Institute of Latin American Studies – ILAS Weekly Digest: Week of October 22nd, 2018


Cuba- The International Field Program

Organized by: The New School

Country Context

Cuba is witnessing profound change, uncertain yet pressing expectations, and the need to redesign its economic and political paradigms. The ongoing economic overhaul began by Raul Castro in 2010 and the diplomatic thaw between Cuba and the USA declared in late 2014 are being rewritten by the haphazard stance of the Trump administration vis-à-vis Cuba, and by the election of Miguel Diaz Canel to Cuba’s presidency in April 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 20 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 2019 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




We are excited to announce that the English Opens Doors Program has opened the application process for its 2019 volunteer services to teach English in Chilean Public schools!


As you may remember, my name is Stephanie Hairgrove and I am writing to tell you about our volunteering/teaching opportunity in Chile which might be a great fit for your students, colleagues, friends, or even for yourself! The English Opens Doors Program’s Volunteer Initiative, is a fee-free opportunity from the Chilean Ministry of Education, supported by the United Nations Development Programme-Chile. The English Opens Doors Program is seeking native and near-native Englishspeaking volunteers (above the age of 21) to teach English in coordination with Chilean teachers of English in public schools throughout Chile. Volunteers will work independently with students from 11 to 18 years old, and no previous teaching experience is needed to apply!


English Opens Doors Program volunteers spend approximately 35 hours per week focusing on developing students’ communicative abilities in English using a dynamic teaching style, facilitating intercultural exchange, and generally making English fun to learn! Volunteers will gain real teaching experience in a Latin American country through a United Nations sponsored program, while simultaneously learning (or improving their) Spanish-language abilities and getting to know an incredible country with a wealth of cultural and geographical beauty. More importantly, the English Opens Doors Program will give volunteers the opportunity to make a positive impact in a public-school community, and to change their own lives in the process.


Volunteers of the EODP are provided with the following benefits:

  • Fee-free visa
  • Host family experience (Individual room + 3 meals a day)
  • Small monthly stipend for daily transportation (approximately $100 USD per month)
  • In-country health insurance
  • Facilitation of a basic Chilean bank account
  • Thorough visa and pre-departure support
  • Comprehensive teacher training and orientation before the volunteer service
  • Pedagogical and cultural support from the National Volunteer Center and Regional Representatives during the volunteer service

For more information about this volunteer initiative, please check out our website at:

If you would like to speak to a former volunteer of the English Opens Doors Program to hear about their experience, with a Program staff member to further discuss our volunteer opportunities via Skype or email, or would like us to conduct a virtual presentation over Skype to your students, please send me an email and I can help coordinate this with you.


If you would like to access a promotional flyer to distribute to interested persons, please click the following link:   English Opens Doors Program 2019 Promotional Flyer!


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