- According to today's New York Times, The World Bank has come up with much needed data on the brain drain. Their main finding: small developing countries are the most affected by the brain drain. For example, 80% of Haitian-borns with college degrees are outside of Haiti and the numbers are similar for Jamaica.
- It would be great if Caribbeanists could conduct similar studies on a range of issues. Studies would benefit both the academics who conduct them and the studied societies: I can't imagine a study not furthering the academic's career while hard data could actually help in attracting grants for NGOs or development projects in the studied society. After all, for better or worse, this is the age of Freakanomics.
- Case in point, while chatting with a representative of a Brooklyn-based Haitian-American NGO at the Haitian Studies Association Conference 2005 last week, she explained that she had made the trip from Brooklyn to Boston to urge Haitianists to generate more hard data on Haitian-Americans.
- The World Bank's study is interesting but we can certainly use data on areas that they are not likely to study but that are crucial to the Caribbean. For example, do we know how CARICOM is perceived by citizens of member countries? Do we know for sure that citizens of the newest member, Haiti, know and understand CARICOM and the significance of the country's adhesion to it? (Very little buy-in was sought out by the government in place when Haiti became a member.) Since Haiti has become a CARICOM member, CARICOM has issued directives to Haitian governments and attempted to mitigate countless political crises. But is there any plan for real integration of Haiti to CARICOM?
- Social scientists often find economists' perspective devoid of context but how about doing more of what they do while providing the context? Mary Waters and Sherri-Ann Butterfield, both sociologists, do just that and thanks to them we know lots more about Caribbean-Americans. Hopefully, there will be much more discussion of this at the 2006 Caribbean Studies Association conference which, according to its call for papers, promises to explore "The Role of the Academy in Responding to the Challenges of the Region."
Measuring Up: Stats and Caribbeanists
Posted by Alice B. at 10/25/2005
Labels: academia, caribbean, conferences, haiti, haitian-american
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CARICOM certainly didn't help it cause with a section of the Haitian population when it supported Aristide after he was removed from power.....
Hopefully, in the coming years, there will be more a constructive exchange between the different members.
Yes, I hope so too. I think the rift occurred because there is much ignorance about Haiti in other Caricom countries and much ignorance about Caricom in Haiti.
Often people approach Haiti and its population as a problem to be fixed with no interest in the context and the realities and the culture. That of course always backfires...
That being said, I firmly believe Haitians need to take a proactive approach about telling the world who we really are. Nobody can do that for us...
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