After participating in the Brown Staff Summer Reading Program, a thought-provoking and interesting discussion on the First Readings book, "My Beloved World", Nirva LaFortune sat down with SAC to tell us about her childhood, heritage, and how she ended up at Brown.
Nirva took us on a journey into her past and vibrant volunteer experiences. While Nirva works as the Manager of Academic Programs and Student Affairs for the School of Engineering, she finds time to volunteer at Providence Public Schools. As someone that grew up on the south side of Providence and attended its public schools, she wanted to be involved in and serve as an advocate for underrepresented minority student needs and parental involvement.
In addition to her work in Providence, Nirva travels to Haiti to bring school supplies, art, toiletries and shoes to Love Orphanage, a home for 75 orphaned children in Haiti. As a native born Haitian, Nirva feels a deep sense of pride and love for her home country, which brings her back each year. She shared with us that Americans often assume that Haiti is an impoverished nation, but many do not know its unique and powerful history.
After our interview I did some research and discovered that the first black general of the French Army and a former slave, Toussaint Louverture, led a rebellion in 1791 that resulted in the abolition of slavery and Haiti becoming an independent country. On January 1, 1804, the sovereign nation of Haiti was established. This made it the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the only nation in the western hemisphere to have defeated Britain, France and Spain, and astoundingly, the only nation in the world to form as a result of a successful slave revolt.
Watch our interview with Nirva to learn about her visits to Haiti and how Brown has impacted her career and education. Thank you for sharing your story with us and teaching us a little history as well!