Deborah Dimmett

Deborah Dimmet is an MDP student and also an assistant professor of practice in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona. Her regional interests and work are in Caribbean/Latin American regions, with a particular focus on Haiti.  She has 10 years of experience in Cuba (1993-2003) and more than 15 years of experience in Haiti (2003-present).  Her interests in Cuba have emphasized culture and linguistic in Afro-Cuban religions, and a continuation of that research led her to Haiti in 2003. 
 

Deborah is currently also the Executive Director of Youth Envision, a small nonprofit organization that was co-founded in 2004 in Port-au-Prince by a small group of young Haitians who wanted to provide more opportunities for youth.  Youth Envision's activities have included professional development for teachers and school administrators, support and training for a school-to-the-streets program, young entrepreneur training, and human rights education.  The organization is currently developing plans to support small youth programs that are homegrown in Haiti.

Deborah's dissertation research focused on a community human rights council that worked to prosecute political actors who were largely responsible for a two-year violent streak against a small and severely impoverished community.  Her interest in human rights extended into her MDP summer practicum and master's report on the practice of prolonged pretrial detention in Haiti's prisons, which are functioning at 454% over-occupancy, the highest in the world.  
 

"After witnessing so much extreme poverty in Haiti, I soon turned my interests to the needs of the education sector as I felt that education was the best and most sustainable solution to poverty reduction.  At roughly the same time, soaring human rights problems emerged out of the rebellion and forced exit of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.  When I wasn't giving education workshops and professional development training, I was working alongside a Haitian human rights attorney to investigate politically motivated arrests and abuses and working on the release of Haitians who had been arrested and had no legal representation. One of my goals is to develop a community-based network of family members and neighbors who would be trained to advocate for those lost in the judicial and correctional system."

 

Prior degrees incude: 

Ph.D. in Language, Reading, and Culture, with a minor in Anthropology, University of Arizona

M.A. in Educational Leadership and Public Administration - Nonprofit Management.  

Hometown: 

from Tucson, Arizona

Alumni Year: 

2019