Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Choices Program Provides High Schools with New Lesson on Haiti

January 27, 2010

Brown’s Choices Program has developed an online lesson for high school students, The Haitian Crisis: Thinking Historically. Through video, audio, and other media, it challenges students to think beyond Haiti's recent earthquake, consider the role of the country’s rich history in the current crisis, and think about global influences in long term reconstruction.

Poverty is man-made, and learning about the forces in society that create poverty can help high school students develop real compassion toward the situation in Haiti, Africana Studies Professor Barrymore Bogues says in one interview.

In historical terms, Haiti became a new nation, a black nation, when white countries owned slaves, Haitian Studies Professor Patrick Sylvain says in another interview. As a result, Haiti was viewed as an affront in such countries as the United States, and in 1804, "the first person who really imposed an embargo in wanting to bring Haiti to its knees was Thomas Jefferson. ... We’re still feeling the policies of Jefferson in 2010."
 
The Watson-affiliated Choices Program works with secondary school teachers to bring university-level research and innovative learning tools into classrooms across the country, as it helps empower young people to be engaged citizens capable of addressing international issues.