Haitian president Aristide to present lecture on May 31
Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide will present "The Political Future of Haiti," the fourth annual Ignacio Martin-Baro Lecture, at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is organized by the University's Center for Latin American Studies.
Aristide, a Roman Catholic priest who came to power after championing the interests of the poor, was elected president of Haiti in December 1990, in the nation's first free election. Although he was ousted in a coup d'etat in September 1991, he continues to be widely recognized as Haiti's legitimate president. He is currently conducting affairs of state from temporary headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Aristide was educated in parochial schools in Port-au-Prince and graduated in 1974 from the College Notre Dame in Cap-Haitien. He completed novitiate studies at a seminary in the Dominican Republic and pursued further studies in philosophy at the Grand Seminaire Notre Dame in Haiti and in psychology at the State University of Haiti. He also studied in Rome and Israel and at the University of Montreal.
He began his service as a parish priest in 1983 in a poor parish near Port-au-Prince. He became an outspoken advocate for the poor and continued to speak on their behalf while assigned to St. Jean Bosco Church at the edge of a Port-au-Prince slum. During a 1988 attack on the church, 13 members of the congregation were killed and the church was burned. Aristide continued to speak out on behalf of the poor and led a popular movement that resulted in his election as president.
The Ignacio Martin-Baro Lecture honors the memory of the Rev. Martin-Baro (Ph.D.'79), who, along with five Jesuit colleagues and two other people, was murdered in San Salvador in 1989.