CWU News

Spring Break Delegation Includes First CWU Students to Ever Study in Cuba

About 20 Central Washington University faculty members and Cuban School of Medicine students will travel to Cuba over spring break to study the island nation’s art, religion, education system, and social and political institutions.

The visit marks the first time CWU Study Abroad students have ever traveled to Cuba and is a result of warming relations between the United States and Cuba.

“We are looking at Cuba from different disciplines,” said Bobby Cummings, English professor and director of Africana and Black Studies, who will lead the delegation. “The College of Arts and Humanities wants to provide opportunities for research, creative activities and service outside the classroom.”

Cummings took the initiative to make this trip, which was once a dream, become a reality after conducting a seminar on Afro-Cuba alongside CWU faculty members Gilberto Garcia and Xavier Cavazos.

“The Cuba study abroad program gives Central the opportunity to establish people to people partnerships on a global stage,” Cummings said.

During the trip, students and faculty will gain wide exposure to Cuban culture by participating in seminars, community events and touring schools and museums.

During the past two years, a handful of CWU professors have traveled to Cuba to study ways to build closer ties to the country, which was largely off-limits to Americans for nearly 50 years, and to lay the groundwork for CWU students eventually traveling to Cuba to study.

In October 2015, professors Mark Auslander and Elvin Delgado journeyed to the island as part of a delegation sponsored by the Institute of International Education Cuba Higher Education Initiative. CWU is a partner in the initiative, which seeks to rebuild higher education engagement between the United States and Cuba in light of the reopening of diplomatic relations between the countries.

A few months later, in February 2016, professor Stella Moreno participated in the 10th International Conference on Higher Education-Universidad 2016. The visit was made possible through the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Photo: Cuban School of Medicine taken last year by CWU Professor Elvin Delgado.

Media contact: Derek Forsell, Content Intern, 206-963-2106,

—March 6. 2017