BUFFALO, N.Y. — Before the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, Haiti’s engineers and architects had received little, if any, formal training in seismic design and construction principles. Haitian universities didn’t offer any courses or programs that were dedicated to earthquake engineering.
Six months after the disaster, as the result of a partnership between the Université Quisqueya (UniQ) and the University at Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), approximately 200 Haitian engineers and architects will begin a new chapter in their professional lives, learning to incorporate seismic design into their work.
On Sept. 5-9, they will attend the Second Earthquake Engineering Seminar at the UniQ campus in Port-au-Prince, jointly sponsored by UniQ and MCEER; it follows up on the first one held in May and, due to popular demand, will repeat introductory lessons and include advanced training.
“The attitude of the engineers and architects in Haiti is extremely positive,” says Andre Filiatrault, PhD, MCEER director and UB professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, who is directing the September seminar; he also directed the first seminar that was held at UniQ in May. “They realize that engineering practice in Haiti must change and they are eager to get this change underway as soon as possible.”