Children, Families, and Disaster in Haiti:
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Immediate and
Long-term Responses to Catastrophic Events

IHDSC's 4th annual conference was held on February 16, 2011. This invitation-only research conference was organized by the IHDSC Haiti Working Group, an interdisciplinary and interuniversity group of researchers committed to working in Haiti. We focused the discussion on the response to catastrophic events in fragile communities, specifically the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, and how children and families have been impacted. Guided by an interdisciplinary approach, we sought a collaborative effort among scholars of various disciplines to explore how to help best protect the most vulnerable populations by advancing knowledge on how to respond to future natural disasters.

Press release

Rosenthal Pavilion, NYU Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South


8:45 Welcome: Cybele Raver -Director, Institute of Human Development and Social Change, NYU

8:50-9:10 Opening Remarks: Beth Weitzman - Dean Faculty and Student Affairs, Steinhardt

9:10- 9:30 Keynote: Gary Belkin - NYU School of Medicine

9:30- 10:50 - PANEL 1: Protecting Women and Children in Disaster Contexts

Leading Questions: What are the most pressing and contentious issues around mental health and child protection in post-disaster contexts? What are the research gaps in mental health and child protection in post-disaster contexts?

9:30-10:00 Speaker 1: Mark Schuller - York College/CUNY, Dept. of Social Sciences
"Pawol Fanm: Multiple Narratives and Realities of Haitian Women, Before and after the Quake"

10:00-10:30 Speaker 2: Guerda Nicolas - University of Miami, School of Education
"Addressing Mental Health in Haiti through a Community Empowerment"

10:30- 10:50 Moderator/Discussant: Nadine Perrault - UNICEF

10:50-12:10 - PANEL 2: Education in Disaster Contexts

Leading Question: How can the educational needs and rights of vulnerable children in post-disaster contexts be assessed and addressed?

10:50-11:00 Speaker 1: Michele Pierre-Louis - Executive Director, FOKAL

11:00-11:20 Speaker 2: Fabienne Doucet - NYU Steinhardt
"Arrested Development: The Need for a Coordinated, Integrative Approach to Educating Vulnerable Children in Haiti"

11:20-11:50 Speaker 3: Diane Hoffman - University of Virginia
"Informal Learning among Out-of-School Children in Haiti: Some Future Directions for Research and Advocacy"

11:50-12:10 Moderator/Discussant: Dana Burde - NYU Steinhardt Co-sponsored by the Institute of Human Development and Social Change, Office of Civic Engagement, and the Steinhardt Global Integration Fund

*12:10-1:00- LUNCH*

1:00-2:20 - PANEL 3: Methodological/Ethical Challenges of Research in Disaster Contexts

Leading Questions: How can scholars conduct effective and ethically sound research in these contexts? What are the aims of the questions being asked? How do you align the methods with that? What approach are you each taking? Is that working?

1:00-1:30 Speaker 1: Theresa Betancourt - Harvard University, Department of Global Health and Population
"Methodological and Ethical Challenges In Conducting Research with Vulnerable Youth: Experiences from a Longitudinal Study of War-Affected Youth in Sierra Leone"

1:30-2:00 Speaker 2: Roxane Cohen Silver - University of California, Irvine, Psychology and Social Behavior
"Preparing Ahead for Disaster and Traumatic Stress Research: Research Challenges and Ethical Dilemmas"

2:00-2:20 Moderator/Discussant: Dionissi Aliprantis, INURED

*2:20-2:40- COFFEE BREAK*

2:40-4:00 - PANEL 4: Human Rights and Sustainable Reform

Leading Questions: How can research or assessment in post-disaster contexts inform sustainable reform? How does a rights based framework inform the idea of sustainable reform?

2:40-3:10 Speaker 1: Meg Satterthwaite - NYU School of Law
"Rights-Based Humanitarian Indicators in Post-Earthquake Haiti"

3:10-3:40 Speaker 2: Greg Beckett - University of Chicago
"Rethinking Sustainability and Democracy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti"

3:40-4:00 Moderator/Discussant: Reginald DesRoches, Georgia Institute of Technology

4:00-4:30- Closing Remarks: Larry Aber - NYU Steinhardt

Co-sponsored by the Institute of Human Development and Social Change, Office of Civic Engagement, and the Steinhardt Global Integration Fund