Launch of the first UNESCO Chair in Haiti

The Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies of Haiti (ISTEAH) launched on Thursday, June 17, 2021, the UNESCO Chair “Women and Science for Development”, the first UNESCO Chair initiated in Haiti.

“We want to increase the presence of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through systemic campaigns and awareness-raising activities at all levels of the Haitian educational system, from elementary school to university”; it is in these terms that Dr. Rose Michel Smith presented the main objective of the Chair in her capacity as chairholder. A fighter with an extraordinary career that Dr. Samuel Pierre, President of ISTEAH, was able to capture in his introductory remarks which perfectly highlighted all the work done to achieve this result.

According to Dr. Bernard Fusilier, President of the International Steering Committee, this Chair will help fight and deconstruct stereotypes and counter the hidden filters that prevent many girls and women from developing their talents for the benefit of science and society, ensuring equal access to science and scientific careers in order to profoundly change society and make it better.

“In Haiti, only 2% of school children have the chance to go to university, of which 0.7% are women.” With these words, Dr. Suze Lubin Youance, President of the Scientific Council of the Chair, argued that this is a tool capable of strengthening the network of women scientists in Haiti and encourage young girls to pursue a scientific career. Indeed, Dr. Youance believes that the fields related to science are areas of the future and represent levers for women to address major development issues in Haiti.

In his speech on the occasion, the head of UNESCO’s office in Haiti, Elmehdi Ag Muphtah, stressed that this chair imposes a new concept of collective responsibility by obliging Haitian women scientists to engage in this mission of raising awareness of young girls to scientific careers.

Launched in the presence of the Director General of the Ministry of National Education, Mr. Meniol Jeune, members of the Scientific Council, the International Steering Committee and representatives of UNESCO, this Chair, according to the wish of the initiators, must among other things encourage collaboration between academics and researchers at all levels to improve the quality of women’s studies and strengthen their leadership and influence in high-level positions in various fields.

The UNESCO Chair “Women and Science for Development” in Haiti joins the prestigious network of over 800 Chairs worldwide, of which less than 15 are dedicated to research on women and science.

All UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN networks are invited to participate before, during and after the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education 2022 by generating and sharing knowledge and promoting policy dialogue at national, regional and global levels.


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