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Third UniQ-UB/MCEER Seminar Trains Haitian Engineers in Earthquake Engineering and Seismic Design

Andre Filiatrault (center) reviews some classroom content with a small group of seminar participants.

Andre Filiatrault (center) reviews some classroom content with a small group of seminar participants.

Quisqueya University (UniQ) and University at Buffalo/MCEER held the third installment of professional development seminars in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on March 12-22, 2011 to provide training to Haitian engineers, architects and students in the principles of earthquake engineering and seismic design.

Over 300 participants enrolled in one or more of five advanced programs that were designed to offer in-depth instruction on seismic design adapted to the construction practices in Haiti. Topics included seismic load calculations, seismic design of reinforced concrete, confined masonry and wood structures, as well as properties and quality control of materials for the construction of earthquake-resistant reinforced concrete and masonry structures. The programs featured both classroom and hands on instruction.

Eric Karsh (left) and Andre Bergeron (center) discuss engineering practices in Haiti with Bruce Robinson (right),
a seminar participant and U.S. professional engineer who has lived
in Port-de-Paix, Haiti for the last
28 years.

Many of the participants had taken previous programs offered in the seminar series and were back to gain more in-depth knowledge as they work to rebuild Haiti. The prerequisite introductory session on earthquake engineering and post-earthquake building assessment was also offered again to new participants in the seminar series.

A highlight of this event was an invited lecture given by Eric Calais, Ph.D., Professor of Geophysics, Purdue University, and Scientific Adviser to the United Nations Development Program in Haiti. Calais is currently co-chair of the United Nations Haiti Earthquake Risk Reduction Task Force and led a team of researchers who found that a previously unmapped fault was responsible for the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Reconstruction of the UniQ campus was in progress during the seminar.

Instructors Andre Filiatrault, Ph.D., Eng., Professor of Civil Engineering, University at Buffalo, and MCEER Director; Pierre Fouché, Ph.D. Candidate, University at Buffalo, and J. Eric Karsh, M. Eng., P. Eng., Principal, Equilibrium Consulting Inc, Vancouver, Canada were joined by Andre Bergeron, a structural engineering from Quebec, who taught the program on “Properties and Quality Control of Materials for the Construction of Earthquake-Resisting Reinforced Concrete and Masonry Buildings in Haiti.” Mr. Bergeron brought 30 years experience in teaching materials classes in Quebec and was in Haiti supervising construction projects as part of Engineers without Borders. Sofia Tangalos, Senior Program Officer of Education/Outreach Activities and MCEER Information Service, again served as logistical coordinator of the event for the UB/MCEER team; Haitian colleagues Evenson Calixte, Vice Dean, Faculty of Engineering & Architecture, and Tingue Wolfield, Civil Engineer, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Architecture, organized the event on behalf of UniQ.

The Fourth UniQ-UB/MCEER Earthquake Engineering Seminar is scheduled to take place on August 1-23, 2011. The seminar will repeat the programs offered in March, and will introduce three new sessions on geotechnical earthquake engineering, seismic design of steel structures and approximate seismic analysis of buildings. For more information, visit