Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Mario Joseph Receives Honorary Degree from Moravian College


For Immediate Release
Contact Michael Wilson, Public Relations

Haitian Human Rights Attorney Mario Joseph to Present Film and Discussion at Moravian College

Joseph to receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Moravian College

Bethlehem, Pa., January 20, 2016—Moravian College will bestow an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree to Mario Joseph, widely regarded as Haiti’s leading human rights lawyer, on Tuesday, February 9.  Joseph will present a film; “Baseball in the Time of Cholera,” at 7 p.m. in Prosser Auditorium (Haupert Union Building) and lead a discussion along with Brian Concannon, executive director, Institute for Justice & Democracy, Haiti. The honorary degree will be conferred at the conclusion of a program. The public is welcome to attend and admission is free of charge.

Joseph has led the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port-au-Prince since 1996, During more than 20 years of human rights work, Mr. Joseph has spearheaded historic human rights cases, including the Raboteau Massacre trial in 2000, hailed as one of the most important human rights cases ever in the Western Hemisphere, and Yvon Neptune v. Haiti, the first Haitian case ever decided by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Joseph’s advocacy has come at great risk, and he has twice been the subject of Amnesty International alerts, driven by concern for his safety. He has received many death threats; has witnessed the arrest and murder of many of his friends, colleagues, and clients; and has seen his country devastated by the 2010 earthquake and the cholera outbreak that followed in the earthquake’s aftermath.

Joseph grew up poor in rural Haiti; his house had no electricity, and the water for his home came from an irrigation ditch that is now infected with cholera. He learned first-hand how the inability to enforce fundamental political, civil, economic, and social rights condemns poor people to generations of poverty. Despite constant dangers and threats, Joseph has remained steadfast in his dedication to the poor and under-served citizens of his homeland, where he persists in the fight against poverty, inequality, and political violence.

“Baseball in the Time of Cholera,”  a powerful 29-minute documentary that tells the true story of 14 year-old Joseph Alvyns and the ways in which the cholera epidemic changed his young life forever. Baseball also prominently features Mario Joseph’s tireless work to achieve justice for victims of cholera. This film has brought Haitians’ fight for justice to the world stage. It won the 2012 Best Documentary Short Special Jury Mention at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Prosser Auditorium is located in the Haupert Union Building (HUB) near the corner of Monocacy and Locust Streets in Bethlehem, Pa. Moravian College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. Anyone needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided please contact Intercultural Advancement at prior to the event.

The event is part of Moravian College’s IN FOCUS program for 20-15-16 which is examining issues related to poverty and inequality.  It is sponsored by the Moravian College English Department, IN FOCUS program, Office of Intercultural Advancement & Global Inclusion, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the President.

Moravian College is a private coeducational liberal arts college, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. For over 274 years, the Moravian College degree has been based on a liberal arts curriculum where literature, history, cultural values and global issues, ethics, and aesthetic expression and the social sciences are infused with multidisciplinary perspectives. Visit to learn more.


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