The Association of Universities and Research Institutions of the Caribbean (UNICA) announced the appointment of University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor E. Nigel Harris as their new president. In his capacity as UNICA President, Professor Harris presented the UNICA Communiqué, which outlined the association’s recommitment to the development of the tertiary education sector in Haiti through advocacy in national, regional and international fora for financial support for higher education; the development of practical interventions to assist affected Haitian students and faculty; support for capacity building interventions to facilitate sustainable development; and the provision of expertise and experience for reconstruction and development efforts based on the needs articulated by the people of Haiti.
The new UNICA president stated that “There is legitimate concern that the response to the reconstruction of Haiti will be fragmented and not linked to the wishes of the Haitian people, themselves. In planning our intervention, we therefore recognize that our contribution must be focused and guided by the Haitian community. We are concentrating on the rebuilding of the tertiary education sector because we believe that Haiti’s recovery and repositioning will be very dependent on the expansion of its human knowledge resources and expertise. We have invited our Haitian colleagues to participate in these two days of meetings to share with us their critical perspectives on the way forward.” An action agenda will be developed for presentation to national, regional, and international organizations by April 15, 2010.
The declaration on Haiti was the culmination of the two days of UNICA meetings, hosted by The University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad. The UNICA conference, “Partnering for Sustainability” was held on March 15, 2010 at the UWI Institute of Critical Thinking. It focused specifically on mobilizing Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes to partner with Haiti in the rebuilding effort.
Speaking at the briefing was Professor Wilson Laleau Vice Rector, Academic Affairs, Université d’Etat d’Haïti, who expressed sincere thanks to UNICA on behalf of the people of Haiti, for its assistance and commitment to rebuilding the nation.
The conference and AGM were attended by representatives of the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute, and UNICA member institutions such as the University of Puerto Rico, the University of the West Indies, University of the Netherland Antilles, Anton De Kom University of Suriname, Universidad Latinomericana y del Caribe, University of the Virgin Islands, Instituto de Estudios Caribeños (Colombia); Université Notre-Dame d’ Haïti, Université Caraïbe, Université d’Etat d’Haïti, and Universidad Nacional de Colombia-San Andrés, among others.
For full article, see http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/article.php?news_id=22154
For a biography of E. Nigel Harris, see http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/files/53923/11860470335Nigel_Harris.pdf/Nigel%2BHarris.pdf