Invited Panelist Drexel Woodson Speaks Out on Poverty

February 2010 - Drexel G. Woodson was one of five invited speakers at “Risk, Suffering, and Response: The Earthquake Crisis in Haiti 2010,” a panel organized by George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs on 25 January 2010 in Washington, DC. Woodson’s remarks “Shaky Ground(s): Will the Earthquake Prompt Haitians and Foreigners to Negotiate a Pact for Sustainable Reconstruction” sparked questions and lively debate among some 75 capital-area faculty, students, and journalists.

From the GWUMC website, Dr. Woodson is quoted as saying “Having uttered [this phrase], one need not examine the causes and context of poverty in Haiti. One can also easily—but falsely—assume that poverty somehow explains corruption, illness, incompetence, ignorance, miseducation, violence and much else.”

The four other panelists—whose expertise varied and whose relationships to Haiti ranged widely—agreed. The recent earthquake, they asserted, has engendered a denigrating caricature of the Haitian population, which, in reality, is “compassionate, resilient and genius,” according to panelist Kyrah Malika Daniels, junior curator, National Museum of American History. And, in order to respond appropriately to the current crisis, a careful evaluation of the nation’s history and culture is vital.

You can read the entire review here.

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