Home | History | Past Projects | What's New | Board of Directors | ContactFebruary 2000
Delegation of Environmental Educators
In February 2000, Fundación Amistad organized a delegation of professionals in the field of environmental education, including: Dr. Norman L. Christensen, Dean and Professor of Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment; Dr. Cynthia Thomashow, Co-Director of the Center for Environmental Education and Professor at Antioch College; and Dr. Robert James Wallace, Director of The Harbor Academy for Environmental Studies and the Arts at Boys Harbor in East Harlem, New York. Their Cuban hosts were Enrique Dalmau and Dolores Rico of the Cuban Environmental Information Management and Education Center. The delegation explored the priorities of Cuban environmental groups, promoted collaboration with U.S. scientists, and studied environmental education and awareness programs on the island.
The delegation met with professionals from government agencies in Cuba that set environmental policies as well as organizations involved in environmental education and the study of soil and the atmosphere. These included the Metropolitan Park, the National Zoo, the National Aquarium, the Museum of Natural History, and the Sierra de Rosario Biosphere Reserve.
The "V Jornada Científica Infantil: Los Niños de Hoy por el Mar del Futuro" (Children of Today for the Ocean of the Future)
In an exchange developed directly as a result of the February 2000 Environmental Educators Delegation's trip to Cuba, Fundación Amistad, in conjunction with the National Aquarium of Cuba, sponsored a student delegation of inner-city children from the Boys Harbor Academy for Environmental Studies and the Environment. The students traveled to Havana to attend the "V Jornada Científica Infantil: Los Niños de Hoy por el Mar del Futuro." The group, composed of 5th and 6th graders, had been studying fresh water pond and salt water coastal and bay ecology through their work at the Harbor Academy in Central Park and at the Boys Harbor Camp located on Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton, NY. The students presented their class work and the methodologies to children, teachers, and professionals at the conference.
While in Havana, the student group also gave a workshop at the Metropolitan Park for students, teachers, and school administrators on their studies in New York City's Central Park. The goal of this workshop was to demonstrate to the Cuban educators and children the Harbor's use of an urban park as a powerful setting and tool for environmental education. The goal of the exchange was to promote this type of community project in the Metropolitan Park and in other urban parks throughout Cuba.
Casa de las Américas: Resource Development Training Program
In 1999, Fundación Amistad organized an exploratory delegation from the Ford Foundation to meet with the executive and operational management of Casa de las Américas to discuss the need and viability of a resource development training program. As a result, a program was designed to help Casa de las Américas achieve its most pressing goal, which is to develop and modernize its library. The Resource Development Training Program was designed to provide Casa the means to secure funding for the future of the library, and for the future of the organization as a whole through prudent and effective policies and fundraising.
In April, 2000, Fundación Amistad implemented a week-long comprehensive training program led by Michael Seltzer, former Acting Chair of Nonprofit Management at the New School University, and a team of professional consultants and educators in the fields of non-profit management, resource development and fundraising. The team worked directly with approximately 20 of Casa de las Américas staff members. The program consisted of workshops, seminars, and presentations on the following topics:
Project Planning, Assessment, and Development
Resource Development: Sources, Strategies and Planning
Resource Development Planning
Capital Campaign Planning
Cuban Congress on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Havana, Cuba
In June 2000, Fundación Amistad sponsored the participation of Dr. Elsa Morse and Dr. Elissa Zelman in the first Cuban Congress on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The conference included lectures, workshops and visits to community-based mental health clinics. Many of the other American delegates to the Congress were members of Fundación's January 1999 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry delegation to Cuba. Fundación is pleased to note the development of such subsequent, independent projects from one of our past projects.
In addition to attending the congress, Drs. Morse and Zelman conducted an evaluation of the Clínica del Adolescente s program, Towards a Happy Adolescence in the Year 2000 . Both doctors are staff members of the Boys Harbor's Mental Health Clinic and are familiar with community and school-based mental health programs. They concluded that the program is being well-managed and is a valuable asset to the communities it services.
Visit of Dr. Fernando García Yip
In July, 2000, Fundación Amistad sponsored a visit by Dr. Fernando de la Conception Garcia Yip, a radiologist from the Cuban National Institute of Oncology and Radiology, to attend the Chicago 2000 World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering. While in Chicago he also attended a pre-Congress short course on "New Techniques in Radiotherapy." Fundación Amistad, together with the architectural and planning firm of Hardy Holzman and Pfeiffer Associates (HHPA), also invited and co-sponsored Adriana Choy, a Cuban graduate architecture student, to participate in an educational internship at HHPA. While there, she worked directly with the director of planning and urban design on design issues and projects.
"Towards a Happy Adolescence" Program Expansion
In 1999, Fundación Amistad began to implement a new program entitled, "Towards a Happy Adolescence in the Year 2000" at the Clínica del Adolescente in Havana, Cuba. The program, which is headed by Drs. Elcida Alvarez and Elsa Gutierrez, has trained more than 20 professionals to work in schools on various issues surrounding child and adolescent mental health. The grant also allowed the Clínica to purchase much needed equipment and to implement an after-school program for children. Fundación Amistad has worked with UNICEF to coordinate the project with the Clínica. In July 2000, Fundación Amistad expanded the "Towards a Happy Adolescence" program into more schools and began to train teachers and other child mental health workers. To date, over 150 children have been helped through the transition from childhood to adolescence, and many more are in line to be assisted by this program. The Clínica would like to expand the program into another five schools and train another 20 professionals in the course by the end of 2001.
Based on the success of this program, the Clínica staff is developing a formal curriculum for the schools of child and adolescent mental health issues. Dr. Gutierrez is authoring a book titled, Adolescence: Life Phase 13 - 19. The book will include topics that both teachers and children consider as relevant to this crucial period of human development.
Librarian Conference and Exchange
Fundación Amistad invited and sponsored the trip to the United States of Ernesto Sierra and Orlando Oliva, of the Library of the Casa de las Americas, a multi-faceted cultural and arts institution in Havana. While in the U.S. the librarians participated in the REFORMA Second National Congress on The Power of Language: Planning for the 21st Century in Arizona during August 3 - 6, 2000. Reforma is the acronym for the Asociación Nacional para Promover Servicios Bibliotecarios a la Población de Habla Hispana. Mr. Sierra made a presentation at the Congress about the library at Casa de las Americas. This visit was a component of a larger capacity building project with Casa de las Américas in Havana, organized and implemented by Fundación Amistad.
After the Congress, Fundación Amistad together with the Northeast Chapter of REFORMA arranged visits and meetings at other libraries in the New York City area, as well as the Smithsonian Institutions, the Library of Congress, and the libraries of Duke University and the University of Chapel Hill.
Voices of Change Program
Also in August, Fundcaión inaguarated the Voices of Change Program. This program unites moderate Cuban-Americans who feel that their progressive views on Cuban issues and Cuban-American relations have been largely neglected both within the conservative-domintated leadership of the Cuban-American community, as well on a broader, national level. Through a series of meetings in New York, Boston, New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles and other cities, the voices meetings provide both an avenue for articulation for progressive elements, and the establishment of chapters in a national-level organization.
La Güinera Community Baseball Initiative
In June 1999, Fundación Amistad sent a delegation to La Güinera, a community of 24,000 residents located on the outskirts of Havana. Fundación's delegation studied the community center's various programs designed to address the special needs of its young people. At that time, the community leaders expressed their desire to begin organizing baseball teams as a healthy recreational activity for youth, but they noted the lack of equipment as a serious obstacle.
Subsequently, Fundación Amistad has collected baseball and other sports equipment for La Güinera's six primary schools and two secondary schools through a collection campaign launched in August 2000 in the Long Island, New York. The enthusiastic response was reflected in members' willingness to volunteer, as well as provide equipment and monetary donations. This equipment was delivered in conjunction with the Salvation Army. September 2000
Nicholas Robins, Ph.D. Named Executive Director of Fuyndación Amistad
We are pleased to announce that Nicholas Robins, Ph.d., joined Fundación Amistad as the Executive Ddirector and as a board member. The founder and former director of the Cuban Studies Institute at Tulane University, Dr. Robins brings many years of experience to Fundación in the areas of promoting international understanding and building academic and cultural exchange programs between the United States and Cuba. In so doing, he has worked with and maintains close relations with broad segments of Cuban society.
Seventh Havana Art Biennial
The 7th Havana Art Biennial has been arranged by the Wilfredo Lam Art Center in Cuba through UNESCO and took place in November 2000. This year's event has been titled, "Closer to the Other," and over 170 artists, designers, and architects from more than 40 countries are expected to participate.
Fundación Amistad invited various professionals and members of the art community to attend the Biennial and participate in moderated working sessions. In additional to the official Biennial events, Fundación Amistad, in conjunction with the Ludwig Foundation, has arranged an organized visit for delegates to Cuban galleries, studios, and cultural events throughout Havana.
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Fundación Amistad (The Friendship Foundation) is a 501(c)(3), not for profit organization created in 1997.