I think one of the most controversial days we spent in Santo Domingo was on Friday, July 14th. The activities planned focused on contemporary issues about the Dominican Republic and Haiti, including a panel discussion on contemporary perspectives about Haiti. I was especially looking forward to this event because my research project focused on Dominican-Haitian relations. In some ways, I was very satisfied with the event, and in other ways I was disappointed. However, it was overall an enlightening experience.
The panel consisted of six speakers, including the former Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Canada and Columbia, The International Project Manager of the United Nations Development Program, the President of the National Emergency Commission and Executive Director of Civil Defense, and several other distinguished individuals.
One of the my first reactions to this panel was surprise at the various organizations dedicated to investigating and improving Dominican-Haitian relations, such as the Dominico-Haitian Global Forum and Batey Relief Alliance (BRA), of which the former coordinator and current Executive Director, respectively, were present. Their presentations on programs supporting Haitians living in the Dominican Republic opened my eyes to a world of organizations that I would be interested in contributing to in the future.