Education Professor Gets Award From Haitian Studies Association

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice Professor Charlene Desir, Ed.D., has been selected to receive the 2022 Award for Service by the Haitian Studies Association (HSA). Desir was presented with the HSA Service Award at the Association’s 34th Annual Conference in Washington D.C. The award honors a person or organization in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Haitian Studies Association, the field of Haitian Studies, or to the people of Haiti. “The steadfast commitment you have shown to the academic, psycho-social and spiritual development of Haitian immigrants and other disenfranchised populations in both the U.S. and Haiti have earned you this special recognition,” the organization said.

Desir has been a part of the organization since she was a first year-student in college at Tufts University. She went on to serve as the HSA’s youngest president in 2012. She said she first encountered them while walking on campus after a rather dejecting experience in class. “And I saw a sign that said, ‘Haitian Studies Association, an Academic Conference on the Study of Haiti’ and I walked in. I just walked in; I wasn’t registering– nothing. I walked in and sat down. And that’s how it began. And I stayed there until this day.”

Desir said the association has been there for pivotal moments of her academic career, through the earning of her degrees and she even published her first paper in their journal. The organization also witnessed the start of Desir’s Emerging Scholars program. “It’s a mentoring program for undergrad and graduate students in the U.S. and Haiti that want to be an academic and study Haitian issues as part of their work,” she said.

The program is now in its 10th year, and some of the scholars even came out to watch Desir receive her honor. Overall, Desir said the honor was incredibly special to her. “As an academic, to be recognized for service was really important for me, because we’re expected to publish, we’re expected to research, we’re expected to teach and to give back and to be recognized as one of the people that gave back to the institution — this academic institution, and it was recognized that I created an academic legacy plan for the organization, I think was profound.”

Congratulations Charlene Desir and thank you for all your hard work!

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Recipient of the Green Family Foundation Curriculum Development Grant.