Events & Media


Latin American Fisheries Fellowship Program Speaker

"Balancing the Needs of a Destitute Population Which Feels Abandoned
with the Needs of Environmental Protection and Management."

Jean Wiener
Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
4:00 - 5:00 pm
Bren Hall 1414

Reception to follow for participants, 5:00 - 6:00 pm
Deckers Outdoor Corporation Terrace, Bren Hall

"Think of an environmental recognition award and chances are that Jean Wiener has received it. The global community sees in him a tireless champion of marine conservation. He was critical in the successful establishment of Haiti's first Marine Protected Area, and he continues to work, in less than ideal conditions, to protect his country's natural heritage without losing sight of the pressing needs of his countrymen. Join us for an inspiring tale of environmental stewardship."

—Gonzalo Banda-Cruz (MESM 2018), Latin American Fisheries Fellow

Haiti is the poorest country the western hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. With massive issues related to governance, health, economic growth, and the environment, it is extremely difficult to generate momentum among all levels of society to protect natural resources. Most individuals are concerned only with the here and now — how am I going to feed my family today? Environmental issues in general are a far-off concern, and, despite being a Caribbean island nation, the management and protection of coastal and marine resources are at the bottom of the list. Haiti is only now trying to undertake serious management of its environment, but the issues are often overwhelming, and resources, both human and financial, are extremely scarce. Without a capacity to engage in the enforcement of environmental laws, the current methods of stakeholder engagement and the force of peer pressure are the only remaining routes to success. Following a brief overview of FoProBiM’s history and its successes and failures in engaging in resource management and protection in Haiti based on its holistic approach, there will be a discussion with the audience of the challenges of the current situation.

Born and raised in Haiti, Jean has worked on environmental issues in general, and on coastal and marine issues in Haiti in particular for over 26 years. In 1992 Jean founded Haiti’s first coastal and marine environmental non-profit, the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM), and he retains his position at the head of the organization. As the director of FoProBiM he specializes in coastal and marine sciences, environmental monitoring and management, and community development, and has executed a wide range of projects including resource assessments, association building, environmental rehabilitation, and community needs evaluations, as well as pure scientific research for institutions as diverse as the Ministry of Environment of Haiti, the UN (UNEP, UNDP, UNESCO, UNOPS), USAID, IDB, NOAA, and the OAS, to name but a few. He is also the national focal point in Haiti for the International Coral Reefs Initiative (ICRI), the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network (WIDECAST), the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), NatureCaribe, and several International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) specialist groups, among others. He has established contacts at all levels throughout most of Haiti and is often considered the national reference for all things coastal and marine. He is Haiti’s most awarded environmentalist, with awards from Condé Nast, two from the Whitley Fund for Nature (presented by HRH Princess Anne), the Erick Eckman Award (Haiti’s first ever environmental award, presented by the President and the Minister of Environment), the Goldman Environmental Prize for Islands and Island Nations (2015), the California Academy of Sciences (Conservation Hero, 2016), and the Sierra Club (Ocean Hero, 2016). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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