Students share insights from Cuban conference

Queen’s students attended a Cuban development conference in Havana from Oct. 25 to 27.
Queen’s students attended a Cuban development conference in Havana from Oct. 25 to 27.

Hurricane Wilma may have postponed an international conference on Cuban development by one day, but it didn’t affect the event’s outcome.

“These people have very passionate ideas and they act on them,” said Lisa Mickleborough, ArtSci ’06, who is one of four Queen’s students who spoke at the three-day event. According to Mickleborough, the conference, held Oct. 25 to 27 in Havana, Cuba, was a great opportunity.

“[This conference] gave us a context to be critical,” she said.

On Wednesday, Mickleborough and the three other attendees shared their experiences in Cuba and the knowledge they gained from the conference with members of Queen’s Project on International Development (QPID) at the organization’s weekly meeting.

The conference, called “With all for the good of all,” was attended by academics from all over Latin America. The academics discussed Cuban development and the ideas of José Marti, a Cuban philosopher and fighter in the Cuban Revolution.

Each of the students presented a paper and discussed it at the conference.

The group said they spoke with many Cubans while in Havana.

“There are people who aren’t happy,” Mickleborough said.

Ian Anderson, ArtSci ’06 and another student who spoke at the event, said the groups encountered diversity of opinions about life in Cuba.

“Everyone seemed to have an opinion they wanted to share with you,” he said.

The conference was hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Organization of Ibero-American States.

Also in attendance at the QPID meeting was Kingston resident Hugh Barkley, a member of the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association, who also attended the conference.

Tanya Neumeyer, Sci ’06, and Noah Fralick, ArtSci ’06, the other two students who attended the conference, spoke about what he believes are commonly held misconceptions about Cuba.

“[There is an] ‘everything is wrong’ attitude [about Cuba], especially among the American government,” Fralick said.

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