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Bradley Levinson or Julia Sorcinelli
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Indiana University to host forum on Haiti earthquake disaster

Jan. 19, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In response to the tragedy caused by the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, the Indiana University campus and Bloomington community will be conducting a series of events to raise both awareness and funds to benefit the people of Haiti. An initial event is scheduled this Thursday to bring together faculty, staff, students, and community members interested in exploring the causes and consequences of this major natural disaster.

The campus-community forum and call to action, titled "Decoding Disaster: Understanding the Haiti Earthquake of 2010," will take place Jan. 21 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Alumni Hall at Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. The forum aims to provide information and perspective about historical, political, cultural, environmental, and economic realities in Haiti, both pre- and post-earthquake.

earthquake survivor

UN Photo/Logan Abassi

After the presentations, there will be announcements of developing campus and community activities through which the public can help. Presenters are expected to include faculty members, students, and members of the Caribbean community in Bloomington.

"It's critical that we take this opportunity not only to assist in immediate relief efforts for the people of Haiti, but to examine the deeper causes of poverty and suffering in Haiti, and explore possible future solutions," said Bradley Levinson, director of IU's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. "We all know that natural disasters are amplified by human foibles and political machinations. Nowhere is that clearer than in Haiti now."

Panelists include:

  • Bradley Levinson, director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and faculty member, School of Education
  • Patrick O'Meara, IU vice president for international affairs
  • Mark Kruzan, mayor of Bloomington
  • Michael Hamburger, faculty member, Department of Geological Sciences
  • Oana Panaite, faculty member, Department of of French and Italian
  • Matthew Auer, faculty member, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and dean of the Hutton Honors College
  • Beth Gazley, faculty member, School of Public and Environmental Affairs and IU Center on Philanthropy
  • David Tezil, Wideline Seraphin and Solfils Telfort, presenting Haitian and Haitian-American student perspectives

For more information about the forum, and opportunities for student and community groups to host an information table about fundraising or educational activities, please contact the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies at or 812-855-9097.

A special Web site dedicated to serving as a clearinghouse for all related educational and fundraising activities in Bloomington, as well as information about aid to Haiti, is available at