CUNY Unanimously Approves the Creation of the Haitian Studies Institute (HSI)

Create: 05/07/2016 - 08:44
Brooklyn College
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, State Senator Kevin Parker, and Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams Speak on Their Gratitude 


(Brooklyn) On Monday, May 2 at their board meeting the CUNY Board of Trustees voted to unanimously approve the creation of the Haitian Studies Institute (HSI) at Brooklyn College.

Brooklyn is home to the largest concentration of people of Haitian descent in New York State. The Institute hopes to become a leading international research institute in Haitian Studies, supporting scholars and scholarship concerned with the discipline and to connect research through community outreach around policies that affect the lives of Haitian-Americans and Haiti.
"Last week marked an important occasion in the evolution of the Haitian Studies Institute with the opening ceremony of a two-day conference hosted by Brooklyn College and sponsored by the Haitian Studies Institute planning committee. I was joined by scholars, and other public officials to celebrate their contributions to the creation of this conference and the Institute. I was elated after hearing about the Board's decision. This is a dream come true," said Assemblymember Bichotte.

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte at Brooklyn College addressing the community, scholars, and other elected officials at the opening ceremony of a two-day conference hosted by Brooklyn College and sponsored by the planning committee of the Haitian Studies Institute  
"The Haitian Studies Institute would not exist had it not been for the contributions of a committed group of people. I want to start by acknowledging and thanking Vice Chancellor of CUNY, Jay Hershenson, as well as Dr. Karen GouldPresidentSteven SchechterExecutive Director of Governmental and External Affairs, and Dr. Richard GreenwaldDean of the School of Humanities and the Social Sciences -- all of Brooklyn CollegeThey were so receptive to the idea of this Institute, which had been looking for a home for many years, and finally took root here in the heart of one of New York's largest Haitian communities. I also want to thank the Executive Committee, the planning committee, the conference planning committee who put in so many hours over the past several months to bring all of this to fruition. Last, but not least, I want to thank State Senator Kevin ParkerCity Councilmember Jumaane D. WilliamsDr. Jean-Yves Plaisir, and Edu Hermelyn who have been incredibly supportive as well."

"I applaud the CUNY Board of Trustees and my colleagues in government for not only understanding the importance of establishing the Haitian Studies Institute at the City University of New York, but having the foresight to locate the Institute at Brooklyn College whose college community is home to the largest concentration of Haitian Creole speaking residents outside of Haiti.  I look forward to supporting the Institute's work on behalf of the Haitian community I represent and all New Yorkers across our great State," said State Senator Kevin Parker
"I'd like to thank the CUNY Trustees for voting in favor of creating a Haitian Studies Institute at Brooklyn College, and for the university's administration for working with the community in seeing this project through from conception to realization. Brooklyn and District 45 is home to a thriving Haitian community, which I am so proud to represent, and boasts the second largest population of Haitian Americans outside of Miami. For decades Haitian Americans have called Brooklyn home and have contributed to the borough's economic and cultural vitality. I look forward to the opening of HSI and the hiring of a Director in the near future as Haitian culture and contribution to our City is documented," Council Member Williams said.

"A search has already been underway to identify a Director of the Haitian Studies Institute in preparation for the CUNY Board of Trustees' decision. I am looking forward to meeting and working with that person, stated Bichotte."

Executive and Planning Committee of the Haitian Studies Institute

Dean Richard A. Greenwald 

Professor Jean-Yves Plaisir
School of Humanities and Social Science, Brooklyn College

Education @ BMCC
Professor François Pierre-Louis
Political Science @ Queens College
Professor Margarett Alexandre
Nursing @ York College
Professor Nicolas Biais
Science @ Brooklyn College
Professor Carolle Charles
Sociology @ Baruch College
Professor Jean F. Claude
Hospitality @ City Technical College
Professor Prudence Cumberbatch
Africana Studies @ Brooklyn College
Professor Frantz-Antoine Leconte
Modern Languages @ Kingsborough Community College   
Professor Clement MBom
Modern Languages @ Brooklyn College


The Haitian Studies Institute will act as a clearinghouse to document and disseminate the contributions of Haitian people. The Institute's research projects and outreach programs will help to enhance the university's strength in the area of Haitian Studies in general, while also drawing greater attention to people of Haitian origin in New York State and the United States as a specific focus for research. This includes the construction and dissemination of knowledge, and the advancement of Haitian studies through interdisciplinary research. It will also include the facilitation of collaboration among scholars, intellectuals, teachers and professors, students, and public agencies conducting research about and/or serving Haitian and other populations of the diaspora. Lastly, it will engage in policy analysis and research in order to better understand and shape policy and programs that impact the Haitian and Haitian-American communities.   


Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte represents the 42nd Assembly District in the New York State Assembly representing Brooklyn communities of Ditmas Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Midwood. She is currently the Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), and serves on the following committees: Housing, Government Operations, Economic Development, Small Businesses, Banks and Social Services. She is also the Vice Chair of the NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators and serves on Governor Cuomo's Domestic Violence Advisory Council.   
As the current Assemblymember and District Leader, Rodneyse Bichotte has been outspoken advocate on issues concerning immigration, unemployment, education reform, health care access, senior citizen centers, affordable housing, women's and LGBTQ rights, as well as other issues affecting the quality of life in the community.



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Staff Reporter,The NY Carib News