Center for Social Justice
Hosts youth ambassadors from Haiti visiting Seton Hall Law as part of inaugural trip to the U.S.
On August 18, 2011, Haiti Rule of Law (HROL) and the Center for Social Justice (CSJ) hosted the first-ever delegation of Haitian high school students, who were brought to the U.S through the Youth Ambassador Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. As part of the New Jersey tour, organized by Jim Delia ’87 and the Ridgewood YMCA, the students participated in lectures given by Seton Hall law professors and students, attended parts of the first-year students’ Orientation and toured the law school.
Co-Presidents of HROL, Kimberly Krone '12 and Narline Casimir '13, and Black Law Student Association President, William Snowden ’12, welcomed the students during breakfast, after which Casimir gave a presentation in Creole comparing the legal system in Haiti and the United States. The students enjoyed learning about the differences between the common law system and the civil code system of Haiti, asking many thought-provoking questions. Other highlights of the day included an overview of Seton Hall Law’s HROL project and relationship with École Superiore Catholique de Droit De Jérémie (ESCDROJ), our sister law school in Haiti, by Professor Lori Nessel, Director of the CSJ; Professor Shavar Jeffries sharing his experiences as the President of the Board of Education of Newark and the challenges that the inner city area faces concerning education.
Members of the Haitian delegation spoke about the dire situation facing Haiti with a 70 percent unemployment rate and multiple barriers to accessing public education. The visit culminated with Professor Jonathan Hafetz’s talk about legal issues surrounding national security and Guantánamo.
This was all of the students’ first trip to the U.S. During their visit, they participated in a variety of activities, including visits to Cisco Systems, a recycling plant, a Mayoral office and a courthouse. They also received training in conflict resolution. The students had an opportunity to “play tourist” by visiting Radio City Musical Hall (to see Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana) and playing miniature golf. The trip also enabled a touching family reunion: one student was able to spend time with his mother after a five-year absence while his mother works in the U.S. to send money home to support her family.
HROL and CSJ look forward to solidifying a relationship with the YMCA of Haiti and its students. According to Krone and Casimir, “It was inspiring for us all to see how resilient and determined these students are despite the great challenges they face every day.”