Ashland University Symposium to Look at Helping Haiti

2/7/12 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University’s 2011-2012 College of Arts and Sciences Symposium "Against Global Indifference: Awakening to Action" will continue on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Ridenour Room in the Dauch College of Business and Economics with a presentation titled “Helping Haiti from Home: How Local Efforts can Support International Disaster Relief.”


The presentation will be given by Bertin Meance, a Haitian who studied English at Ashland University and now works with a foundation to re-build homes and a school in a small town in Haiti that was devastated by the 2010 earthquake. 


The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Department of Social Work and Multicultural Programming Committee. Licensed social workers can earn 1.5 credits of continuing education by attending this event.


Meance said his presentation will show how contributions from America and other countries can help local people re-build their homes and lives without going through the bureaucratic processes to get aid.


“My presentation will highlight how a remote community such as Lafond received support. I will talk about how my old classmates from Ohio and Vermont quickly raised support and allowed the community school I support to reopen, even before the schools in the cities,” he said. 


Meance also will discuss the lessons that can be learned by the changes that have happened in Lafond following the earthquake and his hypothesis that relief resources should play two purposes at the same time -- alleviating suffering but also contributing to long term development.


Meance first came to Ashland as an exchange student sponsored by USAID. After earning his degree, he returned to Haiti and taught English in his local high school before going back to the School for International Training where he earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies.  He went back to Haiti and worked for non-government organizations such as World Neighbors and Catholic Relief Services for more than 10 years. Currently, he is working for HelpAge International, a London based organization working for and with older people.


Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

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