Michael Visser, chair of the Department of Economics, was chosen to join a group of U.S. scholars traveling to Cuba Dec. 13–19 as part of an education and research delegation. The appointment follows engagement and easing of restrictions with Cuba by the Obama Administration earlier this year. The international relations effort is sponsored by the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) in collaboration with the Instituto Cubano de Investigación Cultural Juan Marinello. It is intended to introduce faculty members from COPLAC-accredited colleges and universities to contemporary issues in Cuban society, such as population demographics, natural resource management, economic integration, and civil society from multidisciplinary Cuban perspectives.
“This delegation represents an important opportunity for SSU, both in demonstrating our leadership in the study and research of economics, and as participants in the critical process of relationship building that is now taking place,” said Visser. “By developing research and educational ties within Cuba, we open SSU and northern California to a one-of-a-kind chance to influence change and identify opportunities at a meaningful time in history.”
Organizers of the Cuba excursion include Elena Adell and Greta Trautmann, associate professors of language at University of North Carolina, Asheville, and Steven Elliott-Gower, associate professor of political science at Georgia College. Longer-term goals of the program include the development of collaborative research projects between COPLAC and Cuban scholars, a visiting faculty program, and a COPLAC-institution study abroad program.
“U.S.-Cuban relations are stabilizing and that means opportunity to engage at the ground level with scholars and community leaders in ways that complement and support closer political and economic relations,” said William Silver, Dean of the School of Business and Economics. “We look forward to sharing the results of this tour and its impact and importance to SSU and the broader communities we serve.”
Current Executive MBA students in the School of Business and Economics will also have an opportunity to travel to Cuba in Spring 2016 as part of the international study tour and experiential learning component of the executive-level program.