Faculty to discuss challenges in helping Haiti

Andrew Kane and Bernard Okech are EPI-affiliate faculty.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A panel of University of Florida faculty working in Haiti will discuss the obstacles to rebuilding the country at 4:30 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 13) in Reitz Student Union Room 286.

“Rebuilding Haiti: Perspectives from the Field” will address the issues involved in relief efforts since the 2010 earthquake and sustainable development from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Andrew Kane, College of Public Health and Health Professions, will speak about projects to build fisheries in Haiti, and the human impacts of environmental pollution.

Michael Bannister, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will present the massive problems of deforestation in Haiti and his past work on reforestation and food production.

William Tilson, College of Design, Construction and Planning, will showcase developments in low-cost sustainable architecture to aid displaced families.

Ben Hebblethwaite, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will discuss the linguistic and educational challenges of aiding the population.

Bernard Okech, Emerging Pathogens Institute, will describe his work building malaria clinics and community networks for mosquito surveillance.

Timothy Townsend, College of Engineering, will speak about ongoing efforts to create waste management systems.

The discussion will be moderated by Marilyn Swisher of the department of family, youth and community sciences.

The panel will also discuss how individuals and groups can realistically make a difference in Haiti.

This panel is organized by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere and Gators United for Haiti, and is part of a semester of activities at UF to mark the anniversary of the earthquake.

The panel is offered in conjunction with the 2011 Caleb and Michele Grimes Conference on Liberal Arts and Public Affairs, a four-part public speaker series on rebuilding Haiti at UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Haiti’s Challenges: Rebuilding Lives and Nation in the Earthquake’s Aftermath” will draw attention to Haiti’s unique features, and explore how its complex historical legacy contributes to recovery efforts and Haiti’s future. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visithttp://www.humanities.ufl.edu/.

This panel is also part of a week of free public events organized by Gators United for Haiti through Saturday to raise money to aid Haiti. For more information, visit www.gatorsunitedforhaiti.org.