By Fundación Amistad Board Member, Lana Mullen —
Cuba Futures: Past and Present is an international and interdisciplinary symposium hosted yearly by the Bildner Center at CUNY. The 2011 symposium featured a fascinating array of presenters, from veteran thinkers on Cuban policy to young scholars offering fresh perspectives on issues that have proven intractable over the past 50 years.
The presentations ranged from informative status updates to such innovative thinking as re-purposing the US-owned Guantanamo base to produce sugar-based ethanol. Timely reports were given on subjects in the news today such as the Sixth Congress and the recently initiated oil drilling in the Florida Straits.
In between sessions, participants demonstrated a palpable sense of collegiality and delight to see one another despite differing points of view.
Our own Luly Duke organized a special session titled “US NGOs in Cuba: Reality, Challenges, and Promise.” The informative presentations on the work and goals of NGOs elicited a lively discussion amongst the session attendees eager to share past experiences and offer support to future efforts.
No matter what the perspective and personal experience, it was clear that all participants shared a deep and abiding fondness and concern for our close neighbor, and a unified hope that our nations would someday be reunited in friendship.