History of the UC Haiti Initiative (UCHI)
The earthquake that devastated Haiti on January of 2010 took over 250,000 lives, including over 18,000 highly skilled professionals. As global citizens, a group of University of California students began constructing a unique model for assistance with the support of faculty and administrators from throughout the system. Understanding that if properly organized the aggregate talents of the University of California could serve as one of the most powerful development clusters in the world, in February of 2010 these students began organizing the UC’s “power of ten” campuses to serve our Haitian brothers and sisters; students and faculty from throughout our system officially established the University of California Initiative in the fall of 2010. To date, UCHI has realized something special that has garnered the active support of all 10 UC campuses and is officially recognized by all ten UC Chancellors, UC Office of the President and the UC Global Health Initiative.
UCHI partners with Haiti’s largest public institution of higher learning, the Universite d’Etat d’Haiti (UEH), which lost hundreds of lives and 90% of its physical infrastructure in the 2010 quake. With UCHI chapters at each campus actively coordinating scores of students, faculty and administrators, we assist our Haitian peers in a variety of critically important sectors. Through its partnership with UEH, and by virtue of the strong, cross-UC student and faculty engagement, UCHI is effectively leveraging UC resources and brokering lasting collaborations with our UEH counterparts.
International governments and organizations are not yet prioritizing higher education in their plans for Haitian reconstruction. However, UCHI understands the pivotal role these educational centers will play in supporting the long-term prosperity and stability of the country of Haiti.