Students Consider Haiti’s Reconstruction at Public Policy Symposium

What is the appropriate role of the international community in responding to Haiti's ongoing plight? On Jan. 29, Holy Cross presidential scholars met to tackle that complex question as part of the Fifth Annual Presidential Scholars Public Policy Symposium.

Under the direction of Christina Chen, director of Academic Services and Learning Resources, and Thomas R. Gottschang, professor of economics, the event challenged students to reflect on the fault lines of failed policies and to explore new models of aid that would enable Haitians to take more leadership roles in the reconstruction process and the country's future. Realizing that solutions to global issues are not easily met is one of the key takeaways of the symposium. "Students come to understand that people of goodwill and intelligence may not always agree on the best approach," says Chen.

For some, the experience bolstered their academic passions. "The symposium both solidified my interest in healthcare and broadened what that interest means," says Peter Renehan '12. For others, the symposium was an opportunity to explore an issue close to heart.

"As a Jesuit institution, caring for the needs of others is part of our ethos," says Gottschang.

"Haiti is my neighbor country," says Scarlett Piantini '11, a native of the Dominican Republic. "I feel that, more than ever, students like us need to force ourselves to be in [Haitians'] shoes."

By Tricia Dunn '12