Presently, the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute operates Tulane’s Summer in Cuba Program, the first and largest undergraduate program ever nationally offered by a U.S. Center for Latin American Studies. The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute also offers speakers series, symposia, and conferences to the academic community and general public, where experts on Cuba and the Caribbean are invited to Tulane to discuss the culture, literature, visual arts, performance arts – particularly theatre and music, history, economics and other issues of interest. Reflecting our commitment to community outreach, these events are publicized on all major university campuses in New Orleans as well as in the non-academic community.
The Book Exchange and Donation Program is an area where the Institute is expanding its work. This program, operated in conjunction with the Latin American Library of Tulane University, exchanges and donates both fiction and non-fiction books as well as journals and other informational materials. Participating institutions include the University of Havana, the Echeverra Higher Polytechnic Institute, Cuban NGO’s, professional associations and other members of the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute’s network of collaborating institutions in Cuba.
Other activities of the Institute include advising, and facilitating travel licensing for professors and graduate students engaged in work in Cuba. The Institute also supports Tulane graduate student fellowships for research in Cuba and the Caribbean. These grants assist in covering airfare and/or lodging expenses during research projects in the area. The Institute works closely with numerous other units of Tulane University to develop, facilitate and implement Cuba-related projects. For example, the Institute has facilitated the efforts of the Tulane School of Law in its work on waterways conservation, environmental impact studies and information sharing with the Directorate of Environmental Policy.
The Institute has also facilitated collaborative research on the development of laws concerning the environment and bio-diversity issues. The Institute works with the School of Architecture in the Cuba-related aspects of their Master of Preservation Studies, which involves extensive study of Cuban architectural preservation efforts throughout the island as well as consultation on neighborhood revitalization efforts in Havana. The Cuba Working Group forms another area of activity of the Institute. The purpose of the working group is to bring together faculty and graduate students from Tulane and other universities to discuss and conduct research concerning Cuba. The objective is to stimulate research while examining issues of mutual interest and concern. This approach also allows participants to move beyond the seminar format and to develop and pursue direct research collaboration, similar to that typically characterizing training in the natural sciences. The working group unites scholars in different fields who together determine the precise focus of their research and training, such as political economy, gender issues, the environment, religious change, and culture. The group is funded by the Institute to pay for research assistance, materials and outside speakers.