The road to establishing a Haitian Studies Institute housed at Brooklyn College is approaching a successful close.
Nearly two years in the works, the proposal to establish the academic-focused institute is being finalized.
Assistant Vice President of Brooklyn College’s Communications and Marketing Office, Jason Carey, said he is excited and hopeful that the proposal will receive the final sign-off in the spring.
“We’re anticipating that the proposal will go through and be approved in the spring. I think it’s aggressive but we’re very hopeful that will happen,” Carey said.
Choosing Brooklyn College as the home base for this institute was an easy one. Brooklyn is home to the largest Caribbean population in New York, Haitians in particular.
The university’s own population reflects a large Haitian base at both the student and faculty levels, which helped in the conversations pushing the idea to fruition.
“The conversation has started and stalled but more recently started to gain a lot of traction in the field of Haitian studies in particular from our perspective, the Brooklyn College perspective because of the large Haitian population in Brooklyn,” Carey explained.
Like the Dominican Studies Institute, the Haitian Studies Institute will be academic-focused and operate as a hub for research. The hope is that the institute will encourage research at the international level, inviting scholars worldwide to meet, discuss, and find support.
“Like other institutes, it’s an academic-focused institute in particular the study of Haiti and Haitian people in the diaspora. I think the primary goal is for the institute to establish itself as a leading research center at an international level, which is really important,” Carey said.
Above all else, the institute is hopeful to achieve research that is useful at an academic level and shows the impact different cultures and people have in the diaspora.
“I think it’s really about making sure what the research institute does is relevant, useful at an academic level and elevates the seriousness of study at CUNY for this particular school and in a general way to really take a focused academic look at the impact of a particular culture and people,” he said.
While the proposal floats until it is officially pushed through by the chancellor, support for this institute continues to pour in via anecdotes and documented signatures.
“I think this will be a big win for Brooklyn,” Carey said. “As Haiti evolves, I think this institute will really help prepare scholarly research and support for Haiti.”