William James College Continuing Education Programs

William James College

Formerly the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP)

ACADEMICS  |  Lifelong Learning  |  Continuing Education  |  Register
Continuing Education
Online Registration
CE Credits
Policies & Procedures
Local Accommodations
Online Store

Across Waters (Lòt Bò Dlo): Haitian Identity, Migration and Psychosocial Adaptation

May 03, 2014 9:00 am -
May 03, 2014 4:30 pm

Event Description


Across Waters (Lòt Bò Dlo):

Haitian Identity, Migration, and Psychosocial Adaptation


Saturday, May 3, 2014


Keynote Presenters

Charlene Désir, Ed.D. and Flore Zéphir, Ph.D.


Conference Organizers

Gemima St. Louis, Ph.D., Suze Prudent, Ph.D., Castagna Lacet, Ph.D., MSW, Jill Bloom, Ph.D., Joel Piton, M.D., M.Ed. and Jessica Pierre, M.Ed.


As Haitians have sojourned by air and across waters (vwayaje lòt bò dlo) in search of a stable life and better economic and educational opportunities for themselves and their progeny, they have not always enjoyed a warm reception abroad. The United States, which has the largest Haitian population in the Diaspora, has experienced a steady flow of Haitian migration since the 1920s. Yet, Haitian immigrants continue to be at a significant disadvantage due to their “triple minority status”—as Blacks, immigrants, and non-English speakers in the U.S.  But, how has the experience of migration influenced the cultural identity of Haitians as a people living in the Diaspora? Is the notion of a “Haitian identity” the same in Haiti as it is overseas? Is it different for earlier waves of immigrants than more recent immigrants or second generation Haitians? What have been the costs and benefits of maintaining one’s Haitian-ness while acculturating to a foreign country? More important, what aspects of being Haitian may facilitate or hinder the psychosocial adaptation of Haitians in the Diaspora?  What are the implications for addressing the educational, social, and mental health needs of immigrant Haitian children, adolescents, individuals, and families?  


Upon completion of this program, conference attendees will be able to:


  • Understand the process of identity formation among Haitians living in the Diaspora.
  • Describe the waves of Haitian migration to the U.S. and their impact on the psychosocial adaptation of Haitian individuals and families.
  • Identify the challenges and opportunities faced by second generation Haitians and Haitian Americans in the development of their identity.
  • Illustrate coping strategies that Haitian immigrants have utilized to maintain their cultural heritage, values, belief systems, and religious and spiritual practices.
  • Describe culturally-sensitive interventions to address the complex social, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs of Haitian immigrants in the U.S. 
  • Define the factors that can promote positive psychosocial outcomes for Haitian immigrants in the U.S.

Program Code: HC14
6 CE Credits |
$130 includes lunch on Saturday

($65 for students and members of the general public not requesting CE Credits)

Location: at MSPP, Newton

Dr. Charlene Désir, Ed.D., received her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a research professor at the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Désir’s academic interest is in the social and psychological adjustment of immigrant students in public schools, specifically school’s social curriculum, social trauma occurring in schools, and how social issues affect learning. Dr. Désir has presented various papers and presentations on the topic of immigrant students and their adjustment to the U.S. She has also published on the topic of immigrant identity and becoming a reflective researcher. In addition, she co-founded T.E.N. global, an empowerment network for Haitian women and children, was the 2012 president of the Haitian Studies Association, and was also appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the Children’s Services Council in Broward County, FL. Dr. Désir has worked as a school psychologist, K-12 school counselor, school administrator in Massachusetts district schools and as an academic advisor and professor. 


Flore Zéphir, Ph.D., a native of Haiti, came to the United States in 1975.  She attended Hunter College of the City University of New York, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Education in 1980.  The following year she went to Indiana University-Bloomington, and earned two Masters of Arts degree in 1983, and a Ph.D. in French Linguistics in 1990. Professor Zéphir has been teaching at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) since 1988 in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. She is currently professor of French, coordinator of the Master’s program in foreign language teaching, and department chair.  She also serves as acting director of the Afro-Romance Institute. She teaches French language classes at all levels, as well as courses in foreign language teaching methodologies, French linguistics, bilingualism and multiculturalism, and minority and Creole languages. In 1995, she was one of the recipients of the prestigious Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching; in 2003, the recipient of a Faculty Advising award; and 2004, the recipient of an MU Faculty Alumni Award. Her research interests include foreign language education, bilingual education, Creole studies, sociolinguistics, and ethnic and immigrant studies with a particular focus on the Haitian diaspora in the United States.  She is a regular presenter at the various foreign language teaching conferences, as well as linguistics meetings. Given her expertise in the areas of bilingual, multicultural, and foreign language education, as well as immigrant studies, Professor Zéphir is a well sought-after speaker, invited to conduct workshops and give presentations on these topics. Her numerous articles and review essays have appeared in the French Review, Foreign Language Annals, Modern Language Journal, Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Afro-Hispanic Review, and PALARA among other professional journals. Her first book, Haitian Immigrants in Black America: A Sociological and Sociolinguistic Portrait was published in 1996 by Bergin and Garvey; her second, Trends in Ethnic Identification Among Second-Generation Haitian immigrants in New York City, was released in summer 2001 also by Bergin and Garvey; and her third, The Haitian Americans, was published in August 2004 by Greenwood Press as part of its New Americans series.  She served as book review editor for the Journal of Haitian Studies from August 2013 to May 2013. She is currently working on projects dealing with the transformation of the Haitian diaspora as a result of the January 2010 earthquake.

Event Type:Continuing Education Program
Category:Special Events
Early registration ends on Jan 12, 2014.
Regular registration starts on Jan 13, 2014 and ends on Apr 22, 2014.
Late registration starts on Apr 23, 2014.



William James College
One Wells Avenue | Newton, MA 02459 | 617-244-1682 | 617-327-6777
Home | Contact | Site Index | Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2015 William James College. All rights reserved.

© 2022 Community Brands Holdings, LLC. All rights reserved.