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Press Release


OAS Co-Hosts Virtual Educa Meeting in Dominican Republic

  June 28, 2010

The Organization of American States (OAS), through its Department of Human Development, Education and Culture (DHDEC), invited representatives of Haitian universities and other institutions in the Americas to the annual meeting of Virtual Educa in the Dominican Republic, an event was co-sponsored by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE).

Virtual Educa was held as part of the Multilateral Initiative of Education for Human Development (MIEHD) and is part of the hemispheric organization’s efforts to support Haiti and its people in the reconfiguration and revitalization of its higher education system.

Among those in attendance were the President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez; the Minister of Higher Education in the Dominican Republic, Ligia Amada Melo; the Director of the Department of Human Development, Education and Culture, Mrs. Maria Levens; the OAS Representative in Panama, Mrs. Abigail Castro de Perez; and the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the State University of Haiti.

The representatives of the Haitian universities gave a picture of the current state of higher education in Haiti and offered their vision for its rebuilding. They emphasized distance education as one of the tools that can be used eventually to improve higher education.

The Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the State University of Haiti and the Assistant Dean of Engineering at University Quisqueya called for the creation of a blended model using video conferencing and on-site tutoring. This model will give flexibility to Haitian expatriates and other professors from sister universities who wish to help in the rebuilding efforts.

The UWI-Open Campus, for its part, is willing to help train teachers. According to its representatives, professors are readily available to overcome challenges such as the language barrier.

The Minister of Higher Education of the Dominican Republic concluded the event by enumerating some of her Government’s higher education initiatives for Haiti, including the creation of a bi-national commission to structure a legal framework for higher education; the building of a new university campus in the northern region of the country; and the award of tuition waivers and scholarships to Haitian teachers.

For its part, the OAS Department of Human Development, Education and Culture recently created an Emergency Scholarship Program for Haiti. A senior staff member will lead a fact-finding mission to Haiti within the next month to discuss with top officials and stakeholders the country’s development priorities, higher education and vocational training needs as well as labor market needs. The OAS wishes to partner with institutions and individuals that are interested in strengthening human development in Haiti.

For information on how to partner with the OAS to implement the Emergency Scholarship Program for Haiti, please contact Jeanelle van GlaanenWeygel, senior specialist in the Department of Human Development, Education and Culture and program manager of the Emergency Scholarship Program for Haiti at jvanglaanenweygel@oas.org or tel. 202 458 3890.

For more information, visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Reference: E-256/10