The Instituto Cultural Domínico-Americano (ICDA), usually known simply as “El Domínico-Americano”, was founded in the year 1947 by a group of Dominicans and United States citizens who were residing in this country in order to strengthen the bonds of friendship and of culture between the peoples of the United States of America and the Dominican Republic.
Our first activity was to encourage teaching in general, as well as culture, thus increasing the knowledge, understanding, and friendship between the Dominican Republic and the United States of America, and forming their mutual understanding, both intellectual and spirituallly, through a vast program of cultural relations, and by teaching at different levels.
Ever since our foundation, we, as an institution, have always been at the forefront in offering educational services to the Dominican society, leading the market in the teaching of the English language, and setting standards of high quality and innovation. We have also been an important column for the expansion of national culture, as well as its projection in particular among the U.S. citizens and British residents in this country, and among other foreign residents in general. We have also dedicated ourselves to projecting knowledge of the values and the culture of the United States among Dominicans, through our vast program of cultural relations.
At present, we offer a vast spectrum of academic and cultural activities, which defines us as a real corporation with a wide scope of high quality educational services, cultural activities, and support to the community. We currently have the following programs:
The Language School, (EDI) with an English as a Foreign Language (EFL), program and a Spanish as a Second Language program, (SSL) for Foreigners.
The Pre-School program
The Domínico-Americano School
The Cultural Department
The Lincoln Library
The Educational Counseling Office (ECO)
The Universidad Domínico-Americana (UNICDA) (Dominican American University – 4 year college); and
The Continuing Education and Graduate Studies Unit
In other words, our aims have been focused on two important directions:
1) The educational aspect, which includes proposing and carrying out educational programs of so many forms and levels that they now go from the extracurricular model to closed programs, and from the basic levels, to two-year and four-year undergraduate programs to graduate studies; also
2) The cultural aspect, which includes activities to promote culture in general, with departments that are specifically dedicated to painting, dance, voice and rhythm, the theater, poetry, etc. Both aspects have been excellent channels for social and cultural contacts and for exchange between the Dominican Republic and the United States of America.
One thing that we must bear in mind when talking about the history of the Domínico-Americano is that we have never lost sight of the needs of the Dominican society, which we are called to serve, to contribute towards a greater sustainable human development, and the strengthening of our democratic values, thereby contributing to the creation of a real culture of peace and concord among us.
Our rapport with the Dominican community has always been the basis for our way of acting as an institution, and for the pertinence of the plans and actions undertaken in the fields in which we concentrate our activities: Education, culture, research, academic counseling, and services to the community. It has always been the Dominico’s harmony with society that has imposed on us the commitment to respond to that community with the same institutional dynamism, marked growth, manifold and diverse offers of high quality both academic and culturally; and it has been the cause of our present eminent position in society and on the market.
In order to prove our social calling, it would only be fitting to give a brief outline of the landmarks that have marked our institutional growth and our services to Dominican society.
1947: The ICDA was founded. We were located on Calle Mercedes, in the Colonial City. At that time, we were the only cultural institute in the everyday life in the city of Santo Domingo. We organized thousands of cultural activities of different kinds, which were carried out daily. We also lent out books and long play records. English courses began almost immediately because the community needed them. There were about 1,000 students at the time of the first registration. Thus, the EFL program had become the strength of our institution, having responded to the learning needs of tens of thousands of children, adolescents, and adults. For the last ten years our language school has maintained an average yearly registration of over ten thousand students, which shows our dynamism and importance.
1950: At the beginning of this decade, we had grown so much as an institution that it became necessary to move to Avenida Pasteur at Calle Santiago, in Gazcue. At that time, we continued to be the most important cultural institute of the city. By the early 1970’s we would have to move again to the corner of Avenida Pasteur and Avenida Independencia, because of the growth in our registration and the great participation of the public in our cultural activities.
1968: In the presence of the Dominican Republic’s president, we inaugurated our own locale at Avenida Abraham Lincoln #21.
: We open a new locale to the public, one that was specially built to house the library of our institution. It also offered support to the courses taught. Most of the collections were reference books to be consulted by the Cultural Department, and those of general interest to the community. It was open to the public. The first floor of the new library was used as a meeting hall, and the cultural activities were held there.
It is important to point out at this moment that, all through the 1970’s, we offered a series of professional seminars to researchers, intellectuals, and journalists, for which registration was free. These were offered as a contribution to bringing culture up to date in our country. These seminars were high-level activities, of a great academic and cultural excellence, which were carried out every year and which involved distinguished personalities from the arts, the universities, and the research centers of the United States, who presented and discussed with their Dominican counterparts, problems and perspectives that were new to their fields of study or work areas.
: This year was very important to the growth of the ICDA. As a matter of fact, it was when the Academic Building was inaugurated in the presence of the Dominican Republic’s president, and the Secretarial School was founded and started functioning. This was the first new program, serving as a complement to our already classic teaching of English, and our cultural center.
1980: The cultural complex, which now bears the name “Patrick N. Hughson”, was inaugurated in the presence of the president of the country. That same year, the Pre-School in English became our second complementary program.
1981: The ICDA School was founded, in order to provide a balanced educational program taught in English while preserving the Spanish language, as well as Dominican history and culture.
1989: After concluding a rigorous process of evaluation of the formal and factual components, the technicians from the Consejo Nacional de Educación Superior (National Council for Higher Education – CONES) concluded that the project presented by the ICDA, which would create an Institute for Higher Education, at the level of a two-year college, was sound and viable, and to that effect, the organism that regulates higher education in the Dominican Republic recommended to the Central Government that this project be approved. Thus, through Decree no. 226 of June 6th, 1989, we were enabled to issue degrees at an Associate’s level in the fields of Computer Science, Tourism, Accounting, Business Administration, Education with an English minor, and executive bilingual secretarial skills. With this, we became one of the first institutions of the subsystem of Dominican higher education to attain the category of Higher Institute, thus becoming, to the satisfaction of our founders, a model for other institutions (then emerging) in this subsection to follow.
1992: This year saw our first eighth grade graduation. The same thing happened year after year, beginning in pre-school. That year also saw the end of the construction of the two first stories of the classroom building of the EDI (the Language school) building. Its construction was made possible by a donation toward the development of intensive English courses, promoted by Secretariado Técnico de la Presidencia and by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID.)
In December of the same year, we filed at the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) (Bank for Interamerican Development), through the Fundación APEC de Crédito Educativo (APEC Foundation for Educational Loans --FUNDAPEC), a project to encourage short-term careers in this country. Said plan was to be carried out during the five years from 1993 to 1998, and its objectives were as follows:
“To contribute toward the formation of qualified associates with ample knowledge of the English language in the areas of Tourism, Administration, Accounting, Computer Science, and Bilingual Executive Secretarial Skills.
“To develop a program of updating human resources, in order to help solve the deficit of professional training in areas of high priority to the development of the country, in sub-sectors such as Tourism, Free Zones, and the farming industry.”
Once more, with this project, we showed we were capable of innovating in the educational field. The project was adopted as it had been proposed.
1993: This marked the beginning of the process of completing, little by little, by growing year after year, our secondary school program, until the school reached the 12th year of high school. In the year 1997, the first high school graduation took place.
1994: Upon the execution of the BID-FUNDAPEC project, we built a specially designed building to house the Escuela Técnica Superior (Institute of Higher Education). We bought equipment and materials, awe gave teacher-training courses in specific fields related to the technical and associates’ programs: workshops and seminars about strategies, methodology, and learning techniques.
1995: We founded Lincoln Library (Biblioteca Lincoln --BL) to provide services to our schools: the Domínico-Americano School (CDA), the Language School (EDI), and the Escuela Técnica Superior (ETS). The Lincoln Library has a collection of approximately 10,000 documents of different kinds: Scientific, technical, about humanities, and recreational. Together with the Centro de Recursos Audiovisuales (Center for Audovisual Resources - CRA), which is responsible for the administration of audiovisual equipment, it offers technical assistance to the users, and also administers the loans of such equipment, the Lincoln Library has as its objective to better the quality of education offered through the different educational programs offered by our institution.
1999: We founded two academic branches for our English as a Foreign Language (EFL) programs. One operates in San Cristóbal, at Instituto Politécnico Loyola, and the other in the eastern side of the City of Santo Domingo.
2000: Ee built a five-story building to house our administrative offices; said building has a gathering hall on the first floor.
2001: We inaugurated and occupied the new administrative building. Consejo Nacional de Educación Superior (National Council for Higher Education – CONES) grants approval to reclassify our Escuela Técnica Superior (Institute of Higher Education) as a four-year college, through Resolution no. 006-2001. This resolution was ratified by Decree no. 389-01 of the Executive Power, issued March 20th. Our new university is known as “Universidad Domínico-Americana”, UNICDA. During this year, work has been done to better the physical facilities of the area occupied by UNICDA, and on approving and leaving in working order the academic and organizational structure. Teaching first began on Monday, September 3rd.
During this same year, there was a process of reinforcement of the cultural department, in order to offer a more varied program of activities, thus increasing the participation of the new public and drawing a larger number of young people of the community to participate in cultural events. There was also a marked interest in diffusing among Dominicans the importance of knowing the language, and knowing about the culture, of North America.
Also, within this same context, we have also put into operation a department for planning, coordinating, promoting, and evaluating exchange programs of different types. The types and scopes of action of such exchange programs will be of the following order: Academic, cultural, informative, community, and inter-institutional. With this, we are trying to consolidate potential and opportunities that stem from their work for the human, cultural, and educational development of Dominican society. In order to obtain said objectives, the institution is beginning by creating a website that will allow it to grow within this scope and to continue offering, bettering, and diffusing the manifold services it offers in favor of the development of our community.
This year, an important agreement for public education in this country was signed with the Ministry of Education and the support of the Embassy of the United States of America, for the training of 650 Public School English Language Teachers.
2002: We celebrated the 55th anniversary of our institution with different activities, the most outstanding being the Camerata del Caribe, under the direction of Maestro Julio de Windt.
This year also marked the opening of the branches at Colegio Buen Pastor and in San Pedro de Macorís.
WE signed an agreement with Escuela Nacional de la Judicatura (National School of the Judiciary) for the formation of legal translators, in connection with Alliance Française (French Institute).
Our institute joined Asociación Dominicana de Rectores de Universidades (ADRU) – The Dominican Association of Presidents of Universities.
2003: In collaboration with Franklin Center, of the United States Embassy we presented the exhibit “Capturando la Luna” (Capturing the Moon). It included ninety masterpieces of photography in the State of California, collected from the year 1850 to the present by The Oakland Museum of California.
We opened branches for the language school at Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (CONSA) and at Instituto de Formación Integral (INFI) in San Francisco de Macorís.
2004: This year, on October 15th, we celebrated the first graduation of our Universidad Domínico-Americana, UNICDA, and the opening of the new locale of the Pre-School at the North-East corner of the Cultural Complex. The School of Tourism of UNICDA also obtained the first and second places at country-wide gastronomical festivals.
2005: Our language school began the English Immersion Program to Beat the Competition through Ministerio de Educación Superior, Ciencia y Tecnología, MESCyT (Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology).
2006: UNICDA obtained the first and second places in the category Fowl, and the first place in Salads at the Inter-College Gastronomic Festival, APEC, 2006.
With the endorsement of Franklin Center of the United States Embassy, we taught the Course/Workshop: “Introduction to Format MARC21: Cataloguing Printed Documents (Monographs and Periodicals)”.
The head of our Educational Counseling Office (ECO)) attended the Regional Meeting of the Advising Centers of the Caribbean, held in Barbados and the Overseas Association of College Admissions Council (OACAC) at Texas Christian University, invited in recognition of the excellent work this department has done as a counseling office.
2007: In commemoration of our 60th anniversary, a commemorative postmark was put in use for three months, through Dirección General de Correos (Post Office Authority), and we organized several other activities such as the presentation of the Camerata (Chamber Orchestra) of the Caribbean, under the direction of the distinguished member of the Board of Directors, Dr. Julio de Windt, the staging of the play “Tom Sawyer”, by the American author Mark Twain, and the homage “Remembering an Artist”, dedicated to the memory of Magda Corbett.
We had several painting and photography exhibits, such as “Looking Back upon Sixty Years of History” (Una Mirada Retrospectiva a Sesenta Años de Historia), which re-creates the history of our institution from 1947 to 2007, among other important presentations.
2008: the Houston- Coey award was instated, created by Messrs. S.S. Houston and his wife to award a prize to outstanding teachers of our Language School. Mr. Houston was a distinguished member of our Board of Directors who participated actively for more than 25 years.
We also had the inauguration of two new branches for the language school: A second branch in the eastern side of the city of Santo Domingo at Colegio Gregorio Hernández and in La Romana at Colegio Episcopal Todos los Santos.
Two graduate programs were approved by Ministerio de Educación Superior, Ciencia y Tecnología, MESCyT (Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology).These were the Specialization in Financse and the Specialization in Marketing, by Resolutions No. 34-2008 and 35-2008 of September 17th, respectively, and we began the process for the Design and Implementation of a Quality Management System based on the Standard ISO 9001:2008.