Elizabeth Pierre-Louis, library program coordinator at the Fondation Connaissance et Liberté (FOKAL), Haiti, will be speaking as the twenthy-first Mortenson Distinguished Lecturer, addressing:
The 'Invisible' Forces of Haiti—How Can Books and Culture Help the Reconstruction Process?
About the Lecture:
In Haiti the "invisible" are the deities of the voodoo religion, the forces among us that exist but we cannot see. Powerful, these forces guide the believers all their lives. Haiti had been at the head of headlines in 2010, for the devastating earthquake that touched, killed and displaced hundreds of thousands, the cholera epidemic, the hurricanes, and now the political turmoil with the general elections and the return of Baby Doc. Little is said of the vital forces of Haiti's culture whether in literature, painting, sculpture but also all of the related institutions, libraries, museums, foundations and individuals that strive to maintain our creativity and humanity. This presentation will focus on this sector often neglected, "invisible" but ever so present in Haiti not in the aesthetic perspective but as a force of change.
About Elizabeth Pierre-Louis:
Elizabeth Pierre-Louis (MS '03) was born and raised in Haiti. She is a librarian and demographer. In 1997, Ms. Pierre-Louis began working at the Fondation Connaissance et Liberté (FOKAL) in Port au Prince, Haiti. That same year, she also became a library trainer after participating in a six-month long training session at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2003, she moved into the position of Library Program Coordinator at FOKAL. She received her MLIS at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003, where she received the Jane B. and Robert B. Downs Professional Promise Award. Additionally, she obtained her PhD in Demography in July 2004 at the University of Paris X-Nanterre.
From 2006 until 2009, Ms. Pierre-Louis was an Institutional Member of the Executive Council of the Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institution Libraries (ACURIL). In 2008, she was awarded the Charles C. Steward International Young Humanitarian Award, given by the Office of International Programs and Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Additionally, she served as a consultant at the Ministry of Culture for a public reading program in Haiti in 2009. She currently continues to work as Program Coordinator at FOKAL.