Penn University to strengthen ties with Cuba

Posted: 04-Feb-16 16:09

Associate professor Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw set to lead trip to Cuba this month in order for Penn alumni to experience the country's vibrant arts community. The trip will see the students take in aspects of music, theatre, dance and literature as ties between the US and Cuba continue to strengthen.

Penn University to strengthen ties with Cuba

Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw, an associate professor in the Department of the History of Art at Penn University, will embark on a trip to Cuba later this month with a group of Penn alumni keen to experience the country's rich culture and arts community first hand.

Shaw and her former students will meet with leading Cuban artists in their studios, attend performances in music, theatre and dance and visit the famous Ediciones Vigia, an independent publishing collective who specialise in the production of handmade books.

It will be Shaw's fifth time visiting the country in the past three years, with her previous trip seeing 22 Penn undergraduate students taken to Havana for an intensive week-long travel course.

"Making these connections for our undergrads and alumni will help poise the University to work with Cuba in a really active and dynamic way."

Shaw told the Penn University website ahead of her forthcoming trip. He also commented:

"It's important Penn has this connection to Cuba because if the University is interested in being active globally, we really have to engage with as much of the globe as possible."

The Penn alumni's' visit comes at an important time for international exchanges between America and Cuba, with formal diplomatic relationships only beginning to be restored by the re-opening of their two embassies in Havana and Washington as recently as last July.

However, with the two countries announcing an agreement to restore scheduled commercial airline services last month, steps are now being taken to strengthen the ties between America and Cuba – a move that Penn fourth-year graduate Kai-Young Chan welcomes with open arms.

"There is much room for intercultural conversations and understandings that could bring inspiring ideas to people of both countries."

Said Chan, who was chosen by the American Composers Forum as part of its artists delegation to the 28th Festival de Musica Contemporanea de La Habana last year. Chan also explained:

"They are curious about the life as a musician and the recent development of contemporary music in the States, since access to recently composed musical scores are limited over there."


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