Past and Current Faculty Research & Initiatives
The Cuban Studies Program at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies promotes the development, dissemination, and analysis of the study of Cuba across disciplines at Harvard through a variety of efforts including faculty and student research grants, publication of books and working papers, conferences, seminars, and workshops.
Much of the program's efforts have been focused on strengthening and deepening ties in seven programmatic areas in cooperation with key partner institutions in Cuba. The Cuban partner institutions are widely recognized for the quality of the work of their affiliated scholars and scientists. The Cuban institutions facilitate Harvard links to the broader community of individuals and institutions in their fields.
Public Health and Medicine
Institutional Collaborations in Public Health and Medicine
Harvard and the Instituto Pedro Kourí (IPK) of Tropical Medicine have initiated a project to promote scientific collaboration and exchange between Cuban and Harvard scientists in the areas of public health and medicine. The IPK is Cuba 's leading research institute and treatment center in the control and eradication of infectious diseases in Cuba and elsewhere. The public health initiative has three main objectives:
1) to increase scientific collaboration and exchange between the IPK and Harvard;
2) to improve understanding of the functioning of Cuban health care system, the success achieved by Cuba in controlling at eradicating infectious disease and the role of institutions such as IPK in the public health system; and,
3) to support the development and dissemination of public health work currently underway in Cuba 's scientific and research laboratories and institutions.
The main topics of the project include: tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, bacterial and viral respiratory infections, dengue, hepatitis, mycology, acute diarrheal disease, molecular biology of infectious disease, molecular epidemiology of infectious disease, immunology of infectious disease and social science analyses of infectious disease.
The Pathogenesis of Histoplasmosis
Scientists from Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí intend to initiate a research collaboration to examine the pathogenesis of histoplasmosis, a fungal disease that is endemic in Cuba and much of the Caribbean along with parts of the American Midwest. Presenting a range of symptoms, from asymptomatic infection to life-threatening disease, particularly among immunocompromised individuals, little is known about how the causative organism, histoplasma capsulatum, causes histoplasmosis. The goal of the collaboration is to develop a sustainable research program in Cuba to advance knowledge on this disease by combining expertise in microbial genetics and immunology with the IPK´s unique collection of a large number of clinical isolates of histoplasma capsulatum.
Participating Harvard Faculty: Eric Rubin, Associate Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health; and, Michael Starnbach, Assistant Professor in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School.
Collaborating Institutions: Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí (IPK), CubaApplied Economic and Social Policy
Equity and Social Mobility
University of Havana/Kennedy School Public Policy Exchange
The Center's Cuba Program, in partnership with the University of Havana and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, initiated a series of workshops to support the expansion and improvement of policy and management programs at the University of Havana . The goal of this exchange is to strengthen relationships and enrich dialogue on public policy and management in the Americas . The project promotes academic exchanges focused on a broad area of topics, including: development and exchange of theoretical frameworks & other tools to improve public sector organization performance; public policy and management curricula; pedagogical and social science research methodologies.
U.S.-Cuba Public Policy
U.S. - Cuba Policy
The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University sponsored a series of events aimed at examining existing U.S.-Cuba relations. The purpose of these events is to advance policy debates on bilateral relations and, if possible, highlight areas where policy consensus exists on how relations between the United States and Cuba can be improved.
Cienfuegos Botanical Garden
The Cienfuegos Botanical Garden and Harvard have collaborated on a series of exchanges in tropical biology and biodiversity. In November 1999, Cuban and Harvard scientist and specialists convened in Cienfuegos for a conference to discuss issues in tropical economic botany, environmental education, biodiversity, and endangered species. Several Cuban botanists have visited Harvard's Arboretum to advance their research on tropical specimens, such as orchids. In the upcoming two years, collaboration between both institutions will consist largely of visits to the garden by Harvard faculty and students.
To assist Cuban institutions with training programs in preservation and conservation, as well as equipment, materials unavailable on the island, and the like, Harvard has developed supportive relations and exchanges with the Archivo Provincial de Cienfuegos (APC), and through it to other regional archives throughout the country, as well as with the Jose Marti National Library. Through the Center's Program for Latin American Libraries and Archives (PLALA), the Cuba Program authorizes small grants to Cuban archives and libraries that need special funding in order to improve the conditions under which their collections are kept or to expand access to their research holdings. This fund also supports short-term visits by Cuban librarians.