Students in Haiti

In June 2015, three UCSB faculty members, five UCSB undergraduate students, three UCSB graduate students, and two videographers embarked on a field research trip to Haiti as part of the Carrefour-Feuilles Neighborhood Redevelopment Project (CNRP), spearheaded by Dr. Nadège T. Clitandre, CBSR Haitian Studies Coordinator and Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Studies. A grant from the Orfalea Center Cluster Initiative awarded to Professor Clitandre in 2013 provided initial funding to investigate the short-term and long-term development prospects in the earthquake-devastated Haitian community of Carrefour-Feuilles, located in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

The project brought UCSB scholars and students together with Haitian faculty and students, community leaders and residents, grassroots organizations, and international nongovernmental organizations working in Carrefour-Feuilles to evaluate community needs and UCSB’s contribution to community development. The trip also offered an opportunity for faculty and students to explore social, cultural, and economic nuances relative to questions of global development, and to assess the gap between local grassroots community initiatives and international development efforts.

The undergraduate students—Ashley Baker, Mariah Boyd, Andrew Neiman, Sean Tanabe, and Unique Vance—all enrolled in one of Clitandre’s Haitian studies courses and completed a research paper prior to the trip. Andrew Neiman’s research paper was published in The Global Societies Journal. The graduate students—Nikita Carney, Jamella Gow, and Nathalie Pierre—are all doing Haitian studies research, as are faculty Claudine Michel and Nadège T. Clitandre. All participants met as a collective over two years to organize this research project and fieldwork trip. The trip further succeeded at elevating the international dimensions of civic engagement and solidifying the transformative aspects of research. A coauthored article based on the trip was published in the Spring 2015 issue of the Journal of Haitian Studies.

The project builds on the CBSR’s ongoing relationship with Bibliothèque du Soleil, a community library located in Carrefour-Feuilles, and a partnership between the CBSR and the UCSB Department of Global Studies. Aimed at promoting intercultural exchange and transformative learning outside the classroom, the Carrefour-Feuilles Neighborhood Redevelopment project stresses the significance of local participation and grassroots organizations in community-building efforts and global civic engagement activities.