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Seminar Review: Haitian Engineers Continue Training in Earthquake Engineering and Seismic Design with Second UniQ-UB/MCEER Seminar

A mason demonstrates the proper way to build a wall.

A mason conducts a demonstration for Advanced program participants at the Second UniQ-UB/MCEER Earthquake Engineering Seminar.

The Université Quisqueya (UniQ) and the University at Buffalo’s (UB) MCEER held a second installment of seminars in Port-au-Prince on September 5-9, 2010, to provide training to more than 220 Haitian engineers and architects in the principles of earthquake engineering and seismic design.

This second installment in the continuing series of seminars featured both an Introductory program on Earthquake Engineering and Post-Earthquake Building Assessment (September 6-7, 2010), and an Advanced program on Seismic Design Load Calculations and the Seismic Design of Concrete and Masonry Buildings (September 5-9, 2010). Approximately 100 participated in the Introductory session; nearly 140 in the advanced. MCEER's initial Introductory seminar in May 2010, attracted an audience of 215 practitioners, including some students. With an estimated 1,000 practicing engineers in Port-au-Prince, it is believed that MCEER has reached nearly 30 percent of the city's engineering population through these continuing education programs. A third installment in the series is planned for January 2011.

Each seminar will provide the opportunity to receive credit toward a master’s of earthquake engineering degree that UniQ is developing with MCEER’s support. Prior to the January 12 earthquake, opportunities to receive formal training in seismic design and construction in Haiti were very limited.

Wassim lectures to the advanced participants.

Wassim Ghannoum (University of Texas at Austin) lectures to a full house in the Advanced program on September 6, 2010.

Instructors included Andre Filiatrault (MCEER Director and Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, UB), Pierre Fouché (UniQ alumnus and current Ph.D. candidate in earthquake engineering, UB) and Wassim Ghannoum (Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin). Filiatrault and Fouché served as lecturers in the first UniQ/MCEER seminar. Ghannoum is a member of the American Concrete Institute’s committee on Seismic Repair and Rehabilitation, and EERI's committee coordinating technical assistance to Haiti.

In-field demonstrations continue to be an important component of the seminars. Participants in the Introductory Program were supervised while conducting building assessments in the field, and participants in the Advanced Program were given demonstrations of proper masonry construction led by Fouché with the help of local masons.

“Many participants are currently involved in preparing technical proposals for the rehabilitation of existing structures that survived the January 12 earthquakes,” said Filiatrault. “The practical information that they received during the two UniQ-MCEER professional seminars conducted so far has proven to be very beneficial in the development of their proposals.”

The MCEER and UniQ partnership will extend for at least three years, and is designed to help Haiti establish its own community of earthquake engineers to enhance the nation's earthquake resilience.

 

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