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Notre Dame forum to 're-imagine' Haitian development

June 05, 2012Michael O. Garvey

Haitian children dancing

Church leaders, educators, corporate executives and development policymakers will gather at the University of Notre Dame June 19 and 20 (Tuesday and Wednesday) for a conference to consider strategies by which Haiti’s Catholic school system could advance and strengthen that nation’s social and economic development.

The conference, “Hope in Action: Transforming Haiti Through Catholic Education,” is sponsored by Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Kroc Institute for Peace Studies in partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Congregation of Holy Cross and the Haitian Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education. Its participants will draw on a recently completed comprehensive survey of Haiti’s Catholic education system conducted by Haitian data collectors trained by ACE and CRS. Equipped with iPads, the data collectors for the unprecedented survey visited nearly all the Catholic schools in the country — 2,300 in all — and achieved a 97 percent valid response rate, surpassing response rates typical in similar surveys in developed countries.

“We firmly believe that Catholic schools will serve as a model for national education reform and can catalyze the renewal of Haitian society,” said Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., director of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives. “We hope that this forum will serve as an inflection point for progress in Haiti — an occasion to re-imagine the possibilities for a new Haiti.”

Alliance for Catholic Education

Among proposals under consideration at the forum will be teacher training programs, efforts to develop sustainable revenues for the Haitian Catholic school system, and the introduction of new governance systems for schools and parishes.

Forum participants will hear from an array of speakers committed to Haiti’s development, including Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap-Haïtien; Bishop Chibly Langlois of Les Cayes, president of the Haitian Conference of Catholic Bishops; Patrick Gaston, president and chief executive officer of Gastal Networks; Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services; Michael Gay, chief executive officer of GDG Beton and Construction; Robert Prouty, head of the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Education; Haitian economist Kesner Pharel; Alix Cantave, program officer for Latin America and the Caribbean at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; and Nirvah Jan Jacques, a leading faculty member of Haiti’s state university.

More information on the forum and on ACE initiatives in Haiti is available online.

Contact: T.J. D’Agostino, associate director of ACE, 574-631-9109, Anthony.J.D’Agostino.3@nd.edu

Originally published by Michael O. Garvey at newsinfo.nd.edu on June 05, 2012.

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