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After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, City University of New York (CUNY) Chancellor Matthew Goldstein recruited CUNY faculty and staff to lead a university-wide effort to support the people and institutions of Haiti. A CUNY-wide Advisory Group was convened and began meeting with Haitian educators and government officials. Partners agreed that CUNY would initially support the development and consolidation of Haiti’s public university network in the regions to emphasize decentralizing higher education, promoting greater access, broadening workforce development opportunities and strengthening regional economies. One facet of this effort would be scholarship support for exemplary students at these public universities in Haiti.

The Kennedy Fellow Program at CUNY, established by John F. Kennedy, Jr. in 1989, provided scholarships and career mentoring to frontline workers in the health, education, and human service fields who are attending college. Previously replicated in countries such as Jamaica and Ireland, the Kennedy Fellows program was implemented in post-earthquake Haiti, beginning in 2011. While fidelity to the Kennedy Fellows model was taken into account, consideration of national differences in employment rates and workforce development models contributed to development of localized adaptation. In-country conferences hosted in 2012 and 2013 enabled student-facing dialogue and mixed methods data collection. This chapter provides rich description about the background and internationalization of the program, contextualized implementation in Haiti, programmatic differentiation, and notes from the field for international educators interested in support of higher education models at emerging universities. Analysis of students’ perception of gender, language and academic environment are featured, as well as notes for future work.


Thanks to Dr. William Ebenstein for leadership in this effort.



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