Born in 1961 in Haiti, Jean-Marie Dulix Théodat was, from a young age, both an avid reader and an avid soccer player. Toward the end of secondary school, his parents sent him to France with his older brother. He completed secondary school and university studies in France with a doctorate in geography. He has taught history and geography at the Alexandre Dumas Lycée in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and was in charge of curriculum development at Haiti’s École Normale Supérieure. He later became a geography professor and lecturer at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. He is the author of many journal articles and reviews and of a book titled “Haïti-République Dominicaine: Une île pour deux 1804-1916” published in 2003. This book analyzes the fascinating fact that Haiti and the Dominican Republic share one island—a geographic reality that he calls “insular twinness.” In 2001 he co-founded LAREHDO (“Laboratoire de recherches haïtiennes et dominicaines”) in Port-au-Prince. LAREHDO is a laboratory that specializes in transnational exchanges between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. He is a member of PRODIG (Pôle de Recherche pour l’Organisation et la Diffusion de l’Information Géographique) in France.
When the earthquake hit Haiti on January 12th, 2010, and took the lives of so many people there, Jean-Marie Théodat realized that he had left Haiti but Haiti never left him. Though he lived in Paris for over thirty years, he decided to return to Haiti in April 2010 to help with rebuilding efforts—in particular, the restructuring of higher education. Currently, he is the Director of the Caribbean Delegation of the AUF (“Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie”). The AUF is a federation of more than 700 universities around the world that use French as a common language. One of its purposes in Haiti is to help rebuild a better higher education system by helping the universities fulfill their mission toward the whole of Haitian society. Jean-Marie Théodat has written a white paper that provides an overview of Haiti’s higher education system in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Photo courtesy Jean-Marie Théodat