The opportunity for increased academic and research engagement with Cuba inspired a recent visit to Havana, where USC administrators met with leading higher education institutions and the Cuban Ministry of Higher Education.
Led by USC Provost Michael Quick, the USC visit was hosted in December by Vice Minister for Higher Education Dr. Aurora Fernandez Gonzalez. Conversations spanned student research and engagement opportunities to new possibilities for collaboration in basic and social sciences, the arts and medicine.
“The USC community has benefited from academic engagement with Cuba since 2000, when the Marshall School of Business led the first U.S. student group to the Island under the socialist system. As the country has been of increasing interest to our faculty and students, we’re building relationships with the leading institutions in science, the arts, and medicine in Cuba,” said Anthony Bailey, vice president for strategic and global initiatives.
The Cuban Ministry of Higher Education hosted USC for meetings with several Cuban institutions, including the University of Havana, Instituto Superior de Artes, the leading institute for arts education, and the University for Medical Sciences of Havana and the Latin American School for Medicine, two of the country’s leading medical schools.
USC Engagement with Cuba
The USC team also toured and met with collaborators at the Cuban Neurosciences Center. CNEURO, as it is known in Cuba, is a world-class neuroscience research and development center. CNEURO has an ongoing relationship with researchers from the USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute.
Building on these ties, USC hosted neuroscientist Dr. Pedro Valdes-Sosa, general vice director of CNEURO, as a distinguished guest speaker, and in June 2016, USC Keck School of Medicine and CNEURO signed an agreement to collaborate in joint educational and scientific activities.
USC has been a pioneer in academic engagement with Cuba. USC Marshall Professor Carl Voigt led the first U.S. business school delegation to Cuba in 2000, establishing the Cuba ExCEL (International Experiential Corporate Learning) program.
The two-week immersion course teaches future business leaders about Cuban business, economy, history and infrastructure and serves as a model for other top business schools, which have since initiated Cuba study programs. Dr. Voigt has led over 1,000 USC students to Cuba since 2000, including a group of 39 scheduled to visit the island nation this month.
USC Fisher Museum Acquisitions
USC Fisher Museum of Art recently made the university’s first acquisitions of Cuban artwork. Director Selma Holo toured artist studios in Havana in May 2016, purchasing six works of art for the USC Fisher permanent collection including works from artists Cirenaica Moreira, José M. Fors, Eduardo Leyva and Frank Mujica.
The studio tour resulted in the first Cuban exhibition at USC Fisher, titled ¡Cuba!, from September 13 to November 19, 2016.
By Angela McCracken