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A Promising Reality

Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba

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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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8. Finding Home in Cuba (Na’im Madyun)

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8. Finding Home in Cuba

NA’IM MADYUN

Editors’ Note: Dr. Na’im Madyun is the Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Diversity and Equity Programs in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Madyun received his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, and his masters and doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

His research has focused on opportunity and outcome gaps by integrating social capital and cultural capital theories in the study of students of color from middle school to college.

The human brain is designed to absorb, encode, and operate from multiple pathways of information simultaneously to inform how we engage with our environments and how we respond to those very engagements. We travel down these paths to learn more about the information present within each path and to also discover more about ourselves along the way. Understanding these pathways of information is almost as complex as identifying the paths, as some of these paths are more explicit than others. This reality becomes even more complex when the implicit paths intersect with the more explicit ones. There is indeed a certain peacefulness present when one finds harmony between the journey down the path and the discovery of the implicit and explicit paths that intersect to inform that journey. Such was my approach in traveling to Cuba. I wanted to learn more about my current understanding of who I am,...

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