Honors Program Hosts Intercultural Consultancy Panel

Feb 05, 2018

As part of the College Honors Program’s partnership with Ozinga, Inc. and Many Hands for Haiti (MH4H), the Honors Program recently hosted a panel that provided insights into ongoing research on Trinity’s campus and, for two weeks each May, in Pignon, Haiti.

The panelists included:

  • Edvard Stevenson Janvier, an electronic engineer who received seminary training at Wheaton and works as a translator;
  • Annie Vander Werff, executive director of the Community Health Initiative;
  • Alexis Emmanuella, a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who has been trained as a seminarian in the United States;
  • Stuart Dykstra, senior vice president, international water of V3; and
  • Serena Buffalino, a Canadian activist who builds schools in Haiti.

Dr. Lenore Knight Johnson, assistant professor of sociology; Dr. Aaron Kuecker, Trinity’s provost; Dr. Craig Mattson, professor of communication arts and director of the Honors Program; Tim Brand, president of MH4H, and Aaron Ozinga, president of Ozinga Materials & Logistics, also attended.

The panel was part of an initiative that will allow Trinity students to prepare for, conduct, and report on significant field research in Haiti.

The partnership between MH4H, Ozinga, and the Honors Program began to come about in the Fall 2016, when Brand approached Kuecker and Mattson with an idea for hosting Trinity students in Pignon at the MH4H campus, so they could study aspects of Haitian culture and collaborate on development work ongoing by MH4H staff.

In May of the following semester, Mattson joined a team of Trinity students for service work in Pignon. The success of that trip spurred the conversations between Trinity, MH4H, and Ozinga. Ozinga executives showed great enthusiasm for the project and committed to significantly underwriting the cost of the trip for the students and accompanying faculty. Kuecker and Mattson then designed a provisional working document describing the goals of the project:

  • –To respond to a gathering by the Triune God of an inter-institutional collaboration between MH4H, Ozinga Brothers, and Trinity that is dedicated to problem-solving research and service that extends flourishing within Haiti and among partner institutions.
  • –To intensify the leadership formation of Trinity’s Honors Program through reflective service and immersive research.
  • –To join entrepreneurial and academic energies for the sake of inter-disciplinary problem-solving in Haiti.

The goal of the partnership is to allow Trinity students to engage deeply in the culture and history of Haiti, the challenges, opportunities, and abuses that can be connected with development work, and interdisciplinary problem-solving research that aims to respond to real-time opportunities and challenges in Haiti.