Gerald Murray is an anthropologist retired from the University of Florida and still active in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Israel, and Palestine. He has worked in more than a dozen countries and has studied 16 languages (including some fairly dead ones like Latin, Aramaic, and Biblical Greek). His major research has been in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He directed a tree-planting project in which more than 300,000 Haitian farm families voluntarily planted trees on their own land. In post-earthquake Haiti, he visited affected villages and helped an NGO shift from short-term relief to long- term development. On a subsequent trip he and his wife, using their own resources, established a scholarship program for 80 village children.
Murray holds a BA from Harvard and a PhD in anthropology from Columbia. His teaching, books, and articles have focused on the Caribbean, linguistics, and religion—including religious violence. He has written more than 60 applied anthropological reports for 28 organizations, such as the World Bank, UNESCO, Inter-American Development Bank, USAID, the Peace Corps, and the U.S. Southern Command. His Haiti writings deal with land tenure, emigration, market women, child trafficking, traditional healing, folk religion (Vodou), and other topics.
More recently, Murray switched focus from Creole and Spanish speakers to Hebrew and Arabic speakers in Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. He lived among Jews, Muslims, and Palestinian Christians (not at the same time, of course), trying to view life there from both sides of the barbed wire. The earthquake and the subsequent cholera outbreak brought him “back home” to Haiti.