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Haitian scholar is founding director of new institute

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A top college with the City University of New York (CUNY) has officially welcomed internationally-noted scholar and author Dr. Jean Eddy Saint Paul as the founding director of the new CUNY Haitian Studies Institute (CUNY-HSI).

Brooklyn College, which will host the institute, said CUNY-HSI will be “a leading institute in the nation, contributing to the body of knowledge about Haitians and the Haitian Diaspora, and advancing the intellectual field of Haitian Studies through research, analysis of public policy, and scholarly practice impacting people of Haitian origin in New York State and other parts of the Haitian Diaspora.”

“I am pleased to welcome scholar Jean Eddy Saint Paul to our community,” said Brooklyn College President Dr. Michelle J. Anderson at a reception on the college’s Flatbush, Brooklyn campus last Wednesday.

“Brooklyn is home to 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. Dr. Saint Paul’s experience and knowledge will help him make the Haitian Studies Institute at Brooklyn College a global intellectual center.”

Brooklyn College said Saint Paul, who hails from Haiti, is the author of The Militias in Haiti: Sociology of Chimè and Tontons Macoutes, in addition to dozens of articles and book chapters.

His broad-ranging scholarship encompasses such topics as state and social policies; democracy, civil society, the politics of memory, and citizenship in Haiti and the Caribbean; religious pluralism and democracy; and sociology of crime and violence in the Haitian State, Brooklyn College said.

“I send a warm welcome to Dr. Jean Eddy Saint Paul for joining the faculty at Brooklyn College and applaud him on his new position as the founding director of the Haitian Studies Institute at CUNY,” said New York State Sen. Kevin Parker, representative for the 21st Senatorial District in Brooklyn.

“With his experience and expertise, Dr. Saint Paul is an excellent choice to lead an institute dedicated to the study of the rich and vibrant history and culture of the Republic of Haiti,” he added. “As an elected representative of a district that is home to one of the largest populations of Haitians outside of the republic, I have always taken great pride in their heritage and customs, as I do my own. As such, I am eager to work with Dr. Saint Paul and the institute to realize its mission.”

“I would like to welcome Dr. Jean Eddy Saint Paul to Brooklyn, Brooklyn College, and my assembly district, and congratulate him as the founding director of the Haitian Studies Institute,” said New York State Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, who was in the vanguard of pushing for the establishment of the institute.

“Dr. Jean Eddy Saint Paul brings a wealth of experience, both domestic and international, as well as a keen understanding of social development, structure, and its problems,” said the daughter of Haitian immigrants.

“I also want to thank CUNY Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson; former Brooklyn College President Karen Gould; the new president of Brooklyn College, Michelle J. Anderson; Brooklyn College Executive Director of Government & External Affairs Steven Schechter; the planning and search committees; Dr. Jean Yves Plaisir; Edu Hermelyn; and the many other partners that have made this milestone possible, including my colleagues State Senator Kevin Parker, and City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams,” Bichotte continued. “This is another significant milestone in a process that has been long in the making, for which I am very grateful.”

Brooklyn College alumnus and New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, whose parents hail from Grenada, said he was “proud to represent a district that is home to a thriving Haitian community.

“For decades, Haitian Americans have called Brooklyn home and have contributed to the borough’s economic and cultural vitality,” said the representative for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn. “I’m happy to have helped support Assembly Member Bichotte in making this idea come into fruition.

“There’s no better place to house the institute other than Brooklyn College, which is so close to our borough’s very own ‘Little Haiti,’” Williams added. “I congratulate the new executive director, Jean Eddy Saint Paul, and wish him success in this new position. I look forward to the opening of the institute and their work researching and documenting Haitian culture, and its contribution to our city.”

Most recently, Brooklyn College said Saint Paul was a professor of sociology and politics at the University of Guanajuato, in Mexico.

He served for 12 years as head of the library and as a member of the faculty of human sciences at the State University of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Brooklyn College said.

It said Saint Paul holds a Ph.D. in sociology from El Colegio de México, and was the first Haitian to do so. He also holds a Master of Arts in Latin American studies from Javeriana Pontificia University in Bogotá, Colombia and a Bachelor of Arts in social work from the State University of Haiti.

Brooklyn College noted that Saint Paul has been a visiting scholar at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, at the University of Virginia, and a visiting fellow at the Centre d’èstudes et de recherches internationals in Paris.

“I conceive the Haitian Studies Institute as an academic unit to improve research about Haiti and the Diaspora community,” Saint Paul said. “My commitment is to work to establish a leading research center with national and international recognition. This new institution has tremendous need for financial contributions to create a visiting professorship, a digital library, and a first-class academic website as a resource for researchers.”

Although the CUNY-HSI will be a multi-focal institute that will draw on contributions from various CUNY campuses, Brooklyn College said the institute will be based at its campus. Brooklyn College said Brooklyn is home to 62,500 foreign-born Haitians.

Brooklyn College said the institute’s three-fold mission is to contribute to the body of knowledge about Haitians and the Haitian Diaspora, and advance the intellectual field of Haitian Studies through interdisciplinary research and practice; facilitate a community of and collaboration with emerging scholars, public intellectuals, university professors and students, school teachers, and educational institutions conducting research on, or otherwise serving, Haiti and the Haitian Community; and engage in analysis and research practice to better understand policy and programs directed at Haiti and the Haitian community.

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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