The IDB Cultural Center presents the
Special Advisor to the Ministry of Culture and Communication in Haiti
Magali Comeau Denis
in an illustrated lecture on the current state of the arts in post-earthquake Haiti
Rebuilding Haiti Through Its Culture
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 6:30 PM
Free and open to the public. Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center, Inter-American Development Bank, 1330 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC, one block from Metro Center, 13th Street exit.
Photo ID required. Unreserved general admission. 202.623.3558 www.iadb.org/cultural
The destruction caused by the 1/12/10 earthquake is unspeakable. All the institutions are affected, and all the symbols of national life have collapsed. The historical heritage of the cities of Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Léogâne is wiped out. Thousands of artworks are buried under the rubble; collections of objects, books, archival documents are either lost or being lost. The memory of the Haitian people is threatened.
The countless number of dead and seriously injured people, the lives to be saved, the millions of homeless people, the thousands of children vainly searching for their parents, overshadows losses suffered in the cultural sector, which are not taken into account in this great show of solidarity by the international community, since they do not come under humanitarian emergency.
Without taking a common stand, all the representatives of national life, including the Government, the civil society, and political parties, in the face of the exposure of the cultural weaknesses of our institutions, as well as the reactions of the population, are calling for the rebuilding of the State through our culture. The earthquake, therefore, has given the nation a new opportunity with history. The objective in invoking our culture, which is highly celebrated here and elsewhere, is to apprehend it from every angle. How can Haitians use it to build their future and avoid repeating mistakes of the past?
Magali Comeau Denis joined the Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately after completing her law studies, and later transferred to the Ministry of Justice. She worked with the Institut Français d’Haïti for 15 years as Head of Cultural Projects, and was a member of the Editorial Board of CONJONCTION, a Franco-Haitian review of literary creation, essays, criticisms and reflections. She was also in charge of the network of Alliances Françaises across Haiti. In 2004, she became Minister of Culture and Communication. She is the General Coordinator of the Culture and Development Movement. She was a founding member, coordinator and spokesperson of the group No! Coalition of Artists and Intellectuals for the Defence of Freedom in Haiti. She is also an actress and widow of Hervé Y. Denis. Ms. Denis will lecture in French with simultaneous interpretation to English.