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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 24, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2010

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Volume 24, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2010

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Haitian Engineers Learn About Earthquake Engineering and Seismic Design in UniQ-UB/MCEER Seminar Series

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

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

Over 220 people attended the weeklong sessions, which featured two tracks: an introduction to earthquake engineering and post-earthquake building assessment, and an advanced program on seismic design load calculations and seismic design of concrete and masonry buildings. Both tracks featured instructor-led demonstrations in the field. Introductory program participants conducted supervised building assessments; advanced program participants attended demonstrations of proper masonry construction.

Instructors included Andre Filiatrault, MCEER Director and Professor, and Pierre Fouché, a Haitian native, UniQ alumnus and current Ph.D. candidate, both of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at the University at Buffalo; and Wassim Ghannoum, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin. Sofia Tangalos, Senior Program Officer of Education/Outreach Activities and MCEER Information Service, traveled as part of the team to provide logistical support during the seminars, and Louise Daoust, MCEER volunteer, assisted with on-site registration.

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.

The series was initiated in May, with the first seminar held at the UniQ campus in Port-au-Prince on May 20-22, 2010. Over 215 engineers, architects and students attended the seminar, which was led by Andre Filiatrault and Pierre Fouché. The seminar provided participants with knowledge of fundamental earthquake engineering principles for retrofit of damaged facilities and design of new construction, and trained them in conducting rapid building assessments on the many damaged structures that remained standing following the January 12 earthquake. It was repeated as the introductory program of the second seminar series held in September.

Following a day of classroom instruction, participants visited a number of buildings throughout Port-au-Prince with the instructors to learn how to assess damage. A written exam concluded the program.

All seminar content was developed and delivered in French, and took into account current Haitian construction practices.

A Partnership to Further Education

Jacky Lumarque, UniQ Rector, and Andre Filiatrault, MCEER Director, sign the official Memorandum of Understanding at the beginning of the first seminar on May 20, 2010.

An international Memorandum of Understanding between UniQ and University at Buffalo/MCEER was formally signed by Professor Jacky Lumarque, Rector of UniQ, and Andre Filiatrault, on behalf of UB/MCEER, in a ceremony prior to the first seminar. The MOU outlines both short- and long-term educational initiatives, including this series of professional development seminars (each one equivalent to 8 to 30 Professional Development Hours-PDH) to be held in Port-au-Prince, and the creation of a professional masters of earthquake engineering degree program at UniQ. Seminar participants will be able to apply seminar PDH credits towards the graduate degree.

A Haiti Fulbright Scholarship at UB is also being established as a result of the MOU, with some funding committed by the University’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL). The scholarship, to be administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), will support a Haitian student studying earthquake engineering at UB for two years.

Third Seminar to Offer More Advanced Programs

Registration has begun for the third series of seminars, to be held in Port-au-Prince on March 12-22, 2011. The program will include a repeat of the introductory and seismic design of load calculations seminars, expanded versions of the seismic design of concrete and confined masonry buildings, and additional seminars on seismic design of wood structures and material properties for reinforced concrete and masonry. For more information on the Third UniQ-UB/MCEER Earthquake Engineering Seminar, visit the French Registration Page or the English Registration Page.