Visions of Cuba: Exploring a Nation through Civil Society

June 5-14, 2013

Fund for Reconciliation and Development
145 Palisade Street, Suite 401, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
OFAC People to People License No. CT-2012-293609-1

Organized by the Fund for Reconciliation and Development in cooperation with St. Olaf College

Join us on an in-depth exploration of Cuba from Havana to Santiago. We'll meet with scholars, leaders at non-profit organizations, and friends that Jeane and Gwen have collaborated with for the past 15 years. Their combined expertise provides us the opportunity to explore and come to understand the many nuances of Cuban society, culture, history, and relationship with the United States. We'll witness the economic transition, hear talented musicians, admire the efforts to assist marginalized populations, and discover the country's diverse cities.

Program highlights

  • Explore Old Havana with a guide from the Office of the City Historian
  • Learn about agricultural production and food security issues with Dr. Rafael Hernández, editor of Temas magazine
  • Tour Cabildo Quiscuaba, a community organization focused on Afro-Cuban spiritual traditions
  • Visit with the staff of the Núnez Jiménez Foundation (FANJ)
  • Meet with the Christian center for Christian Dialogue (CCRD), an independent organization involved in local development and human rights
  • Enjoy a private concert and dance performance at the Danza Teatro Retazos
  • Hear the Cuba perspective of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion in Girón
  • Meet with entrepreneurs Ermes Ramirez Criado and Idiana Morena, the founders of NaturArte
  • Visit the Casa del Caribe Educational Center and meet with its staff

Program leaders

Jeane DeLaney (Ph.D. in Latin American History, M.A. Latin American Studies) is Associate Professor of History and Hispanic Studies at St. Olaf. She teaches courses on Modern Latin America, Cuba, the Environmental History of Latin America, as well as courses focusing on U.S.–Latin American cultural relations. Since 1997, she has traveled to Cuba regularly, and has led five St. Olaf interim programs to the island. This highly popular program, which focuses on Cuban history and the construction of historical memory through the use of museums, memorials and monuments, also introduces students to the workings of contemporary Cuba and to the experiences of ordinary citizens. During their month-long stay, students travel throughout the country and learn first-hand how Cubans face the challenges of a socialized economy and an authoritarian political system that are only slowly beginning to change. This is Professor DeLaney's first St. Olaf Study Travel program; she is eager to share her expertise in Cuban affairs with "continuing learners" and to collaborate with Professor Barnes-Karol to make possible this rare opportunity to travel to one of the hemisphere's most fascinating countries.

Gwen Barnes-Karol (Ph.D. in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures) is Professor of Spanish at St. Olaf. She teaches a wide of range of courses in the Spanish language as well as the literature and culture of Spain including courses on religious minorities throughout Spanish history (Jews, Muslims, and Protestants) and contemporary issues in Spain. She has taught seven St. Olaf interims abroad in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Spain, in addition to leading two St. Olaf Study Travel programs in Spain and teaching summer graduate-level courses in Spain for U.S. teachers of Spanish. In addition, she has taught the Spanish-language discussion component for Professor DeLaney's Modern Latin American History course eight times. This will be Professor Barnes-Karol's first trip to Cuba, and she is looking forward to continuing her long-standing collaboration with Professor Delaney on the island.

What to expect

Movement between cities will be by air-conditioned private motor coach. Movement within each city and at cultural/historic sites will be on foot. You should be capable of walking up to five miles per day over possibly uneven terrain, of climbing stairs that may not have handrails, of climbing in and out of various types of transportation, of keeping pace with an active group of travelers on long days of traveling, of dealing with the emotional highs and lows that can occur when experiencing different cultures, and of traveling with a group for several hours each day.

Hotels will be tourist class (three or four star) with private baths, air conditioning, and English-speaking staff.

Temperatures in June will average lows around 74º Fahrenheit, and highs around 86.

You should plan on seeing your family physician or a travel doctor at least four to six weeks prior to departure, preferably earlier, to talk about routine vaccinations. For more information on travel health, visit or

Program fee

The program fee is $4,750 per person. Based on double occupancy, it includes seminars by Jeane Delaney and Gwen Barnes-Karol, airfare for Miami-Havana and Santiago-Miami, accommodations, breakfast daily and group meals as listed on the itinerary, admissions for group activities, ground transportation, and gratuities for group meals and guides. For single occupancy, add $275.

Airfare between Miami and your home town is not included in the program fee. Participants are solely responsible for all expenses not specifically included in the program fee. Examples of excluded expenses are: airfare between Miami and your home town, airport transfers in Miami, any possible overnight stay in Miami, any passport and visa fees, any recommended immunizations or vaccinations, accident / baggage / trip cancellation insurance, beverages, laundry, dry cleaning, phone charges, room service or mini bar charges, expenses incurred during free time or non-group activities, and lunch and dinner, unless specifically included on program itinerary.

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