from the visit to CERLAC of Prof. Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

including the March 3 reception & Baptista Essay Prize ceremony and the March 4 Michael Baptista Lecture

(scroll down for more information on the March 4, 2010 Michael Baptista Lecture, delivered by Prof. Bellegarde-Smith)

Jose Zelaya, Patrick Taylor, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, Andrea Davis, Wail Qattan

Michele Johnson, Vermonja Alston, Danielle Robinson, Eduardo Canel

Jose Zelaya, Sharon Baptista, Patrick Taylor

Eduardo Canel

Baptista Essay Prize-winner (undergraduate 2009) Emmanuelle Fick & Sharon Baptista


Baptista esaay prizewinners Emmanuelle Fick (undergraduate 2009), Laurence Robitaille (graduate 2009) and Nicholas Balaisis (graduate 2008) flanking Sharon Baptista

Wail Qattan

Abubacar Fofana

Andrea Davis & Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

Eduardo Canel & Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

Alissa Trotz & Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

Patrick squared

Jude Ulysse, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith & Melanie Newton


Thanks to our additional co-sponsors: Office of the Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity, University of Toronto and The Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office, University of Toronto

More information about the March 3 lecture at York University is available here.

More information about the Michael Baptista Lectures is available here.

About the lecture (speaker's statement):

'Apocalypse' is not too strong of a word for the event that took place in Port-au-Prince, on January 12, 2010 at 4:53 in the afternoon. One third of the citizenry was affected, and Haitians will have to live with the aftershocks till the middle of the 21st century. "Apocalyptic" is usually the word applied to the entire thrust of Haitian history by reporters and pundits with scant knowledge of Haitian history and culture. It is high time that North Americans learn about a society to which they are intimately linked for ill and good. Proximity has not made for good neighbors. Haitians take solace about the auspicious coming together of the 'stars,' President Obama and Governor-General Michaelle Jean, and the hundreds of thousands of Haitians now Canadian or American citizens, that augurs well for a different historical course between our three nations. What can we now expect? what will transpire in the foreseable future?

About the lecturer

Patrick Bellegarde-Smith has a PhD in international relations and comparative politics, but he is most proud of his status as a 'oungan asogwe,' the highest ranking that one can achieve as a priest of Vodou, Haiti's national religion. Transcending religion to become spiritual discipline and worldview, Vodou has impacted all systems and fields in Haitian culture, playing a similar role as Shinto in Japan, Hinduism in India, and Judaism in Israel. Besides key books on Haitian history and social philosophy, Bellegarde-Smith has edited or co-edited a series of volumes on Vodou, Cuban Santeria, and Brazilian Candomble and Umbanda. Several of these books have seen translation into Spanish, Portuguese, and French. He is the grandson of Dantès Bellegarde, Haiti's foremost diplomat of the 20th century, and one of two major philosophers, with Jean Price-Mars, in the country.

Prof. Bellegarde-Smith in his liturgical vestments, with two young women being intronized as "manbos," or female priests.

INTERVIEWS with Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS of Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

  • Invisible Powers: Vodou and Development in Haiti (Co-editor with Claudine Michel) (2006)
  • Haitian Vodou: Spirit, Myth, and Reality (Co-editor with Claudine Michel) (2006)
  • Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World (Editor) (2005)
  • Haiti: The Breached Citadel (1990) (Second Edition 2004)

    On Haiti: The Breached Citadel: "The updated edition of this perceptive study could hardly appear at a more auspicious moment, as the latest phase of the tragedy of Haiti is unfolding. It brilliantly illuminates the rich tapestry of Haitian culture and reveals the remarkable resilience of the Haitian people, subjected to centuries of rapacity and violence and brutally punished for revealing "the limited definition of freedom adopted by the French and American revolutions," in the author's accurate words. As he relates, they have continued to teach such lessons to this day, frightening the rich and powerful in their own tortured land and at the centres of global rule. It is our great loss if we choose not to understand, and there is no better starting point than this learned and penetrating inquiry." -- Noam Chomsky

  • In the Shadow of Powers: Dantès Bellegarde in Haitian Social Thought (1985; second edition 2009)



About the Haitian Art Exhibit/Auction:

Arte Del Pueblo will exhibit Haitian paintings from the most prominent collections in North America, including the provenance of the Oscar-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme and that of Dr. Halvor and Astrid Jaeger of Montréal.

See this link for more information and images.

About the fundraising beneficiary:

About IBBY Haiti and its director, Jocelyne Trouillot:

Read a letter that IBBY Haiti has sent to UNICEF requesting support for the program. It describes their plans in more detail, as well as the sources of their support, which include Haitians in the diaspora. Note that all labour involved in IBBY Haiti is voluntary--funds raised go entirely to training volunteers to provide bibliotherapy and to printing books in Creole to be used in bibliotherapy.

As a non-governmental organization with an official status in UNESCO and UNICEF, IBBY has a policy-making role as an advocate of children's books. IBBY is committed to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the United Nations in 1990. One of its main proclamations is the right of the child to a general education and to direct access to information. Thanks to IBBY’s insistence, the resolution includes an appeal to all nations to promote the production and distribution of children's books.

IBBY Haiti director Jocelyne Trouillot is a well-known children's author, who writes in both Creole and French under the name Joslin Twouyo. She is also the Rectrice of the Universite Caraibes, and the author of L'histoire de l'education en Haiti (Universite Caraibes 2003). Other IBBY Haiti members include Haitian authors, translators, illustrators, and teachers active in the areas of children's literature and children's literacy.

Googling either "IBBY Haiti" or "Jocelyne Trouillot" will also provide abundant further information about this organization and its very well-respected, both in Haiti and internationally, director.

Recommended readings & resources

HAITI ECONOMICS EXPLAINED - Al-Jazeera (video): Just weeks after the earthquake that took more than 200,000 lives, Avi Lewis finds that debates over how to rebuild Haiti are already underway.

The Haitian Timeline: A History of Military Dictatorship and Civil Rule

Cuba's aid ignored by the media?

The Kidnapping of Haiti (John Pilger)

Haiti: Grasses of Ginen (Beverly Bell)