work with colleagues in Haiti to design ways of raising money that can be immediately applied to address the most urgent needs, and to provide an avenue for all University communications through our website and email . The website provide a list of organizations accepting donations for the Haiti earthquake crisis, and one of the groups, Partners In Health, has a special webpage for Brown community donations.

Brown's efforts will emphasize both short and long term goals. Overall we are guided by the understanding that this natural catastrophe is compounded by the human disaster of centuries of social injustice suffered by the people of Haiti. As a university with a scholarly commitment to the history, culture, and languages of Haiti, and as a university engaged in developing solutions to social challenges around the globe, Brown is already deeply involved in education about Haiti and ready to help rebuild Haiti's educational system.

Our first task is to address immediate needs as dictated by the situation and people in Haiti, especially fundraising and communications. Next, in conjunction with partners in Haiti, we will explore ways to strengthen Brown's enduring commitment to Haiti and Haitian studies, especially in the fields of education (including language), medicine, and community development. In all these initiatives, our goal will be to work with partners in Haiti to contribute to restoring the education sector there.

Working groups

We have formed four committees to carry out these tasks. Students, faculty, and staff, and other members of the Brown community: if you are interested in participating in any of these, please write the main email address and you will be put in touch with a working group directly:



Medical/health/disaster relief

Scholarly Task Force on Haiti

Haiti students, faculty, and staff

To the best of our knowledge, we have accounted for all students, faculty, and staff, and all are safe, though several have family in Haiti and have suffered losses. If you have knowledge of members of the Brown community directly affected by the earthquake, please share information about the support services provided by the relevant office at the University.

Emergency medical teams to Haiti

On 16th January, three members of our medical school faculty left Providence for Haiti: Dr. Stephen Sullivan and Dr. Helena Taylor will work with Partners In Health; Dr. Christopher Born will be with the International Medical Surgical Response Team.

Haiti Now Teach-In

After the semester begins, in addition to the fundraising, website, and medical initiatives, we will hold a Haiti Now Teach-In. Why has this earthquake been so catastrophic for Haiti? Why is Haiti the poorest country in the region? What are the truths and myths about Haiti's history, society, and religions?

Haiti @ Brown, Brown in Haiti

Haiti and Haitian language studies have an important place at Brown. We are one of the few universities outside Haiti to offer two full years of Haitian language (Creole) through Prof. Patrick Sylvain and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Prof. Sylvain has organized a mentoring program between Brown students and Haitian students at Hope High School. Brown will host the Haitian Studies Association annual meetings at Brown in November 2010. The John Carter Brown Library houses the second best collection in the world of materials on colonial Haiti and is digitizing its Haitian materials in partnership with Yelé Haiti. Brown's Alpert Medical School has exchange programs with three medical schools in Haiti.

These collaborations and partnerships make it all the more important for the Brown community to step forward at this time and help Haiti in the short and long term.

Please check this website regularly for updates and information about Haiti Earthquake Response Efforts @ Brown!

Thanks to all for your commitment in responding to Haiti's crisis,

Matthew Gutmann
Vice President for International Affairs
Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Professor of Anthropology

Barrymore Bogues
Harmon Family Professor
Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science