Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Haiti program looks to rebuild

One student in the School of Public Affairs’ Public Financial Management program on Haiti died in last month’s earthquake. The other 19 are safe, though many suffered personal losses.

The student, Bernard Claude Alcinor, is confirmed to have died, according to William LeoGrande, dean of SPA. A number of other students lost family members and their homes.

The program is expected to resume, possibly in another location, according to LeoGrande.

The part of the Haitian Central Bank where the program was based was destroyed in the earthquake. The bank lost staff and family members, LeoGrande said. Still, AU plans to complete the program, even if it will be moved to another location.

“We have expressed AU’s condolences to the bank’s leadership for the losses they have sustained among staff and families,” LeoGrande said. “And we have reiterated our determination to bring the program to a successful conclusion as soon as conditions permit.”

Rubens Lacerd, a student in the program, said he is upset about the impact the earthquake had on the program.

“I must say that the earthquake has put an end to one of the most extraordinary and rewarding experiences of my life,” he said. “The hardest thing is that I know nothing about [the program’s] future.”

Lacerd said at least eight other students in the program have expressed determination to finish it.

“One of them, who lost his wife, told me that his pain will give him more determination,” Lacerd said. “He said the program is a way to rebuild Haiti and consequently to provide a better future for his daughter who is, for him, the living memory of his beloved wife.”

Jerry Rosarion, another student in the program, said he thinks all enrolled students would like to finish it, regardless of the earthquake’s destruction.

“I will really like to continue the program,” he said. “I think that almost every student enrolled in it has the same feeling.”

Rosarion hopes not only to finish the program, but to also acquire a master’s degree. He is willing to travel to wherever the program may be located to finish it because he finds the program’s education to be important in the development of Haiti.

“The SPA program is really important for the Haitian government since well-established policies are definitely a key element in the development of a country,” he said. “I also think that this program is well-oriented, and I have mastered various skills that I could definitely use as the country is facing a new start.”

Bernard Racine, a student in the program, believes continued education is more important to Haiti now than ever before. Racine is willing to travel anywhere to complete the program.

“Above all, the way Haiti is running now, it does needs new public policies,” he said. “You can understand how motivated we become to finish with the program.”

Lacerd said he feels similarly.

“I want you to know that I will do my best to affix my signature on the attendance sheet,” Lacerd said.

You can reach this staff writer at

Never miss a story.

Get our weekly newsletter in your inbox.