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Download a copy of the
Proceedings of the
2nd Annual Conference on
Haitian Mental Health
3rd Annual Conference on Haitian Mental Health
Across Waters (Lòt Bò Dlo):
Haitian Identity, Migration, and Psychosocial Adaptation
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
1 Wells Avenue
When Haiti fought for and gained its independence over two centuries ago, it established its identity as the first Black-led Republic in the world. In the post-colonial era, Haitians, as a free people, struggled to redefine their identity in the context of complex social and psychological conditions that have marred their existence. The quest for a “Haitian identity” was further complicated by the deep fissure that existed within the country, and continue to be manifested, in the dualities of class, language, and religion—namely, the great divide between the privileged and the uneducated masses, city dwellers and residents of rural areas, French and Creole speakers, and Christians and those who practice Vodou.
Haitians’ struggle to define their identity has been compounded by the country’s history of natural disasters, political instability, and economic disadvantage—factors that have all contributed to various waves of migration to different parts of the world, creating what is now informally recognized as the “Tenth Department” of the country’s geographical region, the Haitian Diaspora.
As Haitians have sojourned by air and across waters (vwayaje lòt bò dlo) in search of a stable life and better economic and educational opportunities for themselves and their progeny, they have not always enjoyed a warm reception abroad. The United States, which has the largest number of Haitians in the Diaspora, has experienced a steady flow of Haitian migration since the 1920s. Yet, Haitian immigrants continue to be at a significant disadvantage due to their “triple minority status”—as Blacks, immigrants, and non-English speakers in the U.S. With an estimated 1 million Haitians living in the United States, accounting for the third largest immigrant group and the fifth source of Black migration to the country, the trend is expected to continue well into the next century. But, how has the experience of migration influenced the cultural identity of Haitians? Is the notion of a “Haitian identity” the same in Haiti as it is overseas? Is it different for earlier waves of immigrants than more recent immigrants or second generation Haitians? What have been the costs and benefits of maintaining one’s Haitian-ness while acculturating to a foreign land? More important, what aspects of a Haitian identity can facilitate or hinder the psychosocial adaptation of Haitians living abroad? What are the implications for addressing the educational, social, and mental health needs of immigrant Haitian children, adolescents, individuals, and families?
CONFERENCE THEME & OBJECTIVES:
The 3rd Annual Conference on Haitian Mental Health will focus on Haitian Identity, Migration, and Psychosocial Adaptation. The Conference will bring together practitioners, researchers, educators, community leaders, and policymakers to engage in a discourse on Haitian identity, migration experiences, and adaptation in the Diaspora. The primary aim of the Conference is to provide an intellectually stimulating forum for conference presenters and attendees to engage in theoretical, research, and practice-based inquiries on the identity and cultural heritage of Haitians and Haitian Americans, and the impact on their psychosocial adaptation as immigrants living in a foreign country. Contributors are invited to submit proposals that address the following queries:
Note: Undergraduate and graduate students of Haitian descent are strongly encouraged to submit poster presentations on the theme: “Being Haitian: What It Means to Me.”
GUIDELINES FOR ABSTRACT SUBMISSION:
An Abstract Template must be completed and submitted via email to HMHnetwork@gmail.com by Friday, January 31, 2014.
Notes to Presenters:
Venue: The conference will be held at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) on Saturday, May 3, 2014. MSPP is located at One Wells Avenue in Newton, Massachusetts.
Registration: The conference registration fee is $130 for professionals (6 CE credits), and $65 for students, members of the general public, and professionals not requesting CE credits. The fee will include all conference materials, a continental breakfast, lunch, and admission to the Haitian Art Exhibition and Cultural Event.
Costs: Presenters will be responsible for the costs of their transportation, lodging, and conference registration fees. All presenters must preregister for the conference.
Materials: Conference organizers will provide LCD projectors, screens, computers, flip charts, markers, and microphones for all presentations.
Local Accommodations: Sheraton Needham, 100 Cabot Street, Needham, MA
Phone: (781) 444-1110; Fax: (781) 455-8617; MSPP Corporate Code: 397902
The Sheraton Needham is 1.5 miles and 5 minutes away from MSPP.
For more information, please contact:
Gemima St. Louis, Ph.D.
President, Haitian Mental Health Network
Core Faculty, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
1 Wells Avenue, Newton, MA 02459
Phone: (617) 327-6777 ext. 1241