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Panel: Creole in Context: The Challenges and Opportunities of Promoting Haitian Creole Language and Culture

Sunday, May 21, 2023 @ 2:00 pm

On Demand (Virtual)

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This panel will examine the status of Haitian Creole language and culture, exploring the issues of language, writing, and reading that have arisen over time. The panelists, including members of the Academy and other experts, will discuss the significance of Creole in Haitian society, the challenges in fully embracing it, and strategies for promoting its use and development. The panelists will discuss the historical and cultural factors that have influenced the use of Creole in Haiti and some of the challenges that Haitians face in learning and using the language. They will also explore potential solutions to these challenges, including the role that education and language policy could play in promoting the use of Creole.

BITO DAVID is a Haitian-born writer, poet, and intellectual activist from Pétion-Ville. He completed his primary and secondary education at Institution St. Joseph and Petit Seminaire College St. Martial before studying at the Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine, where he specialized in economics and rural development as an agronomist engineer. In 1991, he moved to South Florida in the U.S., where he continued his education and earned a degree in management and administration, and a master’s degree from Florida Atlantic University, focusing on cultural education foundations.

David has worked extensively in education in Florida, serving as a public relations and multicultural communications specialist for Palm Beach County School District. His role involved establishing and maintaining communication and collaboration mechanisms and programs between the school system, Haitian community, parents, media, businesses, and community organizations to foster greater involvement in education. He is passionate about integrating Haitian culture into multicultural celebrations in the U.S.

In May 2005, David received the Golden Achievement Award from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) in recognition of his initiatives and activities promoting and celebrating Haitian Heritage Month in the U.S., particularly in South Florida. He also received the Distinguished Service Award in May 2008 from Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts and Social Justice for his exemplary service, devotion, and loyalty to his community.

In addition to his professional roles, David is an accomplished writer and poet who has authored numerous articles in local newspapers and magazines in the U.S. He’s published several books on various topics, including Haiti’s socioeconomic and political situation, philosophy, love, humanism, and everyday life. His extensive bibliography is organized into several series, including Speculations and Philosophies, Humanism, Haitimanya, Haitian Political Conjuncture, Haiti and Its Communes, Culture and Haitian Heritage, Immortal Haitian Characters, Phantasms, Variety, Language and Creole Culture, Kolibri and Creole Literature.

Through his literary work, David focuses on critical interests such as the elevation of humanity to higher cosmic consciousness; the celebration of humanism as a philosophy of social emancipation; the acknowledgment of Haiti and the Haitian people’s contributions to world history; the promotion of Haitian cultural, historical, and social identity; the repatriation of Haiti’s human resources; the development of Creole language as the Haitian people’s sociolinguistic identity; the involvement of all Haitian citizens in Haiti’s development; the emergence of visionary, competent, and integral leadership to serve as a lever for Haiti’s development; and the emancipation of the Haitian people to reach a level of awareness that motivates their liberation.

ANIVINCE JEAN-BAPTISTE, a Haitian poet and cultural advocate, was born in the North West Department of Haiti in the late 1980s. His academic background in anthropology, sociology, and cultural administration laid the foundation for his deep-rooted passion for Creole culture. As a dedicated member of the Koukouy Society and co-founder of various cultural organizations, including Tanbou-Literè and Observatoire Patrimoine, Jean-Baptiste has significantly impacted the literary scene in Haiti and the Caribbean.

From 2017 to 2021, Jean-Baptiste hosted the literary radio show Pawòl Kreyòl on Signal FM, a program initiated by historian Michel Soukar. Since 2021, he has been contributing to the cultural page of the Haitian daily Le Nouvelliste. His commitment to promoting Creole literature led him to establish the Festival Entènasyonal Literati Kreyòl (FEL) in 2019, marking the first-ever Creole literature event in the Caribbean.

Throughout his career, Jean-Baptiste has facilitated numerous poetry workshops and conferences in Haiti and internationally. His poetry has been translated into Spanish and English and featured in various anthologies. His published works, such as Ma ville archipel de verres / Mo bosal and Géométrie de l’absence, showcase his unique poetic voice and depth of emotion. Jean-Baptiste’s literary accomplishments have garnered him prestigious invitations to events such as the Salon National du Livre à Jacmel and Little Haiti Book Festival. His contributions to Creole literature have also earned him accolades, including the Prix d’Excellence GRAHN de la littérature d’expression créole and the Ten Outstanding Young Persons award for cultural achievements by the Jeune Chambre Internationale. His inspiring journey as a poet and cultural advocate continues to enrich the literary landscape and foster a deeper appreciation for Creole culture and expression.

ROGEDA DORCE DORCIL, a distinguished linguist and educator, hails from Fort Jacques, a commune of Petion-Ville in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He holds a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from the Faculté de Linguistique Appliquée at the Université d’État d’Haïti and a master’s degree in language sciences from the Université de Franche-Comté in Besançon, France. Since 1980, he has taught French, literature, and Creole at various high schools and colleges throughout Haiti. 

In 1995, Dorcil joined the faculty of applied linguistics of the the Université d’État d’Haïti as an ethnolinguistics professor, has served as its dean since May 2012, and contributed to the research department as a technician and researcher. His involvement in numerous field research projects with or for the faculty of applied linguistics includes the Haitian Creole Orthographic Dictionary, the Preliminary Dictionary of Haitian Creole Language Frequencies, the Haitian Creole Agricultural Dictionary, and a study on Haitian women’s attitudes toward menstruation. With his extensive experience in linguistics and education, he continues to be an influential figure in Haitian academia and has made invaluable contributions to studying and promoting Haitian language and culture.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Dorcil is a dedicated pastor, leading the Église Chrétienne de L’Unité, an evangelical church in Fort-Jacques, and overseeing an evangelical theology institute in Petion-Ville.


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