Grammy Award winners Wyclef Jean and Jerry Wonda will be featured at the Vassar Haiti Project’s (VHP) annual Art & Soul Gala, which will be held virtually on April 29. The organization will honor Vassar College President Elizabeth H. Bradley and Dr. Carole M. Berotte Joseph, City University of New York Professor Emeritus and past president of Bronx Community College and Massachusetts Bay Community College, at the event. To register, go to www.thehaitiproject.org/art-soul-2021
VHP Student Co-President Sonia Gollerkeri ’21 said the annual gala is one of the highlights of the organization’s efforts to partner with the people of Haiti on sustainable development projects. “I’ve always been inspired by the power of the Art and Soul Gala to bring together a community of people passionate about improving healthcare accessibility in Chermaitre and surrounding areas,” Gollerkeri said. “It has been a daunting task to re-imagine this event in a virtual space, but we are driven by the knowledge of the incredible impact the clinic will have in the coming year, and are excited by the opportunity to inspire an even larger audience to join in our mission.”
The annual gala, supported by local physicians and businesses from throughout the Hudson Valley, provides funding for a medical clinic in Haiti that is also financed through the sale of Haitian art and crafts. The Vassar Haiti Project (www.thehaitiproject.org) also funds a school and other projects in Chermaitre, a rural Haitian village. “We have an exciting program scheduled for the Art & Soul Gala this year,” said VHP Co-founder Lila Meade. “We’ll be hearing from our amazing honorees who have done profound work in forwarding education both nationally and internationally.”
Carole M. Berotte Joseph, Ph.D., a native of Haiti, has dedicated her 45-year career to the study of sociolinguistics and to the improvement of educational access for bilingual students, both in the U.S., and in Haiti. The first woman of Haitian descent to be a college president in the United States, she is committed to making higher education accessible to every person in Haiti. She was a Bilingual Education teacher at the City University of New York for more than 20 years and later served as Dean of Academic Affairs at Dutchess Community College. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Berotte Joseph established the first Haitian Bilingual Parent & Teacher Training program and served as the Principal Investigator and first Director of the Haitian Bilingual/ESL Technical Assistance Center in New York.
Elizabeth H. Bradley, Ph.D. has served as President of Vassar College since July 2017. In that time, she has led the College to establish new programs and partnerships in India, Rwanda, and China to bring the model of liberal arts higher education to these settings. In addition, Bradley has collaborated with Columbia University creating a 5-year BA-MPH program for Vassar students. Bradley has most recently served on Governor Cuomo’s NY Forward Re-Opening Advisory Committee and helped draft the guidelines for NY higher education re-opening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bradley, a noted public health expert who created the first Masters of Health Administration on the African continent with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and pioneered a model of scale up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, continues to be a strong advocate for education and public health.
“This year we are also absolutely thrilled that two of Haiti’s most famous native sons, Grammy Award winning music producer Jerry Wonda, and world renowned rapper and hip hop artist Wyclef Jean of the Fugees will be giving a special performance for our event!” says Dr. David Cho, Chair of the Medical Advisory Board which is a group of local physicians
Wyclef Jean was born in Haiti in 1969 and immigrated to the United Stated nine years later. He achieved fame with the New Jersey hip hop group the Fugees and raised relief funds for victims of a devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Jerry Wonda, who was the Fugees’ producer and also its bass guitar player, has been a producer for numerous artists, including LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson and Lionel Ritchie.
Contact: Larry Hertz, firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-518-3098 (Vassar College)
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