Institute for Educational Initiatives supporting recovery of schooling in Haiti

Author: Bill Schmitt

Haiti Earthquake

The University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI) and Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) are making major contributions to support Haiti’s recovery from the earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010. One initiative to rebuild educational infrastructure is placing shovels in the ground this week.

That work is underway at the Basil Moreau School, a distinguished primary and secondary school complex in Port-au-Prince that was hit hard by the earthquake. At the school, administered by the Congregation of Holy Cross and serving an impoverished community, the secondary education section was destroyed and the primary school suffered major structural damage.

Now, repair is getting under way at the primary school, thanks to the work of an international task force of Holy Cross priests and brothers, chaired by the current Superior General of the congregation, Rev. Richard Warner, C.S.C., with support from Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., director of the IEI. They have made substantial progress in raising funds and coordinating the rebuilding effort. The initiative will extend to the secondary school, where architectural design work to rebuild and expand it is also under way.

In another relief project in that country, a partnership including Notre Dame and ACE is establishing a Teacher Institute that will educate the next generation of Haitian schoolteachers. With help from Catholic Relief Services, the international humanitarian agency, a network of partners has been coming together to develop administrative structures and consider sites that would enable an innovative, ambitious approach to teacher education.

Many of the country’s primary and secondary schoolteachers today have little or no formal training. The priests and brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross, who founded Notre Dame in Indiana, have earned a reputation of educational excellence while serving in Haiti since 1944. They plan to lead the new program of teacher education with help from ACE, which is recognized as a major force in the United States forming tomorrow’s Catholic school leaders. Other partners in the project include Haiti’s Ministry of Education and universities in Quebec, Canada.

A variety of other relief, service and planning activities conducted by Notre Dame units continue to bring hope amidst much suffering in Haiti.

“Quality education is the sine qua non for rebuilding a better Haiti,” Father Scully said. “That is why ACE and the IEI are committed to supporting educational rebuilding and renewal in Haiti with our partners in the Congregation of Holy Cross. We believe that, together, through efforts like rebuilding Basil Moreau School and supporting the development of a new Teacher Institute, we can offer a brighter future for the children of Haiti.”

An opportunity to contribute to the earthquake recovery effort and more information can be found at

Contact: Bill Schmitt, media specialist, 574-631-3893, wschmitt@nd.ed