The Harvard Cubans (Los Cubanos de Harvard) is a documentary film produced by the Cuba Studies Program and directed by journalist Danny González Lucena. Following the premiere screening of the film, a question-and-answer session will be held with the director and historian Dr. Marial Iglesias Utset, Visiting Research Scholar at the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard. Introduction by Dr. Jorge I. Domínguez, Co-Chair, Cuba Studies Program. Moderated by Erin Goodman, Associate Director for Academic Programs, DRCLAS. Please note the 72-minute film is in Spanish with English subtitles. Reception to follow.
In the year 1900, more than half of all Cuban public school teachers from across the island boarded five American military ships to travel to Cambridge to participate in a Summer School organized by Harvard, the largest such endeavor ever undertaken by the University. The purpose of the trip was to expose the teachers to modern methods in pedagogy and to the great advances of American society. The people of Cambridge, convinced that this Expedition would aid in the reconstruction of Cuba after the ravishing wars for independence in Cuba, contributed over $70,000 to finance the visit. In turn, Harvard offered Summer School courses free of charge to the nearly 1,300 teachers. Following six weeks at the Summer School, the teachers traveled to New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC before returning to Cuba. The educational project was not only a resounding success, but it also became the largest cultural exchange that has ever existed between the two countries, and was widely covered in the press at the time. In spring 2016, Cuban journalist and documentarian Danny González Lucena conducted archival research, interviews and filming at Harvard, culminating in the production of the documentary Los cubanos de Harvard (The Harvard Cubans).
Danny González Lucena is a journalism graduate of the University of Havana. He currently works as a cultural journalist on Cuban television, where he specializes in music. He has also been involved in issues related to heritage conservation and folk traditions, with several international special reports. His work as a filmmaker includes the titles: Por qué luchamos (2011), dedicated to the life and work of the Saíz brothers; La Perla de Oriente (2016), which investigates little-known aspects of Guantanamo musician Lilí Martínez; and Los cubanos de Harvard (The Harvard Cubans) (2017).
This film will be screened, with Director present, at the Cuban Research Institute of Florida International University on Monday, November 6th.