A Comparative Study of Culture and Cultural Heritage in Humanitarian Aid Efforts: Post-Earthquake Haiti and Post-Tsunami Aceh

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This thesis explores how cultural knowledge, beliefs, and practices affected the humanitarian aid response to disasters in Haiti and Aceh Province, Indonesia. It examines the importance of local knowledge in post-disaster response situations and how aid workers’ “expertise” interplays with local knowledge, decision-making structures, and leadership. I questioned how knowledge of cultural practices could contribute to a more effective humanitarian aid approach and identified housing, social institutions and local leadership, economic systems, religious belief and practice as primary focuses. Examples detail how cultural beliefs and practices—as well as cultural heritage—may be vehicles for social stability and advance recovery in the social and economic spheres.



Humanitarian Aid in Haiti: Friend or Foe?

Humanitarian aid to Haiti has both positive and negative effects on a country that is already in a state of turmoil. Considering the aspects of education, economics, and the political climate in Haiti, and after conducting both academic research and primary source interviews from those affected firsthand by these issues, I concluded that outside aid and volunteerism to Haiti, and other third-world countries like it, is ultimately ineffective.

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Mothers’ Religious Influence on Children Experiencing Trauma: Haiti Community Clinic Focus Groups

An earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale hit Haiti on January 10th, 2010. The earthquake, an urgent crisis, occurred in the context of persistent social dysfunctions, amplifying both the chronic poor living conditions and adversities for children and families. The purpose of the study was to enquire into the possible ways children in Haiti are socialized by the religiousness and other coping ways of their mothers and caretakers in the childhood contexts of societal and continuous trauma.

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Picturing Aid in Haiti: Reflections on the Making of a Work of Graphic Reportage

This research-creation PhD thesis contributes to recent debates about what journalism could (or should) be in today’s fast-changing media landscape by focusing on graphic reportage, a journalistic approach that relies on the drawn medium of comics. In order to assess how working in this drawn form might affect the practices that journalists use in their work, I reflect critically on my process of making Picturing Aid in Haiti, a work of graphic reportage about humanitarian interventions in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

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