Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, post-earthquake Haiti is seeing its fair share of innovation with an influx of business and education opportunities emerging. In January 2010 , Léogâne, a port town about 35 miles southwest of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, was devastated when the earthquake epicenter hit the community.Despite the destruction caused by the quake, three years later, plans to build an international university are in the works at the very site where so much was lost only a few years ago.
The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation and the United Nations’ social club Aux Antilles hosted the second annual “International University Center Haiti Gala” and silent auction on Nov. 10 at the Bohemian National Club in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Special recognition was given to Congressman Charles B. Rangel and Kathleen Felix, general director of Kanpe Foundation for their commitment to Haiti.
With more than 200 guests in attendance, proceeds from the benefit went to supporting the construction of the International University Center Haiti (Uni Haiti), which includes four campuses along rue de Croix in Leogane.
“Relationships are integral to both human life and to international development,” Jim Luce, founder of the James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation said in a letter to attendees. “International development today must be a collaboration of all sectors, nations and peoples.”
Once constructed, Uni Haiti will serve as the Haitian campus of International University Center, which is a participant of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI). In 2010, the United Nations launched an education initiative to promote “a new culture of intellectual social responsibility,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said about the initiative.
“No matter what country you’re in, education is the only way,” said Dr. Janet Taylor, a mental health expert and director of guest support team for “The Jeremy Kyle Show.” “The reality is no matter where you’re from, there’s a common thread that is opportunity and hope.”
The proceeds from the gala will help fund the reconstruction of the sanitation facilities of l’Ecole la Rédemption, Uni Haiti’s partner school, in Leogane, Haiti.
“Galas are wonderful ways to get publicity for what you’re doing,” said Andrew B. Stein, founder and executive chairman of The Orphaned Starfish Foundation, “but what’s really important is the follow up. Every little bit makes a difference. If you give $5 or $5 million, if you give your time…it makes a difference.”
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