The creation of the Association des Ingénieurs Haïtiens et Américains is the result of many meetings held between two small groups of concerned and fully dedicated Haitian engineers originally known as the “Brooklyn” and the “Queens” groups in early 1980’s. These engineers had a real concern for the advancement of the profession both in Haiti, and the United States. Originally, attempts were made to contact the former members of a then-defunct association known as Cercle Technique des Haitiens. The thinking at the time was that the younger generation of professionals could continue the good work of the older generation and bring to it new dimensions. These attempts were futile. Consequently, in 1983 a completely new association was born – with the name “Association des Ingénieurs Haïtiens et Américains (ADIHA),” or Association of Haitian and American Engineers.
The members of ADIHA prepared a constitution with a code of Ethics. An executive committee of five members was in charge of all the Association’s activities. It was also decided to form ad-hoc committees, as needed, to complement the efforts of the Executive Committee. The members of the first Executive Committee, which met at least twice a month, represented an equal balance among the Brooklyn and the Queens Groups mentioned above. The newly founded association adopted many goals, as follows:
- Create a link with all other Associations of Engineers
- Register the Association as a non-profit organization in the United States
- Find a location for its archives, and assist the engineering students in their communities
- Assist all professionals and technicians in need
- Assist all engineers in their studies and encourage them to pursue professional licensing
- Assist engineers and engineering students of Haiti financially and with other donations in the form of books, computers, courses, etc
- Assist the regional associations by providing technical support for projects with the objective of improving quality of life in Haiti
- Organize fund raising activities for the Association and other organizations
- Encourage the creation of Haitian businesses in the fields of construction, housing, education, real estate, or any other field that could enhance the engineering profession in the community
In 1984, ADIHA was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit professional organization. Within the next ten years, ADIHA achieved various successes, including: preparation courses for the Professional Engineering licensing exams, math courses for high school students in the New York area, a major financial contribution for the rebuilding of schools in Haiti, publication of various articles for the amelioration of quality of life in Haiti, as well as various seminars addressing important issues such as transportation, energy, hydraulics. The members of ADIHA also participated in the preparation of the Haitian documentation for the International Congress on the Environment held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.
One of the most memorable activities was the symposium held on August 6, and 7, 1994. For the first time, Haitian engineers and technicians had the opportunity to meet and work together. Almost three hundred engineers came together to analyze issues affecting Haiti, such as Potable Water and Sanitation, Transportation, Energy, Professional Organization, Development, Protection of the Environment, Spatial Organization, and Communication. The various Engineering Associations and Groups from all over the US, Canada and representatives of the Haitian government participated together in the search for valid solutions for the reconstruction of their native country.
This endeavor was to be followed by the creation of several engineering companies in Haiti. It was a challenge to prove that Haitian professionals could work together to improve the country. It was also an opportunity to determine their strength and address their weaknesses. ADIHA members hoped that many more of these meetings would follow in the future, and that the concerned Haitian engineers would be able, at last, to put aside their individual interests and ambitions for the benefit and well-being of Haiti and abroad.
Over the years, ADIHA continued to fulfill its mission by organizing conferences dealing with various issues facing Haiti, providing technical support for community projects in Haiti, and has initiated scientific and technical programs to benefit the Haitian community.
The catastrophic event of January 12, 2010 generated a renewed interest in the association. ADIHA organized many activities, including Post-Earthquake Building Assessment (ATC-20) Training which resulted in approximately fifteen engineers going to Haiti to perform post-earthquake building assessments as part of the recovery effort. ADIHA also organized presentations by Claude Prepetit, a Haitian geologist working with the Bureau of Mines involved in earthquake assessment; and Reginald Desroches, a premier seismic engineer at Georgia Tech University. Other conferences were titled GIS In Haiti, 1998 to 2011, and Downtown Port-au-Prince Master Plan. In addition, ADIHA provided technical support for community-sponsored projects and developed an outreach program educating the Haitian community in New York about proper building construction practices.
Still headquartered in New York, today the Association des Ingénieurs Haïtiens et Américains (ADIHA) continues to play a significant role in the development of our communities both in Haiti and abroad, while fostering a rich environment for professional development for all our members.