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Starr Forum: Rebuilding Haiti
Speakers: Cherie Miot Abbanat, Michel DeGraff, Erica James, & Dale Joachim

Rebuilding Haiti

This event is free and open to the public..

Event Details

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

4PM - 5:30 PM
Bartos Theater, Media Lab (E15), 20 Ames Street, Cambridge (Map)


Maria Balinska

Cherie Miot Abbanat is a lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Department of Architecture, and co-chair of DUSPís Undergraduate Committee. She specializes in cities, technical policies, and planning issues. Prior to MIT, she worked in the regulatory policy field and later as a senior consultant to state, federal and international policy makers. In response to the Haiti earthquake and because she is a Haitian American, she co-founded a non-profit, Hearts and Hands to Haiti, that utilizes networks already on the ground in Haiti to help deliver food and medical supplies to aid workers. Hearts and Hands to Haiti has delivered two tons of food and medical supplies to medical teams in three locations.

Susan Glasser

Michel DeGraff, a native of Haiti, is associate professor of linguistics at MIT. His research focuses on the grammars of Creole languages, Haitian Creole in particular, and how all languages change over time through the mental mechanisms whereby children and adult learn languages. Some of DeGraff's recent writings militate against the widespread practice in Haiti to teach and test students mostly in French, when the general population speaks only Haitian Creole (Haiti's national language). This practice is at the root of the miserable failure of Haiti's traditional school system vis-ŗ-vis the general population.

Jason Pontin

Erica James is associate professor of anthropology at MIT. Her research interests focus on medical and psychiatric anthropology, gender and violence, religion and healing, and issues of race, human rights, and the ethics and politics of democratization projects. One of her projects involves examining US foreign policy toward Haitian refugees as an index of the changing nexus of global concerns for sovereignty, security, and liberty. Her forthcoming book, Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti, will be published in May 2010 by the University of California Press.

Jason Pontin

Dale Joachim is a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab, where he currently co-teaches the special project class New Media Projects for Haiti. He headed the Media Lab's Ecology Media research group in exploring new roles sensor networks might play in enhancing human interactions with natural environments. He has taught computer architecture and speech-processing courses at Tulane University while pursuing research in set-membership filtering theory, sound classification, and spatial tracking. Prior to Tulane, he was principal investigator of speech keyword spotting and unattended distributed sensors R&D projects at Sanders/Lockheed Martin, as well as lead hardware design engineer of PC subsystems at Zenith Data Systems. Joachim earned his PhD in electrical engineering at Michigan State University.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology