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Book Review: Farewell, Fred Voodoo

  • Posted on: 20 January 2013
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Amy Wilentz understands Haitian culture, history, and language as few other foreigners do.  This, combined with candor about her own biases and emotions, makes her a compelling writer about a country where nothing is black and white.  Like many of us, she seeks redemption of a sort through Haiti.  Throughout her most recent book, "Farewell, Fred Vodoo", she emphasizes that Haitian perspectives are the best ways to understand the reality of post-earthquake Haiti.  Below is a review by Hector Tobar of the LA Times.  More information about the book and upcoming readings are available on Amy Wilentz's website

Book Review: The Big Truck Went By - How the World Came to Save Haiti And Left Behind a Disaster

  • Posted on: 20 January 2013
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is a review, from Reason, of Jonathan Katz's book on the shortcomings of the international community's efforts to "save" Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.  While no response to the aftermath earthquake, no matter how well-organized or well-resourced would have been sufficient, he emphasizes that the subsequent reconstruction effort was hobbled by a top-down approach that excluded governmental institution, weak as they may have been, local firms, and community groups.  To read an excerpt or purchase the book, take a look at  Amazon.  

Plans to Rebuild Catholic and Episcopalian Cathedrals Take Shape

  • Posted on: 20 December 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The Catholic and Episcopalian cathedrals were two prominent landmarks in Port-au-Prince prior to their destruction in the earthquake.  Plans are now underway for the reconstruction of each.  A Puerto Rican team has won an international design competition to rebuild the Catholic Cathedral.  The Episcopalian cathedral will be rebuilt by a Virginia-based firm. Each will be built back better, able to withstand hurricanes and earthquakes.  Learn more at the websites of the Catholic and Episcopalian Cathedrals.  Full Miami Herald article below.

Haiti to Address Broken Adoption System

  • Posted on: 2 December 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Adoption can be controversial.  In the case of Haiti, many orphanges are poorly managed and with little oversight.  Major challenges are a lack of livelihoods and access to family planning information and commodities.  Many children in orphanages are not really orphans as they have parents - albeit parents that could not afford them.  Trention Daniel notes Haiti is in the process of updating its adoption laws for the first time in 40 years.  This would being Haiti's adoption practices closer to international standards. 

Lessons From the Storm: What Haiti Can Teach Us

  • Posted on: 30 October 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Given the extent of internal displacement in Port-au- Prince and environmental degradation beyond, Haiti remains vulnerable to flooding.  You can see the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in this Washington Post video clip.  There will be much reporting in the days ahead about the loss of lives, homes, and livelihoods.  Drawing on his experience living through the earthquake and reflecting upong Hurricane Sandy's impact, Jonathan Katz takes a moment to remind us of Haitian resilience and solidarity, qualities we can learn from. 

The Dominican Dream Turned Nightmare for Haitian Migrants

  • Posted on: 18 October 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Equal Times has produced a compelling report on the abuse of Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic.  It is concise, features remarkable photography and raises important issues such as the extent to which Dominican employers and law enforcement collude with traffickers.  Preventing and responding to abuses is necessary for developing a bilateral relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic based on mutual respect.

Muhammad Yunus Announces Funding for Social Businesses in Haiti

  • Posted on: 15 October 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Nobel peace laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank Mohammad Yunus announced on Saturday that his development group will finance several social business projects in Haiti. These include two poultry farms, a plantation of jatropha plants (which can be used for biodiesel), a bakery, and a tilapia fish farm. The full announcement follows.

Displacement and Development in the Republic of NGOs (Megan Bradley)

  • Posted on: 12 October 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is a blog by Brookings Institution Fellow Megan Bradley concerning her most recent trip to Haiti.  She reminds us that even now 369,000 Haitians remain displaced.  Finding durable solutions for their plight is a critical element of Haiti's ongoing recovery and long-term development.  While NGOs can help, doing so requires, above all, a stronger Haitian state. 

Book Preview: Three Goals – My Peace Corps Experience in Haiti (Mason Robbins)

  • Posted on: 29 August 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Mason Robbins is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in the Grande Anse region of Haiti from 1999-2001.  He lives in Cary, North Carolina and works as a Regulatory Affairs Specialist for a medical device manufacturer.  In his spare time, he wrote a book about his Peace Corps experience in Haiti and will be self-publishing it, with all proceeds going to Haiti-related charitable causes.  Below are some initial excerpts.  We will post regular updates on the status of his book.  In the meantime, feel free to reach out to him at masomail@yahoo.com for more information.

Toward a Post MINUSTAH Haiti

  • Posted on: 2 August 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Since 2004, MINUSTAH has played a central but controversial role in maintaining stability in Haiti.   However, MINUSTAH should not and is not going to be in Haiti forever.  The International Crisis Group (ICG) describes steps that can prepare Haitian authorities for when they are fully in the lead without MINUSTAH support.  Key to this effort will be doubling the number of police, with adequate vetting and training, so greater responsibility can be transferred to them over time.  Until then, all plans for reconstituting the army should be tabled.  A summary follows below.

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