Brooklyn College will be home to a leading center for Haitian Studies
Noted Scholar Dr. Jean Eddy Saint Paul Will Head the CUNY School’s New Haitian Studies Institute
The borough that has long been the nexus of the city’s Haitian community will now be the site of what’s being touted as a leading source of knowledge about the Caribbean island nation, its people and culture.
Brooklyn College President Michelle J. Anderson was joined by state Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte and City Councilmember Jumaane Williams in welcoming noted scholar and author Dr. Jean Eddy Saint Paul as the founding director of the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Haitian Studies Institute at Brooklyn College.
“I conceive the Haitian Studies Institute as an academic unit to improve research about Haiti and the diaspora community,” Saint Paul said Wednesday at a noon ceremony at the Flatbush school. “My commitment is to work to establish a leading research center with national and international recognition.”
Officials are predicting that the institute “will be a leading institute … contributing to the body of knowledge about Haitians and the Haitian diaspora, and advancing the intellectual field of Haitian Studies.”
Noting that Brooklyn is home to 62,500 foreign-born Haitians — “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” — Anderson said, “Dr. Saint Paul’s experience and knowledge will help him make the Haitian Studies Institute at Brooklyn College a global intellectual center.”
Saint Paul, a native of Haiti, authored the book “The Militias in Haiti: Sociology of Chimè and Tontons Macoutes,” as well as numerous articles about the often-tumultuous politics and social conditions in his homeland.
He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from El Colegio de Mexico. He has also been a visiting scholar at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia.
Bichotte, who championed the establishment of the institute at the college, said Saint Paul “brings a wealth of experience, both domestic and international, as well as a keen understanding of [Haiti’s] social development, structure and its problems.” She thanked a long list of CUNY officials “for making this milestone possible.”
Williams, a Brooklyn College alumnus, said there was “no better place to house the institute other than Brooklyn College, which is so close our borough’s very own ‘Little Haiti.’ I look forward to the opening of the institute and their work researching and documenting Haitian culture.”
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