Project Description

Study and Experience Cuba next summer!

Visit to learn more about eligibility, tuition and expenses, application information, and dates and deadlines.

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Country Context

Cuba is witnessing profound change, uncertain yet pressing expectations, and the need to redesign its economic and political paradigms. An ongoing economic overhaul and the diplomatic thaw declared by then presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama in 2014 are being rewritten by the haphazard stance of the Trump administration and by the election of Miguel Díaz Canel to Cuba’s presidency in 2018, signaling the emergence of a new leadership after 59 years. 2019 also signals the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution as well as the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the city of Havana.

A unique reality marked by two currencies (both void of international legal tender) and multiple exchange rates; an ever-increasing divide between nominal wage (in average 25 USD/month) and real income; and still standing social benefits (free medical care, free education, the longest rationing system in recorded history: 1962-present)—Cuba offers the possibility to study up close issues related to: socialism, economic transformations, race relations, gender and sexuality, informal economies, technology, and urban planning. These issues are not to be seen as static categories, but as question marks in a shifting environment.

Project Context

Havana has been historically one of the most vibrant and modern cities of the Western Hemisphere, as indexed by the first railway of the Spanish empire in 1837 (Spain would see its first train only in 1848). The city boasts one of Latin America’s most pristine historical centers (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982) combining architecture from the 16th to 19th centuries, with refurbished palaces leaning on collapsed complexes. The city is Cuba’s economic, touristic, and political heart and a place in which you will learn as much on the streets as in the classroom and through your involvement with Cuban organizations.

Given the many assumptions from outside, shifting landscape from within, and the need for cultural mediation in-between, the project is articulated around three cores. First, you will take classes with leading Cuban intellectuals, providing you with an alternative viewpoint on concepts we question from/against a neoliberal perspective in the US. Second, you will achieve hands-on experience through visits, workshops, and direct engagement with projects run by Cuban NGOs and CBOs. Third, you will have to conceive, execute, and evaluate a research project leading to a publishable paper—this can be a personal or group research project.

Objectives and Outcomes

The objective of the Cuba IFP in 2020 is to provide you with a unique research-oriented experience, where lectures and interactions with your peers from a different country will provide you with a more in-depth understanding of global problems at play in a specific context. Studying as it unfolds the emergence of neoliberal practices in an allegedly market-less economy; of class- and race-disparity in a purportedly class-less and post-racial society; of gender-equality in a highly gendered reality—these are some of the building blocks of a political grammar the Havana IFP will provide you with, in order to ideally make you better citizens of your own country.  Students can work on the following topics:

  • Economic transformation
  • Race relations
  • Gender Equality
  • Poverty
  • Food Security and environmental risk
  • Illicit/informal economies
  • Urban challenges/urban planning
  • Technology

Applicants will be selected based on research interests and foreseen adaptability to a shifting context.

Graduate and undergraduate students from other New School departments, as well as from other universities, are welcome to apply.

Partner Organizations


Cuban and foreign NGOs/GONGOS

Living in Cuba

img_0059Life in Cuba is intense. The country is undergoing a profound transformation and the reality on the ground is changing fast. You have a unique window to observe this change in the making. Students will be hosted in private homes (2 per room, breakfast included, with AC).


Program Info and Requirements

Contact Information: Gabriel Vignoli: