College Faculty & Students Forge Partnerships with Cuban Counterparts
By Jason M. Sheldon
UConn is expanding its global engagement to the shores of Cuba with the help of faculty members and students from the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. A June conference at the Instituto de Ciencia Animal provided an opportunity for UConn to share its collaborative spirit with Cuba, now possible with the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States last year.
Students Gabrielle West, Gabriela Murillo and Jacques Julien made the journey to Cuba to present their research at Interjoven 2016, the VII Encuentro Internacional de Jóvenes Agropecuarios. The international conference focuses on engaging researchers, producers and technicians from around the world on topics related to the development of sustainable agricultural production and beneficial health initiatives. The conference also hopes to inspire youth in the country to become involved and invested in agricultural production, which has steadily declined over the years.
UConn Secures Verbal Agreements with Seven Cuban Institutions for Collaborative Health Research
By Katrina Aberizk
When Dr. Tania Huedo-Medina, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, Director of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy’s (InCHIP) Biostatistics Core, and Director of the forthcoming InCHIP center for Ibero-American health, approached the University of Connecticut’s Vice President for Global Affairs Dr. Daniel Weiner and InCHIP Director Dr. Jeffrey Fisher with her idea to launch a health science research initiative in Cuba, she was not sure whether her idea would meet with their approval or support. Enter Dr. Weiner’s long-standing interest and history of work in Cuba, Dr. Fisher’s interest in global health research and InCHIP’s significant expertise in this area, and President Obama’s timely efforts to peel back the United States’ economic embargo on Cuba, and Huedo-Medina has a recipe for success.
Huedo-Medina, Weiner and Fisher know that an initiative in Cuba, a nation that has been mostly isolated from the United States since before the Cuban Revolution, requires the utmost patience to plan. Diplomatic and financial challenges related to the economic embargo, and the troubled history of US-Cuba relations, produce a hindrance to seamless academic exchanges with this Latin American country. Weiner’s past cultural work in Cuba and Huedo-Medina’s Spanish heritage, knowledge of Cuban history and culture, and ability to speak the language have positioned the University to be uniquely successful in endeavors in Cuba.