Panel on Science and Development in the Dominican Republic at CUNY Sparks Interest

November 8, 2010

Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) in collaboration with the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute and The Grove School of Engineering co-sponsored the panel: “The Role of Science in the Economic Development of the Dominican Republic,” on November 6, 2010.

The panel featured presentations by 2009 InteRDom Fellow and Harvard Kennedy School Graduate, Carl Allen; Dr. Jorge E.
, NOAA-CREST Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Grove School of Engineering, CUNY; Dr. Yolanda M. León, Professor, Laboratorio de Percepción Remota, Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC); and Dr. Margaret A. Winslow, Professor of Structural and Engineering Geology, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, The Grove School of Engineering, CUNY.

GFDD was represented by New York Office Director Yamile Eusebio, who thanked Dr. Ramona Hernández, Director of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, for all the hard work she did to make the event possible, and the presenters for their commitment to bringing issues related to scientific and technological innovation in the Dominican Republic to the forefront of academic debate.

Carl Allen
Mr. Allen presented his study “El Metro and the Impact of Transportation System Integration in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic,” an analysis of the potential impact of the metro in Santo Domingo on poverty alleviation, congestion, pollution reduction and social and educational development. The Harvard graduate articulated what needs to happen to ensure that these benefits are realized as Santo Domingo continues with
its ambitious transportation network integration plans.

As an InteRDom Fellow, Mr. Allen conducted research under the guidance of his Fellows Research Advisor, Leonel Carrasco, Sub-Director of OPRET, the Office for the Reorganization of Transportation. During his time in the Dominican Republic, Mr. Allen interviewed key people in the area of transportation and conducted survey studies of Santo Domingo’s ridership. The outcome of his research is an
extensive report on the effects of the metro on the nation’s urban development, which includes recommendations for maximizing societal benefits.

The Harvard Kennedy School graduate was the first researcher to participate in the InteRDom Fellows Program. The Fellows Program, a division of GFDD and FUNGLODE’s internship and academic study program InteRDom, was developed in 2009 to respond to the Foundations’ desire to create a community
of scholars that contributes to GFDD and FUNGLODE’s growing body of research on matters of international concern that directly impact the Dominican Republic. The initiative complements GFDD and FUNGLODE’s overall mission to promote academic exchange, generate scholarship, and influence the creation of public policy related to economic and social development both at the national and international level.

Dr. Jorge E.

Dr. González discussed his research on the effects of global warming on the Enriquillo and Sumatra Lake basins. According to the professor, changes in atmospheric moisture-levels and cloud cover, as well as increased coastal sea surface temperatures have led to a rapid expansion of these river basins, impacting flora, fauna and neighboring communities. Dr. González presented concerning projections for the year 2040, and
emphasized the need for the immediate implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.

Dr. Yolanda León
Dr. Yolanda León outlined the findings of her research on the relation between tourism and livelihoods in 23 coastal communities. She expressed that while there were many disparities amongst communities in terms of household income and wellbeing, female heads of households engaged
in tourism-related employment, overall, received benefits. Her study also revealed that coastal communities impacted by tourism are concerned that development of the sector will bring along with it increases in prostitution, crime, drug use and alcoholism.

Dr. Margaret Winslow
Dr. Margaret Winslow discussed the seismic activity in the Dominican Republic since the Miocene Epoch. The 2010 7.0 magnitude earth quake in Haiti has
since reaffirmed interest in evaluating the geological settings of the island of Hispaniola. Dr. Winslow’s research confirmed the need to do so.

The panel was attended by high school groups, college students and members of the community. Audience members voiced their interest in attending similar events in the future.

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