Day 4 - A UNIQ opportunity to effect change from the ground up! Working with students from Université Quisqueya, Haiti


Figure 1. Memorial for the fourteen victims that died at the university during the earthquake of January 12, 2010. With an estimated 300,000 people dying on that event, the earthquake literally touched all Haitians and even if the topic is not brought in everyday conversations, it is still present in their daily lives. These fourteen victims, including students, professors, and office workers were at the university when the tragedy occurred and now the university made this memorial for them.
Quisqueya University is one of the main centers of higher learning in Haiti. It is a private university that emerged from the earthquake with a vision to rebuild itself with an international scope. And it has. Université Quisqueya (UNIQ) now brands itself as a unique institution in the country that is open for academic collaboration at the national and international level to help with the different organizations working in the country and to provide an international connection to its students so they may receive a global exposure. Société Audubon Haiti collaborates closely with UNIQ by providing technical knowledge and academic advice and UNIQ currently provides in kind services such as office space, utilities and access to Internet.

Figure 2a and 2b. The classrooms of the completely renovated Université Quisqueya are build as hurricane and earthquake resistant buildings and are the first to also have energy and water saving measures in place. The architectural structure also resembles a colonial theme, but the buildings are energy efficient and resistant to the elements.
Today we visited Université Quisqueya to develop a plan with Professor Joaneson Lacour, Director of International Affairs at UNIQ, and who recently visited us as one of the delegates from Haiti that came the Philadelphia Zoo this past September as part of the Summit on the Conservation Strategy of Haitian frogs. We will collaborate with UNIQ, who will host several workshops for us during the duration of our project and decide the date of my first talk here in Haiti. UNIQ is very well prepared to aid in our project, since several students are specializing in areas such as Language and Interpretation (Langue et interpretariat), Management and protection of the environment (Aménagement/protection de l’environnement) and Special Liscence in Social Education (Licence specialize en Sc de l’Education).

The first workshop will be held in the coming weeks, before my departure to Puerto Rico and then the Dominican Republic, where I will continue to work towards building capacity and promoting amphibian conservation in the Caribbean, specifically in the island of Quisqueya, also known as Hispaniola.
We are looking forward to this collaboration between the institutions and are eager to begin our work in Haiti.