Study Abroad: The Cuba-Russia Connection (SRAS)

Deadline for application: March 1, 2018

Neither modern Cuba nor Russia can be appreciated without understanding the wars, revolutions, and political forces they have experienced over the past century. The Cuba-Russia Connection invites students, through selected topics in cultural diplomacy, to become better informed about these two fascinating countries. Cuba and Russia have played important strategic and often interrelated roles in US foreign policy. Moreover, their cultural production in the areas of music, literature, and art has extended beyond the two countries’ boundaries to make lasting contributions to the international canons of these forms of human expression. A deeper familiarity with both countries is essential to understanding U.S. interests in today’s complex geopolitical landscape.

Participants in the Cuba-Russia Connection will spend one-and-one-half weeks experiencing Cuba in tradition and transition, and then move to three weeks of course work and excursions in St. Petersburg, Russia. Language study of Spanish and Russian in the respective countries is included in the program, because of its central role in manifesting the ways in which people formulate meaning and conceptualize their world.

The course will include the following topics and themes: the role of cultural diplomacy in understanding politics, war, and revolution; the Russian Orthodox Church as soft power; the arts (music, literature, dance) as cultural diplomacy; the power of environmental issues in fostering cultural diplomacy; and cultural diplomacy through verbal (literature) and visual (filmic) art.