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The Cuban Revolution at 60 conference

Posted by Communications Officer on November 25, 2019 in News

(Taken from

Forty internationally renowned Cuba scholars, policy-makers and policy analysts gathered at Dalhousie University in Halifax to take the measure of “The Cuban Revolution at 60.”

All sessions were open to the public, and free.

The three-day symposium (October 31–November 2,) was highlighted by addresses by two of the key players in the historic 2014 re-opening of relations between Cuba and the United States: Josefina Vidal, now Cuba’s ambassador to Canada and then Cuba’s chief negotiator with the Americans, and Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the first US ambassador to Cuba following the renewal of relations, each offered personal reflections on what happened then, and what isn’t happening now.

Attendees learned the results of the very latest research into a controversial and mysterious ailment reported by some US and Canadian diplomats in Cuba. Dr. Alon Friedman, a ground-breaking neuroscientist at the Dalhousie University Brain Repair Centre who recently led a multidisciplinary study into the so-called “Havana Syndrome” for Global Affairs Canada, presented his findings at the conference.

Leading Cuba specialists from Cuba, the UK, Latin America, Europe, the United States and Canada also participated in a series of panels to assess the successes and challenges of the Cuban economy, Cuba-US relations and Cuba’s international relations. Other panels focused on climate change and ecological challenges facing the island, as well as social change, including issues of race, gender (in)equity, health and sexual diversity.

“This year not only marked the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution,” noted John Kirk, an internationally renowned Cuba scholar and one of the organizers of the event, “but it was also a time of historic transformation on the island: leadership change, constitutional reform, and a complex process of economic developments. This was a good opportunity to discuss the progress Cuba has made over the past 60 years and perhaps more importantly, to analyze current developments.”

Support for “The Cuban Revolution at 60” was generously provided by the Ford Foundation, the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, The Social Sciences and the Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), WOLA, Dalhousie University, CUPW, Saint Mary’s University, the Office of the Mayor (Halifax), the Canadian Network on Cuba, Dalhousie Global Health, and NSCuba, among others.