Stony Brook University is part of a statewide collaboration involving 10 SUNY campuses and five not-for-profit organizations to establish a sustainable village and learning community in Akayè, Haiti. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded SUNY a nearly $800,000 grant to support the project, which will develop educational, economic and social programs, resources, and other needed services on 40 acres of land donated by a Nassau Community College professor emeritus.
Stony Brook faculty and staff, under the direction of PI Dr. Christina Maxis, will bring expertise to the project in the area of health sciences. The other SUNY campuses involved include: University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY-ESF, Nassau Community College, SUNY New Paltz and Upstate Medical University.
“It is SUNY’s honor to be able to extend our hand in friendship to the people of Akayè through our shared focus on education while providing valuable learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff from throughout our system,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “This project began with a generous donation from Nassau Community College Professor Emeritus Dr. Carmelle Bellefleur. It is an enormous point of pride for SUNY to collaborate with the people of Haiti as we establish a sustainable learning community to farm the land and provide food, build a medical center to increase health and wellness, and deliver much-needed services and economic development across many sectors.”
“Chairman McCall, Kellogg Foundation President Montgomery Tabron and I recently had an opportunity to travel to Haiti to survey the land where the SUNY village will be developed and, more importantly, to hear first-hand from the people of Akayè about how our colleges and organizations can support the health, wellbeing and successful development of their community,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “SUNY’s capacity to serve communities throughout New York State and around the globe knows no bounds.”
“The people of Akayè know what it will take for their children and families to thrive,” said Montgomery Tabron. “We believe through this strong collaboration with SUNY, the people of Akayè, and we hope others, that this community will realize their vision.”
“Working in Haiti is an extension of how SUNY collaborates with other educational and cultural institutions to better fulfill its mission of education, research, development and services,” said Nassau Community College Professor Emeritus Dr. Carmelle Bellefleur. “New York State is home to the largest communities of Haitian decent in the country. Working in Haiti is in service to the diverse student body, faculty and communities SUNY embodies.”
The five not-for-profit organizations partnering on the project are: African Methodist Episcopal Church Service and Development Agency, Effort Commun Pour Le Developpement de L’Arcahaie, Haiti Development Institute, Hope on a String and YouthBuild International.
Click here to see more photos from the SUNY trip to Haiti in August.