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Students creating cultural dialogue in Cuba

Students creating cultural dialogue in Cuba

Students to take part in the Canadian Studies Workshop in Cuba

On April 10 and 11, 10 University of Alberta students, including Augustana students, will be presenting individual research projects in the Canadian Studies Seminar at the Universidad de Oriente (UO) in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

“The seminar is a two-day event that allows for members of faculty and undergraduate students to share their research about Canada, learning pedagogies, and hold broad conversations about the Canada-Cuba relationship,” said Sandra Rein, acting associate dean of research at Augustana.

Rein said that the Canadian Studies Seminar is a significant event at the UO. “U of A students will be presenting various individual research projects about Canada and several professors from Canada will be attending and presenting academic papers,” said Rein.

Deanna Mason, lecturer in the department of English at Augustana and one of the lead professors for the Cuba program this year, said that the workshop is a learning experience for both Cubans and Canadians.

“It’s a chance to have a cultural dialogue that Cubans might not otherwise have an opportunity to experience,” said Mason. “For Canadians, we can gain a new perspective on some of the ideas people have of Canada by hearing the Cuban questions and comments.”

Brittany Boyko, second-year Latin American Studies major at North Campus is participating in the seminar.

“I think that it’s important for Cubans to learn about our culture because they have limited access to cultural knowledge. Everything they get is limited,” said Boyko. “It’s a good way for Cubans to learn because they get to interact with Canadians.”

Boyko will be presenting about how Cuban revolutionary art and Canadian art during the Second World War compare. “I am excited to see presentations from the students in our program and hear the ideas about different topics.”

David Graff, a North Campus alumni who has a degree in French and Political Science is in Cuba to prepare for graduate studies. Graff said he is presenting about the Fort McMurray wildfire in the summer of 2016 and sharing his experiences as a wildfire fighter.

“Natural disasters are a reality that we all have to live with. Cubans struggle with devastating hurricanes and earthquakes,” said Graff. “We deal with fire on a massive scale. It’s important to share with each other how we deal with disasters.”

Graff said he thinks it’s important to share the Canadian perspective. “I could stay here for 10 years and still not understand everything. I want to be able to give them something that I know about Canadian culture.”

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