Photo Credit: Inter-American Division

Inter-America

Adventist University In Haiti Closes Temporarily as a Safety Precaution

Primary and secondary school, campus church also suspend activity in the wake of a trespassing occurrence and overall civil unrest

Carrefour, Port-au-Prince, Haiti | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News

Administrators of Adventist University of Haiti (UNAH), in Carrefour, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, closed academic operations after a group of armed men entered the campus on January 23, 2024. The incident took place at 2:00 p.m. and lasted about half an hour. University officials reported that no one was harmed. Authorities have not stated why the group of men entered the campus.

Sénèque Edmond, UNAH president, was on campus at the time of the incident and, days before, had notified students and faculty that there would be no classes during the week due to the escalating violence facing the region. The university is keeping certain services running with essential personnel.

“We would like to sincerely thank our entire community for the prayers and expressions of sympathy shown during these times,” said Edmond. “Your support and solidarity have been a source of strength and comfort.”

The university has dismissed dormitory students back to their homes and also told faculty and staff to stay off the campus. UNAH has 619 registered students and 175 professors distributed between its bachelor’s and master’s programs.

In addition to a primary and secondary school with more than 1,500 students and 122 professors, the campus is home to a bakery, IADPA bookstore, radio station, Hope Media Center, block factory, printing press, drinking water treatment center, and university classrooms and dorm facilities, among other services.

Church services and activities on campus were suspended during the weekend, said Edgard Etienne, pastor of the campus church. He said church members in the surrounding communities and throughout the country have been praying for the situation. “We have urged our members to exercise caution and practice their faith in safer places closer to home,” Pastor Etienne said.

The economic crisis and civil unrest in Haiti have kept church leaders and members on high alert and on their knees, church leaders said.

Pastor Pierre Caporal, president of the Haitian Union and chair of the UNAH board, said he is thankful that God blesses the church in Haiti, but he is concerned about students who cannot attend classes. “I am concerned about the operation of the university and other institutions on campus, so we keep praying that God will act accordingly to His will to change this atmosphere,” said Pastor Caporal.

For months, Adventist churches across Haiti have had to adjust their services to morning or early afternoon to allow members to be home before dark. “At least 15 churches have been closed, and more than 3,500 church members have been displaced,” reported Pastor Caporal. “In the midst of all the challenges the church in Haiti is facing, the members try to find new ways to preach the Gospel. They are convinced that the time has come where the Gospel should be preached to everyone as it is written in Revelation 14:6–12.”

The Adventist Hospital and ADRA Haiti offices near the university campus continue to operate with the proper precautions, Pastor Caporal said.

The Haitian Union has a membership of more than 500,000 Seventh-day Adventists, with 1,330 churches and congregations organized under one conference and four missions. The union operates a hospital, university, and dozens of primary and secondary schools.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division website.

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