Cuban diplomat and educator to speak at IU Bloomington

  • Nov. 16, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In the context of gradually normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba, former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray Treto will present two lectures this week at Indiana University Bloomington.

Previously serving as a Cuban diplomat, Foreign Service officer and ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, Alzugaray has worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and North America. He also teaches courses in foreign policy, international affairs, and Latin American and Caribbean political integration at the Instituto Superior de Relaciones Internacionales in Havana.

His lectures are free and open to the public. Topics will be:

  • 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18: “Cuban-U.S. Relations -- Putting an End to the Cold War,” in the President’s Hall at Franklin Hall.
  • Noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19: “Cuban Futures: The Short Term and the Long Term,” in the School of Global and International Studies auditorium.

Alzugaray will also speak to smaller groups in the IU School of Education and Center of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Gerardo Gonzalez, former dean of the School of Education, will introduce Alzugaray on Thursday.

“Alzugaray is a historian of Cuban-American relations who has closely studied the reasons for decades of failed communications between the U.S. administration and Cuba,” said Anke Birkenmaier, director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. “In other words, he is the man of the hour, who will offer a uniquely informed, representative Cuban viewpoint on the potential of the recent thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations both for Cuba and the United States.”

Alzugaray’s written work has appeared in over 100 articles, book chapters, essays and blogs. He is the author of three books on international relations and Cuban politics and was awarded the National Critic Prize for outstanding nonfiction.

He also served as a visiting professor at universities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Spain and Italy and won five annual awards for outstanding teaching and two for outstanding research.

Since retiring from teaching at the University of Havana in 2012, Alzugaray became an active member of the Cuban Union of Writers and Artists and joined the editorial board of Temas, one of the most important Cuban social science and humanities quarterly journals.

IU was one of 12 universities selected nationally by the Institute of International Education for working on new ways to improve relations between the U.S. and Cuba in higher education. Gonzalez, adviser on Cuban initiatives to IU President Michael A. McRobbie, recently returned from a trip to Cuba as part of the initiative.

“These programs recognize IU's unique talents and experience in areas of interest to Cuba like environmental sustainability, public policy, music and literature, and informatics and computing,” said Rajendra Abhyankar, professor of diplomacy and public affairs in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Programs like SPEA’s Havana study abroad program are also helpful in giving the nascent relationship a boost, Abhyankar said.

Alzugaray’s visit is sponsored by the Kelley School of Business, the School of Global and International Studies, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs.

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Carlos Alzugaray Treto

Carlos Alzugaray Treto

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Steve Hinnefeld