Canadian Delegation in Haiti

michaellejeanAn important Canadian delegation led by Haitian Special Envoy of UNESCO in Haiti, Michaëlle Jean (shown above) will be on an exploratory visit to the country until December 4, 2012. The visit will seek partnerships to support Haiti and to participate in the development of the country in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

One of the projects—led by Mayor of Quebec Régis Labeaume—will help reconstruct better spaces to accommodate local firefighters, who are now housed in barracks, under-equipped, and under-trained. Labeaume invited Richard Poitras, Director of Protection against Fire, and Marika Vachon, architect and coordinator of the management of buildings in the city of Quebec, to join him to discuss infrastructure and equipment their counterparts in Port-au-Prince. Labeaume will conduct a fundraising campaign to restore in the Haitian capital a fire department that can respond appropriately and professionally to emergencies. Sylvie Beauvais, Alain Charpentier, and Gilles Surprenant, who are sent by the sister city of Ottawa, will assess the training needs of Haitian firefighters.

Moreover, Moshe Safdie, Canadian architect of international renown, will examine the work and projects underway across the country and offer his expertise where needed. Jean-François Fountaine, president of the Federation of Nautical Industries of France and CEO of Fountaine-Pajot (a company that builds large catamarans) will offer his services to boaters that sail the Caribbean Sea and will see to the development of maritime professions, which have been completely unexploited.

On the other hand, Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Culture, will consider the work of the Haitian authorities and projects carried out in partnership with the international organization for the promotion of the heritage and cultural treasures of Haiti, including the historic center of Jacmel and Historic National Park in the north of the country, which has the largest fortress in the Caribbean, Citadelle Laferrière, as well as the Sans Souci Palace and the Ramiers site—all listed as World Heritage sites.

Michaëlle Jean is delighted to support such efforts in Haiti. According to her, the team believes in the ability of the population to recover. She states, “Each member of the delegation will discover the rich potential and priceless treasures just waiting to be utilized in Haiti to provide jobs and decent living conditions for a better future in an area where nearly a million people live. Prevention will help avoid future disasters.”

Meanwhile, at the invitation of the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie, the UNESCO Special Envoy will be present at the opening of two online campuses, one for the State University of Haiti and the other for Quisqueya University, which will take place on December 3. These campuses are part of the education plan for distance education in Haiti, with a view to contribute to the strengthening of higher education and allow teachers and students alike to have access to resources and services offered online by the institutions involved.

For full article (in French), see

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