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Olsen Jean Julien

Student at the Chair since 2014

Doctoral Candidate
Faculté de l'aménagement

2014-2016, Bourse d’exemption des droits supplémentaires de scolarité pour les étudiants internationaux, Faculté des études supérieures et postdoctorales.

2014, Bourse d’admission, Faculté de l’aménagement. 

Olsen Jean Julien


Olsen Jean Julien is an engineer-architect from the State University of Haiti. He also holds a Master's Degree in Conservation of Monuments and Cultural Property from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU, Dominican Republic) and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Conservation of Historic Buildings and Archaeological Sites from Columbia University (New York, USA).

After his studies, he worked for the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (2004). He served as Haiti’s Minister of Culture and Communications (2008–2009) and as Director of the Smithsonian-Haiti Cultural Recovery Center (2010-2012), created as part of the Haiti Cultural Recovery Project ( He is also one of the principals of PHÉNIXIENCE, an architecture and engineering firm in Haiti.

Professor at the State University of Haiti and at Quisqueya University, he has received many awards including the UNESCO Medal of the five continents (2009) for his commitment to the protection of Haiti's cultural heritage and the Smithsonian Institution Gold Medal for Exemplary Service (2011).

PhD project

Planning and Historic memory: The reconstruction of Port-au-Prince’s old center.

Description of research project

The purpose of the research project is to understand how the perception of the historic significance of Port-au-Prince’s old center, has influenced the planning process of the city’s reconstruction policy.

After the 2010 earthquake that destroyed a large part of Port-au-Prince, Haiti has defined a reconstruction policy for the city’s old center, host of a rich urban heritage. The policy, implemented in a context of recurring political, social and economic crises, raises many questions and controversies. To understand the nature of these controversies, the thesis project proposes to examine the lived experience of policy planning in Haiti. First, it will consider the context where the neighboring Caribbean countries have experiences of managing cities on the UNESCO world heritage list (Havana, Santo Domingo, San Juan).  Second, it will examine the relationship between the perception of the historic significance of the urban form, among policy makers, and the performance criteria of public policies for the development of urban areas with high cultural and heritage values. 

Selected Bibliography

Books, articles, reports 

Jean Julien, Olsen. Digital Revolution, Documentation and Redefinition of the Historic Preservation Discipline. The National Historic Park of Haiti: from management to re-appropriation. Independent research paper. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Post-graduate Certificate in Conservation of Historic Buildings and Archaeological Sites. Columbia University, New York. 2003.

Jean Julien Olsen, Geri Benoit, Monique Clesca, Patrick Delatour, Diana Baird N'diaye, And Patrick Vilaire. HAITI: Freedom and  Creativity from  the Mountains to  the Sea. In Smithsonian Folklife Festival Program Book. Carla Borden, Editor. Smithsonian Institution. Washington DC. 2004.

Jean Julien, Olsen. Enjeux du Tourisme durable en Haïti face au paradigme actuel en gestion de sites à haute valeur culturelle - Le cas du Parc National Historique: Citadelle, Sans Souci, Ramiers. In: 16th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Finding the spirit of place – between the tangible and the intangible’. Québec, 2008.

Jean Julien Olsen, Port-au-Prince: Historical Memory as a Fundamental Parameter in Town Planning, In, Museum International UNESCO, 2010.

Jean Julien Olsen, Randolph Langenbach, Stephen Kelley, Patrick Sparks, Kevin Rowell, Martin Hammer. Preserving Haiti’s Gingerbread Houses. World Monument Fund, 2010 Earthquake Mission Report. Report Editor Erica Avrami.  Project Manager Norma Barbacci. December 2010.

Jean Julien Olsen, Sharing Common values. Managing the Center. In, Saving Haiti’s Heritage. Cultural recovery after the earthquake. Richard Kurin (Editor). Smithsonian Institution. Washington DC. 2011.


Jean Julien Olsen, Espace Géographique et Patrimoine. Un hommage à Georges Anglade. Conférence organisée par la délégation Caraïbes de l'Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie. École Normale Supérieure. Université d’état d’Haïti. Port-au-Prince, 24 Mars 2011.

Jean Julien Olsen, Hot Gingerbread: The Significance of Late 19th Century Architecture in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Latin American and Caribbean Center. Florida International University. July 27, 2012.

Jean Julien Olsen, Blanchet, Denyse. Le Programme de Conservation et de Gestion de Biens Culturels en Haïti: Un modèle novateur de collaboration entre le Collège Montmorency du Québec et l’Université Quisqueya d’Haïti. Forum Canada-Francophonie sur l'éducation du Bureau Canadien de l’éducation international (BCEI). 4 Novembre 2012.

Jean Julien Olsen, Who owns Haiti’s cultural heritage? The importance of cultural heritage preservation in Haiti in the context of the multidimensional crisis (2004-2014). Symposium on the theme: Who ‘Owns’ Haiti? Sovereignty in a Fragile State: 2004 – 2014.  George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, D.C. May 2, 2014.