BLACKSBURG, Va., April 8, 2010 – The Honorable Raymond Joseph, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, will visit Virginia Tech on April 15 and 16 to meet with university students and faculty and Blacksburg community organizations that have taken part in educational and disaster-relief efforts in Haiti.
Joseph’s visit will begin on April 15 with a showcase of service projects by Virginia Tech students, to be on display in Burruss Hall beginning at 3:30 p.m. The display is being coordinated by the Cranwell International Center and the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships.
John Dooley, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs, will discuss the university’s role in educational initiatives in Haiti in Burruss 210 at 4 p.m. Editor's note: This event, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., has been canceled due to a scheduling conflict.
“The ambassador’s visit is important to us in part because of our longstanding relationships on many levels in Haiti,” Dooley said. “In addition to agricultural projects aimed at increasing food security, for example, Virginia Tech faculty and staff are also partnering with the Ecole Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haìti in Port-au-Prince to help build capacity in Haiti’s institutions of higher education.”
At 7 p.m. on April 15, Joseph will be the keynote speaker for a program entitled “A Tribute to Haiti and Ut Prosim” in Burruss Auditorium. The program, presented by the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships and Hokies United™, will focus on Virginia Tech’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).
The April 15 events are free and open to the public and tickets will be available at the University Unions and Student Activities office in 225 Squires Student Center on campus.
The following day, the ambassador will meet with Haitian students at the Cranwell International Center. He also will meet at the Blacksburg Baptist Church with community-based organizations working in Haiti, and with faculty, students, and staff in Virginia Tech’s Office of International Research, Education, and Development.
Joseph’s visit is sponsored by Outreach and International Affairs, Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships; Hokies United; Office of International Research, Education, and Development; Cranwell International Center; and local churches. Bryan Cloyd, the John E. Peterson Jr. Professor of Accounting in Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, is providing special assistance in organizing the visit.
“We are excited and honored that Ambassador Joseph will visit Virginia Tech,” said James Dubinsky, director of the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships. “With our university's many service projects in Haiti, our memorandum of understanding with the relief organization Partners in Health, and the dedicated efforts of many in our larger community to provide assistance after the recent earthquake, we believe this visit will help strengthen our community's commitment to Ut Prosim.”
In the spirit of Ut Prosim, Hokies United – a student-driven volunteer effort organized to respond to local, national, and international tragedies – was reactivated after the earthquake in Haiti by Virginia Tech’s Student Government Association and Graduate Student Assembly. With the support of the university’s administration, faculty, and staff, Hokies United is leading “Hokies Helping Haiti,” a university-wide disaster-relief response and public awareness campaign. Several fundraising events have been held and more are planned during April, with proceeds supporting Partners in Health.