Powering Haiti's Future
TAMPA, Fla. (March 16, 2010) – International experts involved in the rebuilding of Haiti believe there’s an unprecedented opportunity to incorporate alternative energy sources into the new infrastructure, says David Stillman, the executive director of the Public-Private Alliance Foundation which is working with the United Nations in charting a new path for the earthquake-ravaged nation.
Stillman will brief the USF community on those plans during a talk at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 22, in the Marshall Student Center, Room 2707, on sustainable development and renewable energy in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and other developing nations. The conversation is open to the public.
The Public-Private Alliance Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing poverty in the world by uniting business, governmental, community, academic with efforts through the United Nations. The organization’s goal is to stimulate entrepreneurship, commerce and investment in sustainable development.
Stillman, a United Nations senior officer for 30 years, said he recently attended a Haiti reconstruction conference where organizations are already taking steps to incorporate alternative energy resources – such as ethanol-powered cook stoves – into relief and rebuilding efforts. Stillman said alternative energy can be built into the Haiti’s new infrastructure, creating jobs and a sustainable economic base for the impoverished nation.
The organization had already been considering opportunities to incorporate alternative energy into development in the Dominican Republic when the Jan. 12 earthquake hit Haiti. The focus had been on a sugarcane-based ethanol - a natural because of the island’s history in sugarcane production, which has waned in recent years leaving fields vacant and workers unemployed. But other alternative forms of clean, sustainable energy could be developed if public, private, academic, non-governmental organizations, private corporations and financiers can coordinate their efforts, he said.
“Renewable energy is needed and is possible in various ways at various levels,” he said.
Stillman’s presentation is part of a continuing focus the Patel Center has on renewable energy projects in the region. The center recently selected two USF students for a six-week business development internship to analyze market potential for alternative energy products in the Dominican Republic and Panama.
Kedwin Dominguez is currently a junior majoring in electrical engineering. His research interests include incorporating alternative energy sources in communities in United States and Dominican Republic. Wilnelly Ortiz is a marketing major in the College of Business Administration with an interest in learning more about businesses in other countries.
The focus of these U.S. Department of Education-funded internships is to help small businesses in Florida involved in alternative energy products and services to develop and expand their export markets.
The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.