What Our Members Say

The community and comradery of the UC Cuba Academic Initiative is unmatched in other academic forums. Add to that a continuous source of intellectual renewal and growth that occurs when you have microbiologists and literary critics in dialogue. As a graduate student, presenting at and organizing the UC Cuba workshops not only meant professional development, but it also resulted in new projects, as I was exposed to content and methodologies outside of my disciplinary training. Most significantly, these workshops, with their unique format of presentation and feedback, provided an incredibly welcoming space for junior scholars to flourish. When the time came to travel to Cuba to do research, you arrived with funds from the Academic Initiative and a long list of contacts to help you navigate institutions and the day-to-day living on the island. Now as an Assistant Professor on the east coast, I continue to be a part of this very diverse network of Cuba Studies scholars; we collaborate on projects, draw from each other’s research, and provide each other with the support an encouragement that is so distinctive of UC Cuba.

Dr. Christina Garcia,
Assistant Professor, Spanish,
College of Charleston, South Carolina


I have been a member of the UC Cuba academic community since the beginning of my doctoral program at UCLA. Because the UC Cuba community is vital for anyone researching or working in Cuba today, my involvement continued throughout my PhD program, my UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCI , and as an assistant professor at UC San Diego. UC Cuba has provided vital information for navigating the ever-changing terrain of conducting long-term fieldwork in Cuba. The network of scholars have generously provided advice, guidance, and shared their connections on the island to help enable the fieldwork I have been able to undertake on the island. In the US, our UC Cuba conferences and listserve have also provided venues for intellectual growth and stimulation that has been invaluable to my ability to synthesize and analyze my research. UC Cuba has become more than just an academic community for me, it is a group of life long friends that I have grown with as an intellectual over my many years in the UC System.

Dr. Hanna Garth,
Assistant Professor, Anthropology,
University of California, San Diego (2016-2021)
Princeton University (2021 - present)


There is no academic community in the world quite like UC Cuba. It provides a home to people studying everything from botany to Benny Moré. With a network of faculty and graduate students representing the entire UC system and most disciplines, with close ties to artists, architects, historians, scientists, and writers throughout the island, UC Cuba has transformed Cuban studies in the United States. As a former graduate student who received a summer fellowship from UC Cuba and who is now lucky enough to be a professor associated with the initiative, I can honestly say that I owe much of my career to the mentorship and friendship of students and colleagues in the group. I can't imagine the UC or Cuba without it.

Dr. Tom McEnaney,
Associate Professor,
Comparative Literature,
Spanish and Portuguese, and New Media,
University of California Berkeley


UC Cuba has broadened my academic and cultural horizons in so many ways. It allowed me to meet and learn from Leonardo Padura, perhaps the best modern author on Cuban history and culture. It has sponsored student exchanges that allowed undergraduate and graduate students to visit Cuba and obtain unique material for their dissertations. As a faculty member, I was able to listen to the reports from this diverse group of students and learn about issues far from my own narrow expertise. UC Cuba allowed us to sponsor visitors from Cuba so that they could see the REAL USA and California, as opposed to that portrayed in the press. Finally, UC Cuba opened doors for me to meet and learn from scientists throughout Latin America to obtain perspectives normally not available to me.

Dr. Ken Janda,
Professor Emeritus, Physics,
and former Dean, School of Physical Sciences
University of California Irvine



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