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A Promising Reality

Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba


Edited By Venessa Ann Brown and Menah Pratt-Clarke

A Promising Reality: Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba is a compilation of the reflections of a group of chief diversity officers, faculty, and educators from the United States about Cuba. As part of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education delegation to Cuba in July, 2015, A Promising Reality represents a collection of voices, experiences, and perspectives about issues of race, gender, cultural identity, and the African experience in Cuba. Key themes explored include Cuban culture, the Cuban Revolution, politics, economics, education, equity, and social change. Utilizing narrative inquiry, some of the reflections are comparative with the United States, and some reflections focus exclusively on Cuba. The book takes readers on a journey of thought-provoking stories that reflect the excitement, uncertainty, complexity, and promising possibilities on the cusp of changing diplomatic, political, economic, and social relationships between the United States and Cuba. A Promising Reality seeks to broaden the perspectives of its readers regarding US-Cuban relations. This book is ideal for courses on international relations, international studies, international affairs, comparative cultures, political science, education, politics, sociology, history, race, gender, and social justice. It is a must-read for anyone traveling to Cuba as part of study-abroad, professional development, or personal adventure.

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4. Cuba and Connections to Childhood (Venessa Ann Brown)


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4. Cuba and Connections to Childhood


Editors’ Note: Dr. Venessa Brown is the Associate Chancellor for the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She is a Professor in the Department of Social Work and she received her doctorate from Clark Atlanta University, her master’s degree from Atlanta University School of Social Work, and her bachelor’s degree from Greenville College.

Cuba: The Chance of a Lifetime

In 2014, I received an email announcing that the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) was preparing a trip to Cuba to explore issues of race, gender, and culture. I immediately felt excited knowing that joining NADOHE for this trip would be the chance of a lifetime. I remembered that our then Chancellor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), Dr. Julie Furst-Bowe, had travelled to Cuba in 2013 to establish an exchange program with the University of Havana. I approached her to talk about her trip and to gain feedback regarding whether I should join the NADOHE trip. After a great conversation about the opportunities that SIUE faculty and students have through the exchange program, she encouraged me to seriously consider going. She highlighted that the trip would be a great professional development opportunity for me, as well as a way to strengthen the existing partnership between SIUE and the University of Havana, providing benefit to students and faculty...

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