PIH co-founder and current Dartmouth College President Dr. Jim Yong Kim recently announced that Dartmouth will be accepting some undergraduate and graduate/professional school students displaced by Haiti's January 12 earthquake.
"We'll do everything we can so that their educational experience is not interrupted," Dr. Kim told Steven Zind of Vermont Public Radio. "If there's one thing Haiti does not need is to have its leaders have their educations thwarted in this process."
Dr. Kim said his decision was encouraged by fellow PIH co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer and President Bill Clinton, United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti. Officials at Dartmouth are still working out the details of this offer. Dr. Kim hopes that the announcement will encourage other colleges to do the same.
"Most likely, we will ask members of the Dartmouth Community to accept some students into their homes as we did for students affected by [Hurricane] Katrina,"said Molly Bode, a Dartmouth alumna and a Presidential Fellow in Global Studies & Higher Education, who is coordinating Dartmouth's Haiti response.
Before the earthquake, Port-au-Prince was home to a number of Haiti's major colleges and universities. These include Université d'État d'Haïti (The State University of Haiti), the country's largest university, Quisqueya University, and Université des Caraïbes (University of the Caribbean). In addition, there were also a number of smaller religious schools, including: Institution Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, École Sainte-Rose-de-Lima, École Saint-Jean-Marie Vianney, Institution du Sacré-Coeur, and Collège Anne-Marie Javouhey.
The full extent of each school's losses are not yet known, though images posted on Ecole Supérieure d'Infotronique d'Haiti's website suggest that damages will be extensive. Ecole Supérieure d'Infotronique d'Haiti's website is one of the few college
websites from the region to be updated since January 12.
Hundreds of colleges around the U.S. opened their doors to the tens of thousands of students displaced by Hurricane Katrina during the 2005-2006 academic year. Though students were removed from their home schools, the internet allowed students from the New Orleans area to stay at least partially connected to their home institutions.
It will be months before Haitian officials can fairly assess the medium to long-term impact the earthquake will have had on the capital city's colleges and universities.