1999 Annual Report
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Letter from the President
Fundación Amistad remains dedicated to its core mission of increasing the awareness of the American public on the history, culture and Cuban society through conferences, educational seminars, and exhibits. Over the course of the past year, Fundación has organized and sent several delegations to Cuba in an effort to carry out its mission. With future projects already in the works, Fundación’s believes its work is fostering good will and important professional and social relationships between Cuba and the United States.
During 1998-1999 Fundación successfully initiated professional contacts and educational exchanges between Cuba and the United States. Which included:
Future projects and initiatives for the upcoming year include:
As these projects are being planned and implemented, ongoing efforts are underway to seek foundation support.
I would like to thank all the many private citizens, foundations, and companies who have contributed and supported Fundación Amistad with all its work. It is my hope that as Fundación prepares for the coming year, it will receive continued support of old and new friends so we can carry on our mission to bring understanding between Cuba and the United States.
President [ top ]
The Status of Women and Children in Cuba
In March l998, Fundación Amistad organized a delegation of nine individuals who traveled to Cuba to investigate and observe the services available to a representative sample population of women and children.
The educational and the mental health needs of children and adolescents were particular priorities in the delegation’s observations. The delegation also devoted special attention to the issues of infant and child health care, reproductive and prevention services, vaccination programs for childhood diseases, average daily diet and national nutrition needs for children and pregnant women.
The delegation visited the Hermanas Giral (primary school) and Lenin School for Science and Technology (secondary school) schools, the Clinica del Adolescente in Havana, and various day-care centers. The delegation also visited several non-governmental organizations, including the Federation of Women, CARITAS CUBA, a Catholic institution that distributes humanitarian aid from Catholic Relief Services in other countries, MEDICC (Medical Educational Cooperation with Cuba, a program of the American Association of World Health), and UNICEF.
The group published a formal report on its findings, which were presented by Luly Duke, President of Fundación Amistad, on May 7, 1998 to the U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on Trade, Committee on Ways and Means.
This report provided an in-depth description of the delegation’ observations and cited the devastating lack of supplies as well as a weak infrastructure supporting education, day-care, and health care. These severe conditions have has a tremendous negative impact on Cuba’s academic, social and medical infrastructure. Although it is illegal to be unemployed in Cuba, guaranteed employment is a thing of the past; once vaunted advances in education and health care have deteriorated. In schools, shortages of educational materials such as textbooks and computers have exacerbated the already overcrowded classrooms operating in substandard conditions and buildings. Basic items such as food, clothing, medicine and cleaning materials are indeed scarce. In the area of medicine, Cuban physicians, although well-trained, lack access to basic medicine, let alone the latest research and techniques in their fields.
The delegation concluded that the continued imposition of the American trade embargo on Cuba would only further contribute to this decline.
Maria de Lourdes Duke (Luly): President of Fundacion Amistad, a nonprofit organization designed to increase US awareness of Cuban history, culture and society, and to find ways to improve life in Cuba. Mrs. Duke is also Vice President of The Harbor for Boys and Girls in New York City.
Gail Furman, Ph.D: child psychologist. Chair of the Children’s Task Force of the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children. Clinical Professor of Child Psychology, Child Study Center, NYU Medical School. Member of several boards focusing on educational/emotional needs of children worldwide.
Ruth Frazier: educational consultant in community organizing. Former President of Futures for Children, a nonprofit in New Mexico doing community work with American Indians. Mrs. Frazier has established independent community educational organizations in Colombia, Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico.
Nancy Lublin: founder and President of Dress for Success in New York City which provides clothing and training for women returning to work force. Author of book on the history of women’s reproductive rights. She is active in women’s issues.
Cristina Rathbone: journalist specializing in youth issues, urban poverty, and education. Author of On the Outside Looking In: A Year at an Inner City High School.
Eileen Stern: Director of the National Child Care Program for the General Services Administration, oversees all federal day care programs.
Mary Ann Schwalbe: consultant to the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children, US. Former director and current Board member of Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children. Extensive work in secondary and post-secondary education.
Clifford Tepper, MD: pediatrician, Professor of Pediatrics, Albany Medical College. Chief of Allergy Division, Ellis Hospital, and Co-Founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Lindsay Thompson, MD: pediatrics resident at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire. Extensive work with homeless adolescents in New York City. [ top ]
Preserving the Architecture of
Cuba has a rich architectural heritage dating back to the Spanish colonial era. This high architectural legacy has been threatened by the passage time and suffered due to insufficient regard to need for preservation and reconstruction.
On May 1, 1998, a collaboration between Fundación Amistad and the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum resulted in a one-day symposium on the topic of Cuban architecture titled “Preserving the Architecture of Cuba”. The day-long symposium was a ground-breaking success in that for the first time, Cuban, Cuban-American and American architects all shared the same podium in New York City to discuss the humanitarian and cultural aspects of Cuban architectural design, preservation, and materials usage. Barriers between scholars and professionals were broken down and a new bridge was built. All together, the program attracted a diverse audience of approximately 250 students, scholars, curators, preservation professionals, and members of the general public.
The Symposium consisted of two panels, each panel assigned a moderator who offered additional observations, suggested alternative strategies for research relevant to the topic, and facilitated discussion between the panelists and the audience.
The symposium was made possible through contributions of the Arthur Ross Foundation, the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, Friends of Fundación Amistad, and the James Marston Fitch Charitable Trust.
Opening remarks were made by:
Diane Pilgrim, Director, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Luly Duke, President, Fundación Amistad
Miquel Bretos, Counselor to the Secretary for Community Affairs, Smithsonian Institution
Participants and topics
Panel One: Historic and National Perspectives
Moderator: Gustavo Araoz, Executive Director, United States International Council on Monuments and Sites
Colonial Cuba: A Jewel in the Spanish Crown
José Gelabert-Navia, AIA, Partner, Perkins and Will, Adjunct Professor, School of Architecture, University of Miami
National Goals: Preserving Cuba’s Architectural Heritage
Isabel Rigol, Director Emeritus, National Center for Conservation, Restoration and Museology.
Architectural Conservation in Cuba: Methodology and Techniques
Rosa Lowinger, Architectural Conservator, Sculpture Conservation Studio
Panel Two: Case Studies and Contemporary Perspectives
Moderator: Adolfo V. Nodal, Manager, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles
Models for Community -Based Urban Development and Preservation in Havana
Mario Coyula, Sub-Director, Group for the Integrated Development of Havana
Bayamo: The City as Monument
Felipe Prestamo, Professor Emeritus, School of Architecture, University of Miami
Saving the Legacy of 20th Century Cuban Architecture
Eduardo Luis Rodriguez, Architect, Critic, Historian, Editor, Arquitectura Cuba
Arquitectura Desaparacida: Unknown Contemporary Cuban Masterpieces
John Loomis, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, City College of New York [ top ]
Duke University Study Abroad Summer Program
Fundación Amistad assisted Duke University in the development of their first study abroad summer program in Cuba. In May l998, a group of ten students arrived in Cuba with Professor Hortensia Calvo, and the program was held at Casa de las Americas in Vedado, Havana, Cuba.
This unique six week program focused on intensive study of Cuban cultural and social life as well as research on the role of Cuba as one of the greater forces in the history of the Americas, from the colonial period to the present. Excursions to historical sites on other parts of the island were included, and students were given the option of enrolling in a non-credit Spanish language course at Casa de las Americas.
One of the objectives of the program was to bridge the communication gap that exists between our respective countries. The ten students who participated were very pleased to have had the opportunity to learn about a country that has had almost no positive relations with the United States for the last forty years. One student stated, “ We have had an overwhelming experience; it may well take a few years before we realize the total value of it.”
Through this same exchange program, Duke University invited one of the Cuban professors, Ambrosio Fornet, to teach at Duke during the 1999 Spring Semester in a class co-taught with a Duke professor. These collaborations can only foster better understanding between our two nations.
Duke University will offer their Study Abroad Program in Cuba again in the summer of 2000. Professor Orin Starn, an anthropologist, will accompany the students. Based on the success of this program, Fundación Amistad and Duke University will explore the possibility of creating other Semester Abroad Programs.
Duke University Summer Study Abroad Course Offerings
Duke University Neurology Department and Dr. Calixto Machado
Fundación Amistad and Duke University invited Professor Calixto Machado, m.d. a Cuban neurologist to visit and lecture at the Duke University Medical Center in November l998. Dr. Machado had previously visited other medical centers in the United States and was most interested in visiting Duke University’s Neuro-Intensive Care Unit.
Dr. Machado’s host at Duke was Dr. Carmelo Graffagnino, the Co-Director of the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit. It was a very successful visit and the two doctors discovered that their professional interests and their current research projects are very similar. Dr. Graffagnino expressed interest in establishing a collaborative research effort between the Cuban Institute of Technology and Duke University’s Neurology Department.
Fundación Amistad is arranging for Dr. Graffagnino and Dai Wai Olson, R.N. a nurse from the Intensive care unit to visit The Instituto de Neurologia y Neurocirugia in Havana.
Dr. Graffagnino will start a protocol for a joint collaboration research program. (See May 1999) [ top ]
Medical System Evaluation and Research
In November of 1998, Fundación Amistad organized a delegation of professionals to research and evaluate the organization of the medical system in Cuba, with particular focus on family medicine. The delegation visited and interviewed doctors and other professionals at various teaching hospitals, “polyclinics”, Cuban vocational schools, and universities to research their facilities, specialties, and academic and residency requirements for doctors.
The delegation met with Dr. Clarivel Presno Labrador, of the Family Doctors Association, in Vedado, Havana. She gave a lecture to the group giving them an overview of the history of Cuban family medicine since the revolution and the organization of the medical system.
In general, primary care occurs through the family practitioner (or consultant), followed by referrals to the “polyclinic”, and then to a level of tertiary care at the hospitals. The Cuban medical system consists of three primary hospitals: the Hospital for Gynecology, the Hospital for Maternal and Infant Health, and the Surgical Hospital. Each hospital is staffed with specialists in the different medical disciplines. In addition to these hospitals, the delegation also visited hospitals like the William Soler Hospital Pediatrico, which serves the expressed purpose of primary care and surgical intervention for children.
“Polyclinics”, which currently number 442 in Cuba, have been established to relieve the patient care volume from the hospitals. A “polyclinic” consists of a pediatrician, a clinician, an obstetrician, a social worker, a statistician, a hygienist, and a dentist. Each “polyclinic” serves a specific geographical region seeing on average 43,000 patients with approximately 120 families per consulting unit. The consulting unit consists of a nurse and a doctor who actually reside in the area and provide service to the individuals in their neighborhoods. The consulting unit assumes primary responsibility for the health of the individuals and interfaces with the “polyclinic”.
The delegation also met with Dr. Elsa Gutierrez, Director of the Clinica del Adolescente who gave the group an overview of her work at the clinic and future programs the clinic would like to develop and implement (See January 1999 AACAP Trip & Future Projects). The Clinica del Adolescente sees approximately 3000 cases a year with 40,000 outpatient visits per year.
During the four days the delegation stayed in Cuba examining the medical system, the delegation concluded that they would like to develop the following:
This trip was made possible through gifts from Mr. Peter O’Neil and Mr. Ben Holloway.
Mrs. Luly Duke: President, Fundación Amistad
Mr. Ben Holloway: Trustee Emeritus, Duke University; Consultant, Continental Companies
Mr. Peter O’Neil: Boys Harbor
Dr. Jean Spaulding: Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Duke University Health System [ top ]
Amistad & American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
In January of 1999, Grupo Nacional de Psiquiatria, the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), and the Cuban Society of Psychiatry and its Child Psychiatry Section hosted a delegation consisting of members of Fundación Amistad and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and Dr. Gail Furman, Ph.D.
During the delegation stay in Cuba they researched the psychiatric services available to Cuban children and adolescents and Cuba’s experience in treating children and adolescents who suffer from post-traumatic stress.
The delegation visited urban and rural pediatric hospitals, partial-hospitalization programs, and “polyclinics. It also conducted interviews and meetings with officials from government agencies and various Cuban psychiatric groups and societies. The delegation shared information with their Cuban counterparts on the latest methodology for treating psychiatric problems and on ways of integrating psychiatric programs into community programs and schools.
The delegation understood the Cuban philosophy that “mental health and physical health” are not treated as separate problems, but as one condition. The foundation of the Cuban health care system is community-based primary care with a strong emphasis towards preventative health measures, especially maternal and child health.
Cuban psychiatrists have limited access to continuing medical education through journals, especially American publications. Clinical and laboratory equipment is limited and antiquated, and the availability of medicines is in very short supply.
The trip proved to be successful in that a relationship was established between the Cuban Psychiatric Society and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Luly Duke, President of Fundación Amistad and Executive Vice President of Boys Harbor, Inc.
Dr. Gail Furman, Ph.D., Child psychologist. Chair of the Children’s Task Force of the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children. Clinical Professor of Child Psychology, Child Study Center, NYU Medical School. Member of several boards focusing on educational/emotional needs of children.
David Pruitt, M.D., President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
Clarice Kestenbaum,M.D., President Elect of AACAP
Virginia Q. Anthony, Executive Director of AACAP
Theodore Petti, M.D., Treasurer of AACAP
Marilyn Benoit, M.D., Secretary of AACAP
William Arroyo, M.D., Member or the AACAP Council
E. James Anthony, M.D., Chair of AACAP’s Committee on International Relations
Lynn Ponton, M.D., Chair of AACAP’s Committee on Disaster and Trauma Issues
Graeme Hanson, M.D., Chair of AACAP’s Work Group on Schools
Paul Adams, M.D. [ top ]
University Neurological Department and Fundación Amistad exchange with
Cuban Institute of Neurology and Neuro-Surgery
In May 1999, Fundación Amistad coordinated and sponsored an exchange with Dr. Carmelo Graffagnino and his nurse Michael Dai Wai Olson of Duke University Medical Center’s Neurology Department, to visit the Instituto de Neurologia y Neurocirugia in Havana. Dr. Calixto Machado, who had been previously hosted at Duke University by Dr. Graffagnino (See November 1998), who was the host of this group. The purpose of this visit was to explore the common research interests and projects of the two doctors and their respective institutions.
At the Instituto, Dr. Graffagnino presented Neurological Grand Rounds on two occasions with over 50 attendants, including physicians and residents in training. The rounds lasted between 2 – 4 hours, which displayed to Dr. Graffagnino an outstanding degree of enthusiasm from the Cuban doctors. Dr. Graffagnino found the physicians of the Instituto were highly knowledgeable and well trained in medicine and neurocritical care.
During the same period of time, Mr. Olson held a number of in-service lectures for the nursing staff of the Neurological and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit. He reported likewise that the nursing staff of the Instituto was very knowledgeable, highly trained, and committed professionals.
Towards the conclusion of the trip to the Instituto, the group held a number of conferences and meetings with the directorship of the Institute. Both the director, the attending physicians, and Dr. Graffagnino are of the opinion that this visit was only the first step in a long collaboration between Duke University and the Neurological and Neurosurgical Institute of Havana. They identified a number of areas for future development.
The first area pertaining to this shared research will include the initiation of a clinical study of tomographic EEG techniques in the setting of cerebral ischemia and vasospasm. Dr. Calixto Machado has pioneered this technology, which Dr. Graffagnino believes will show great promise in monitoring and diagnosing cerebral ischemia in his patients with stroke and vasospasm. As a next step, it is Dr. Graffagnino desire to invite Dr. Machado to come to Duke University Medical Center to establish this technology at Duke and conduct a research collaboration with his institute.
A second area of future collaboration relates to the education and training of Cuban physicians in the field of neuro-critical care. Dr. Graffagnino and Mr. Olson would like to establish a fellowship training program through for Cuban neurologists and neurosurgeons who wish to acquire advanced neuro-critical care techniques and training in clinical trials methodology.
The third area of collaboration the group wishes to pursue is a continued visitation and exchange of physicians and nurses.
Dr. Machado has also invited Dr. Graffagnino and Mr. Dai Wai Olson to attend and participate in the Third International Symposium on Coma and Death, which will be hosted by the Neurological and Neurosurgical Institute. During this symposium, the physicians and nurses would be able to hold simultaneous round table discussion and training programs for neuro-critical care nurses from Cuba, as well as from other countries.
In summary, Dr. Graffagnino and Dr. Machado felt the trip was a major success. Both doctors are very enthusiastic about the possibilities of continued interaction and the prospect of joint collaboration. It is Fundación’s hope that these two doctors and their institutions will continue to work together to advance not only the field of medicine, but also the relationship between the United States and Cuba.
This exchange to Cuba was made possible by a grant from Pfizer, Inc. [ top ]
International Culture and Development Congress
In March 1999, Fundación Amistad was invited to attend the First Culture and Development Congress in Havana. Fundación assembled a delegation of educators, professionals to participate and present workshops and lectures at the Congress.
The First International Culture and Development Congress was aimed at establishing a space for reflection and making up a collective learning forum enabling an exchange of ideas, experiences, knowledge, and projects. Professionals and institutions involved in all aspects of cultural processes were invited in order to determine what is common and unique to Cuba and other cultures around the world. The Congress convened with the hope of facing new challenges and drawing up new strategies to face the new millennium, while reassessing the cultural focus from which development concepts and practices must stem. The theme of the Congress was “Ethical Development from an Ethical Perspective” and was divided into the following nine topics:
The Congress was sponsored by UNESCO, UNICEF, the Organization of Iberian-American States for Education, Science, and Culture (O.E.I), the Latin American Economic System (SELA), the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC), Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and the Ministries of: Culture, Foreign Relations, Science, Technology, and the Environment; and Education.
Fundación Amistad’s delegation presented the following workshops:
Environmental Studies for Children in the City: Presented by Dr. Robert Wallace and Luly Duke, The Harbor Academy for Environmental Science and the Arts
This lecture shared with the Congress some of the ways in which the Harbor Academy, a school for inner-city children in New York City, works with children in the school and after-school programs to explore and appreciate the natural environment in the city. This is done from the perspective of scientific investigation and through the integration of the visual and performing arts.
Museum as a Social Catalyst: Presented by Ms. Sharon Sun-Mei Mah, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Education Department
This lecture discussed the collaborations between Cuban and US organizations, Design as a neutral framework, and educating new audiences. The Cuban architecture and preservation programs developed by Fundación Amistad and the Museum serve as an international platform for discussion among architects, academics, preservationists, and concerned citizens. The Fundación Amistad and Museum sponsored lectures and conferences address topics from the historical value of various buildings to adapting conservation techniques using materials available in Cuba.
Mestizo Architecture in Southern Texas: Presented by Henry Muñoz, Kell Muñoz Wigodsky Architects
This lecture explored the influence of Spanish, Mexican, and other Latin American and Caribbean styles on architecture in southern Texas that have evolved into its own distinct style of architecture.
As a result of this congress, Fundación Amistad is in the process of developing future projects and collaborations with various cultural entities in Cuba such as UNESCO, Instituto Superior de Artes, Buen Día Theatre, and the Teatro Nacional. Fundación is discussing the development of a community based theatre program with the Teatro Nacional de Cuba.
Fundación’s delegation to the First International and Cultural Development Congress was made possible by a grant from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation and the Arthur Ross Foundation. [ top ]
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Fundación Amistad (The Friendship Foundation) is a 501(c)(3), not for profit organization created in 1997.