FIU to explore Cuban youth empowerment through technology, entrepreneurship

One man’s mission to effect change in Cuba is garnering attention at FIU.

Raul Moas, executive director of Roots of Hope (Raices de Esperanza), will visit the Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Thursday, Jan. 23, to talk to students about empowering Cuban youth to become the authors of their own future.

Roots of Hope is a non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to raising awareness about the struggles of Cubans in the island and bridging the gap between them and the Cuban diaspora. It spearheads a number of projects aimed at bringing resources and access to information on the island. The NGO also leads the campaign Tech for Cuba, which boosts the connectivity of Cuban youth by providing them with cellphones, laptops, tablets and other information technology.

Raul Moas, executive director of Roots for Hope and Cuban Research Institute community advisory board member.

Raul Moas, executive director of Roots for Hope and Cuban Research Institute community advisory board member.

“Technology and entrepreneurship are two, big areas of focus for us,” Moas said. “There have been openings in these fields in Cuba and are of great potential and empowerment for young people in the island. The talk at FIU will focus mostly on that.”

Roots of Hope has an extensive student network in universities across the nation, including the University Florida, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Miami-Dade College, New York University, University of Miami and others. A new student chapter was established earlier this month at FIU and will be recognized at the talk.

“It’s incredibly important for young people to care and became invested,” Moas said. “Regardless of where you were born and how much you know or don’t know about Cuba, it’s critical because young people are always the drivers and agents of change. In Cuba, it’s the young people on the ground demanding change, and we need to be strong in supporting them, their hopes and their dreams.”

Moas, a Miami native of Cuban descent, also serves on the community advisory board of the FIU Cuban Research Institute. The institute encourages original research and interdisciplinary teaching; organizes activities; and promotes the development of library holdings and collections on Cuba and its diaspora. Its advisory board brings together community leaders involved in Cuba-related work to support the institute’s mission.

“FIU has tremendous desire to make a lasting impact in the island-nation,” Moas said. “It’s a forward-thinking university with students, professors and researchers who have the potential to be a great thought-leader behind it.”

Moas’ talk, titled “Cuba in Transition: The Role of Technology in Societal Transformation” is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the College of Business Complex (CBC) 232. It is free and open to the public and co-sponsored by the Ruth K. and Shepard Broad Distinguished Lecture Series. To RSVP, click here.