PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons has announced a commitment to expand and enhance Brown’s current partnerships and educational programs with Haiti, following the devastating January earthquake in Port-au-Prince. Brown made its commitment in conjunction with the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, held earlier this week in New York City.
Focusing on restoring Haiti’s health, education, and cultural sectors, the initiatives will help address Haitian pediatric medical education, strengthen Haitian studies at Brown and in the United States, and preserve and disseminate online the rich library of Haitian colonial materials currently housed at Brown’s John Carter Brown Library.
“Eight months ago, the Brown community responded effectively with fundraising and addressing immediate needs in the wake of the disaster. Now we have an obligation to leverage and expand the strength and depth of Brown’s Haiti programs as part of the reconstruction effort,” Simmons said.
Brown is making its commitment in three areas: the Brown-Haiti Medical Exchange; Brown Haitian Studies Initiatives; and the John Carter Brown Library’s “Remember Haiti” Initiative.
Under the Brown-Haiti Medical Exchange, the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University will collaborate with St. Damien Hospital in Tabarre, Haiti, to address the unmet need of providing domestic pediatric clinical rotations to Haitian medical students. Brown faculty will create pediatric curricula to teach a three-week academic rotation for eight Haitian medical students this spring. By next year, the program will expand to have six Alpert medical students rotate to Haiti.
The Brown Haitian Studies Initiatives will build on the work of Brown’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, one of the leading Haitian studies programs in the world. As the only U.S. institution of higher education that offers two years of Creole language instruction, Brown will expand its curriculum to include advanced Creole courses. Additional courses in Haitian history, culture, and politics will also be developed and taught. These efforts will assist in keeping this history at the forefront of U.S. interest and commitment.
Additionally, the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University launched its “Remember Haiti” website in May 2010, which allowed unprecedented access to rare documents, books, and maps related to Haiti’s culture and history. The JCB holds one of the most important collections in the United States relating to Haiti and its predecessor colony, Saint Domingue, but until now, most Haitians did not have access to these materials — documents that tell the story of Haiti’s emergence as a nation. The JCB now intends to commit to a second phase of “Remember Haiti,” designed to expand the teaching of Haiti’s history within Haitian schools. Brown will send ambassadors — recent Brown alumni, conversant in Creole — to introduce Haitian educators and schoolchildren to the website and materials. Proposed plans also include developing teacher kits in Creole and leading efforts within the United States to bring the teaching of Haiti’s history into American classrooms.
“As a university with a scholarly commitment to the history, culture, and languages of Haiti, and as a university engaged in developing solutions to social challenges around the globe, Brown is already deeply involved in education about Haiti and, with these expanded programs, ready to help rebuild Haiti’s educational system,” Simmons said.
More information on the Clinton Global Initiative is available at www.clintonglobalinitiative.org. This year, CGI is emphasizing initiatives that focus on Haiti’s long-term recovery and redevelopment.