UA Establishes Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship

  • February 6th, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved today the establishment of the Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship at UA.

The new research center will build on the activities of the Alabama-Cuba Initiative, a 13-year effort to establish educational opportunities in Cuba for UA students and faculty. Both the center and the initiative efforts have been led by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences.

UA and Cuban educators and academic institutions have worked together since 2002, through an academic travel license from the U.S. Department of Treasury, which permits travel to Cuba for certain specific educational activities. More than 45 disciplines and departments, approximately 85 faculty, and nearly 75 graduate and undergraduate students at UA have participated in the initiative.

“The last 13 years have been highly productive for our students and faculty,” said Dr. Robert Olin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This new center allows us to dive deeper into those educational opportunities. The study of Cuba is indeed a growing research field, one for which we are prepared with our already established ties with our Cuban educational counterparts.”

The center, as approved by the board, will continue the development of scholarly activities for faculty and students with institutions and programs in Cuba. Its main focus will be to actively encourage authorized activities between UA faculty and students and their counterparts in Cuba.

UA hosted its first group of Cuban educators in 2003, inviting 10 Cuban photographers, economists, writers, scientists, poets and other professionals to join with UA Latin American experts for three days of workshops and presentations. The participants exchanged ideas about differences and similarities between the two cultures regarding such academic subjects as varied as baseball, the mambo and drinking-water standards.

Since that time more than 80 scholarly activities including articles, artworks, performances, exhibitions and books have been produced by UA faculty involved in the Alabama-Cuba Initiative.

UA’s College of Arts and Sciences has offered a study abroad program in Cuba each spring since 2009. UA students earn academic credit while spending a semester in Cuba under the supervision of a UA faculty member.

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The Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.


Steve Miller, professor, 205/348-1525,; Bob Olin, dean, College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-5972,


Stephanie Kirkland, communications specialist, College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-8539,

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.