Alternative Spring Break to Examine Cuba in the Era of Reconnection

How has 70 years of fractious and fractured relations defined the evolution of Cuba and the United States, what consequences will come from healing those rifts and how might recent changes in the leadership of both countries affect reconnection and its impact on the lives of ordinary Cubans?

A group of Duke University undergraduate students will be selected to participate in the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ alternative spring break 2017 to Havana, Cuba. The group will travel to Cuba for 5 or 6 days during the week of March 13th for an immersion into the opportunities and challenges posed by the resumption of normal relations between the United States and Cuba after nearly 70 years of tension and distrust. All costs will be covered by the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Participants will explore the the social, economic, geophysical/environmental consequences of reconnection between Cuba and the United States, from multiple viewpoints, including the attitudinal contrasts between those who are old enough to remember the Batista government and those who have come of age only knowing post-Revolution Cuba and perhaps comparing those divisions to those found in the Cuban exile communities in the U.S. Students will examine the complexities of Cuba’s bifurcated economy, which segregates tourist income from the local marketplace, the social effects of ending ‘Wet foot/Dry foot,’ the de facto ecological protections codified by the restoration of the U.S.-Cuba relations and how Castro’s revolution had profound, if unexpected consequences for gender roles and empowerment.

Prior to the trip, the group will meet several times with guest speakers and to discuss readings. During the trip students will have evening reflections and will keep a journal documenting their questions, concerns, and experiences. These journals will form the basis of an exhibit upon return to Duke.

To apply:

Please submit your application via this form by 5 PM on February 15th 2017. Interviews will take place during the week of February 20th, 2017.

The Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, January 27, 2017


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