The dynamics of contemporary Cuba – the culture, the people, and the politics – was the focus of a three-day symposium at the Graduate Center. The conference featured over 700 participants from around the world. Thirty-five panels presented perspectives from the social sciences and economics, the arts and the humanities, and the world of policymakers to provide a diverse look into various aspects of change in Cuba. The opening plenary “Current Dynamics, Changing Perspectives,” featured Professor Jorge Domínguez, Former U.S. Representative to Cuba Vicki Huddleston, and Canadian Economist Archibald Ritter. A second plenary on Cuba and the media brought together distinguished journalists from The New York Times, CNN, The Economist, and the Miami Herald. The third and final plenary included policymakers from Mexico, the U.S. Department of State, and the European Commission. The conference also included film screenings, book presentations, and a concert by the Cu-NY Latin Jazz Ensemble.
This international symposium focused on the Cuban reality from the early 1990s through 2006, presenting research on the nature of changes underway in economics, politics and policy models, civil society, art and literature, race relations, and national identity and culture, as well as Cuba’s role in world affairs. In fourteen panels and various other special events, the expert participants in this symposium examined various questions regarding the possibility and the realities of transition, economic and otherwise, in Cuba.
Cuba Today explored contemporary Cuban reality since the early 1990s. The crisis of state socialism after 1989 challenged pre-existing policies, practices, and assumptions, providing incentives for reform. Many areas of social life have experienced considerable change, while legacies of the revolution endure. The symposium probed patterns of continuity and change in economics, politics and policy, civil society, art and literature, race relations and national identity, and Cuba’s role in world affairs.
At its birth, several leaders of the new Cuban Republic and institutions vied for articulating Cuban identity, the state, and civil society. One legacy in particular, the nationalist and political ideas of José Martí, took a central stage among the followers of the Cuban separatist martyr and “apostle.”
This symposium focused on the life and work of Fernando Ortiz to explore the complex and fertile relationship between his work and Cuban history, culture, and the arts. This conference probed Ortiz’s vast oeuvre and provided a timely and provocative reassessment of his legacy.
The collapse the former Soviet Union left Cuba’s state socialism facing the challenge of reintegration into a largely capitalist world society. This conference examined the challenges confronting Cuba as it seeks to develop institutions and policies needed for international “re-insertion.”