Scholars, politicians and lay-leaders were in attendance at the opening of the Haitian Studies Institute, now an integral part of the academic offerings at City University of New York’s Brooklyn College.
The institute is billed as “a leading institute in the nation, contributing to the body of knowledge about Haitians and the Haitian Diaspora, and advancing the intellectual field of Haitian Studies through research, analysis of public policy, and scholarly practice impacting people of Haitian origin in New York State and other parts of the Haitian Diaspora.”
Brooklyn College President Dr. Michelle J. Anderson introduced Jean Eddy Saint Paul as the founding director of CUNY-HIS during the proceedings, which took place on Wednesday at the Flatbush Avenue campus of Brooklyn College.
“I am pleased to welcome scholar Jean Eddy Saint Paul to our community,” intoned Anderson, adding, “Brooklyn is home to the largest number of foreign-born Haitians in New York City, and the largest concentration of Haitian-owned businesses and community-based organizations in New York State. Dr. Saint Paul’s experience and knowledge will help him make the Haitian Studies Institute at Brooklyn College a global intellectual center.”
Saint Paul is from Haiti and has written many scholarly articles and chapters, as well as two books, The Militias in Haiti: Sociology of Chimè and Tontons Macoutes, about Haiti and the Haitian diaspora.
The realization of the dream of the HIS was in no small part due to the political support of Rodneyse Bichotte, Assemblywoman of the 42nd District of the New York State Assembly.
Visibly moved during the ceremony was Peter Helder Bernard, the Consul General of the Republic of Haiti in New York. The choice of Brooklyn College, his alma mater, affected him greatly.