Diverse cultural exchange is among the benefits of promise in the proposed Sister City relationship between Columbia and Cap Haitien in Haiti. Columbia Association (CA) has begun the process of exploring the possibilities of establishing a partnership with Cap Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti.

This northern, coastal city with its picturesque “New Orleans French Quarter”-style architecture and ocean views has a vibrant Creole culture. It is home to historic monuments and to the Universite Roi Henri Christophe, a newly established university in 2012.

Seeking to promote a better quality of life for its people through investment in higher learning and economic development, the Cap Haitien’s Mayor’s Office has become attracted to the benefits of a partnership with Columbia through the on-island advocacy work of the Build Haiti Foundation’s (BHF) President Robert Anantua and BHF Board President David Weeks.

Since the earthquake of 2010, the Build Haiti Foundation has secured a strong foothold in the neighboring village of Camp Coq with its investment in a health clinic and in the education of students in local schools.

The Build Haiti Foundation will be bringing high school student leaders as well as professional mentors from Cap Haitien to the village of Camp Coq to participate in its Global Leadership Program with students and adult mentors from the Howard County area from July 14–23, 2015. This youth leadership and service program will utilize the resources of the Universite Roi Henri Christophe to have participants study public health, environmental sustainability and leadership in community development, with engagement in the development of a soccer tournament and a reforestation project.

The Sister City relationship between Columbia and Cap Haitien will be an extension of the involvement the Build Haiti Foundation has had with the Haitian diaspora in Maryland and with the on-island Haitian people. Anantua chairs the Sister City Planning Committee and is seeking residents of the Columbia area who are interested in participating on the committee. He can be contacted at [email protected].

Future meetings will take place on Feb. 19 and March 19 at the CA office, located at 10221 Wincopin Circle, #100, in Columbia.

For more information, contact David Weeks, BHF board president and director of Global Education and Service at Glenelg Country School in Ellicott City, at 410-531-8600, ext. 2411, or at [email protected].