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Cuba Forum analyzes future role of FIU in Cuba


When democratic change comes to Cuba, FIU wants to be ready to engage. What exactly should be FIU’s role was the topic of discussion at a forum today.

“At FIU we foresee change in Cuba and want to have a thoughtful and collaborative approach to guide our reaction,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg.

Today’s discussion was based on a review conducted by renowned economics and Latin American studies professor Carmelo Mesa-Lago. His presentation focused on opportunities and needs in Cuba as well as resources and strengths FIU can bring to the table once federal and state laws allow exchange.

Cover-page for FIU future role in Cuba

“When restrictions are lifted, FIU should be ready to help with Cuban needs,” said Mesa-Lago. “FIU should start now, with steps that are within the law, to develop academic contacts that will set the foundation for relations.”

Areas of particular interest included business, engineering, hospitality, medicine and the humanities. Mesa-Lago’s analysis, titled The Potential Role of FIU in a Future Cuba, serves to start an internal conversation that will also include input from the South Florida community and ultimately result in FIU’s Cuba exchange program.

As a research university with a keen interest in global issues, FIU has technical, training and research exchange programs with universities in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Federal and state laws currently limit exchange with the island nation, which has been under a communist dictatorship since 1959.

“Given our deep linkages with the Cuban-American community in Miami, we have a sincere interest in being a force for good and a source of solutions in Cuba,” said Associate Vice President for Research Luis Salas, who moderated the panel discussion.

Panelists included:

  • Mike Hampton, dean, Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Amir Mirmiran, dean, College of Engineering and Computing
  • Frank Mora, director, Latin American and Caribbean Center
  • Marifeli Perez-Stable, professor, Global and Sociocultural Studies
  • Monica Tremblay, associate professor,  College of Business
  • Ines R. Triay, director, Applied Research Center
  • Fernando Valverde, chief executive officer, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s Health Care Network Faculty Group
  • Jorge Duany, director, Cuban Research Institute

More than 150 members of the university and South Florida communities participated in a question and answer session following the presentations.

To view the event in its entirety, please click here.