Haiti conference to begin

A two-day conference on democracy in Haiti begins tomorrow and will feature a keynote address by exiled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide at 8 p.m. in Webster Hall.

Aristide, who was overthrown in a military coup in September 1991, has been living in the United States under Secret Service protection since his exile. The speech at the College is part of his effort to raise support for his reinstatement.

Security will be tight at Aristide’s speech and students are advised to arrive by 7:30 p.m., carrying as little as possible because Secret Service agents will be checking all students’ possessions at the door.

The conference, titled “The Future of Democracy in Haiti,” will also include three panel discussions in Collis Common Ground featuring Dartmouth professors, professors from other schools and several authors.

Tomorrow afternoon a panel discussion titled, “Historical Background: Barriers to Democracy,” will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Common Ground.

Two more panels will be held in Collis on Friday.

“Culture and Politics: Imagining Democracy,” which will examine the relationship between politics and democracy in Haiti, will run from 9 to11 a.m. The other panel, “Haiti in the World: Building Democracy,” will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. and will analyze the international community’s role in the current Haitian crisis.

The Haiti conference is the third in a series sponsored by the College’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding that is designed to examine the prospects of democracy in various areas of the world. The Latin and Caribbean Studies Program is co-sponsoring this conference.

Last term, the Dickey Center sponsored conferences that dealt with democracy in the Middle East and Russia. A conference about China is planned for Spring term to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

“These ‘Great Issues’ conferences are designed to deepen our understanding of the dramatic transformations occurring in the post-Cold War world,” Dickey Center Director Martin Sherwin said.

“The chance to hear and question speakers who are deeply involved with those changes, or who study them professionally, informs and enriches our community,” Sherwin said.

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