KIGALI - Five Haitian students arrived in the country yesterday morning to pursue undergraduate studies in social sciences and business administration at the National University of Rwanda (NUR), after Rwanda offered them full scholarships.
A communiqué from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the scholarship is “in the framework of South–South Cooperation Development and in line with a special relationship between Rwanda and Haiti.”
The five – Nicolenstia Bateau, Wendy Bianca Jean-Ulysse, Ambroise Jean-Louis, Jean-Max Marcellus, and Estivens Fleury, are Haitian university students displaced by the country’s January 12, 2010 earthquake, and were selected by the Haitian Government.
“The scholarship programme is a joint undertaking of the governments of Rwanda and Haiti, and the Haiti-Rwanda Commission and is one of a number of programmes to be undertaken by the two countries,” reads part of the ministry’s communiqué.
The communiqué notes that the earthquake destroyed up to 95 percent of the State University of Haiti’s infrastructure and killed 400 faculty members and as many as 5,000 students.
Thousands of university students remain unable to continue their studies.
The Haiti-Rwanda Commission, established in 2010, aims to harness lessons from the Rwandan experience in Haiti’s rebuilding process and to expand the informal partnerships already existing between the two countries.
“Rwanda has been an extraordinary friend to Haiti in a time of tragedy, and we are grateful for this generous offer of support,” Didi Bertrand Farmer, the Coordinator of the Haiti-Rwanda Commission is quoted as saying.
“Rwanda has a unique appreciation of the role of the youth in the rebuilding process, and we are confident that these students will bring back important lessons from the country’s progress to the service of our country.”
The commission serves as a bilateral mechanism for advancing cooperation between the two nations, drawing on joint efforts to promote health and social wellbeing that were in place prior to the earthquake.
A key goal of the Commission is to foster the development of a new generation of leaders in Haiti. The scholarship programme is the first in a series of activities planned for 2011.
Meanwhile, Rwanda has already committed a contingent of 200 police officers under the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), to assist in escort duties; provide security to VIPs and humanitarian assistance and security of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
According to Police Spokesperson, Supt. Eric Kayiranga, another group of 40 Rwandan police officers will soon join them.
Other officers serving in Haiti are five prison warders with 10 more expected to join the group.