Actor Sean Penn and Ken Keen Shine Spotlight on International Relief Efforts 4 4 Attending the post-event reception were (left to right) Deanna Witter, Ryan Keen, Gabrielle Davis, Ken Keen, Sean Penn, Rhaissa Germano and Melissa Welch. President Carole Cowan (above) presented a Middlesex sweatshirt to Sean Penn; Penn and Lt. Gen. Ken Keen onstage (below). n February, Middlesex hosted “Disaster Relief in Haiti and Beyond,” a special panel discussion about improving international response to natural disasters. I He remained in Haiti for three months to coordinate military relief efforts. It was during this time that Keen met and worked closely with Penn, whose organization helped bring medical and food supplies to Haiti. Since relief efforts began, a lot of progress has been made, but there is more to be done, said Penn. “I believe that 15 years from now, the people there will be having a much safer experience.” In 2012, Penn was designated Ambassador-at-large for Haiti, a first for a non-Haitian citizen. Barrios joined the panel to discuss how civilians, governments and nongovernmental organizations can work together to continue to provide relief to those affected by natural disasters. Panelists included U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, Commander of Joint Task Force Haiti; Sean Penn, Academy Award-winning actor and co-founder of the J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO); and Jarrett Barrios, CEO of the American Red Cross in Eastern Massachusetts. Keen discussed his experience in Haiti when the earthquake struck in January 2010, killing 300,000 people and severely injuring an additional 300,000 people. “It was evident immediately that we had just suffered a catastrophic event that would have a devastating impact.” Profiles After the panel discussion, Middlesex student Julie Quertenmont, President of the MCC International Club, presented Penn with a $3,000 check for J/P HRO. Five Middlesex student clubs raised $1,500 of the donation and the remainder was matched by the MCC Foundation. • Tura Linderholm [ 13 ]