Presentation at 6 p.m. in Trutter Center: “USA vs. Cuba? A Love Story”
by Charlotte Warren, Ph.D., President, Lincoln Land Community College
The recent restoration of U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than 50 years has opened up a new era of opportunities with, as well as piqued interest in, our southern island neighbor.
Last February, I had the pleasure and privilege of visiting Cuba with a group of community college presidents, as we sought to learn more about Cuba’s successful higher education system, and to explore educational partnerships, including study abroad opportunities for our students.
Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world and the most trained medical professionals per capita of any country. We wanted to learn how they achieve these goals while working with small resources.
One of our most engaging and informed speakers was Dr. Mario Masvidal Saavedra, a linguisitics professor at the University of the Arts, as well as a radio and TV host in Havana. All of us were impressed with his openness, depth of experience and academic expertise.
“Riveting” and “passionate” are the first words that come to mind when I think of Dr. Masvidal’s presentation to us in Havana. He described his day-to-day experiences as well as the profound changes he has experienced in his homeland before, during and after American involvement and the Castro regime. In addition, he spoke with passion on one of his favorite subjects, and one of America’s favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway, who felt a kinship with Cubans and was inspired by the island nation and its surrounding waters.
We were pleased to extend an invitation for Dr. Masvidal to visit our campuses, so others could learn from him, and he could experience first-hand the uniquely American institution of the community college.
The first stop in his community college tour will be at Lincoln Land Community College on Monday, Nov. 16. At 6 that evening, Dr. Masvidal will speak in our Trutter Center and has named his presentation, “U.S.A. vs. Cuba? A Love Story.” We cordially invite the public to this event at no charge. Seating is limited to 200, so you might want to get there a bit early; we will have overflow seating available if needed. He will also speak to students, faculty and staff at 10 a.m. that morning on the topic, “Hemingway and Cuba.”
During his brief stay, we will be touring him around Springfield, especially the Lincoln sites, as time allows.
Dr. Masvidal’s resume is impressive and extensive. As a full professor at Havana’s University of the Arts, he teaches semiotics and communication theory to graduate and undergraduate students. Additionally, he has taught courses at University of Havana, Jose Marti International Institute of Journalism, Center for TV and Radio Studies, International Film and TV School, Enrique J. Varona Teachers Training College and Paul Lafargue Foreign Language Teachers Training College.
He is also well-known as a media personality. He hosts a radio talk show in Havana and participates in four TV programs: “Cuerda Viva,” in which he interviews musicians; “X-Distante,” an animated show for adults; ”Ritmoclip,” a music video program; and “Banda Sonora,” where he is a script writer.
His Ph.D. is in linguistic studies from the University of Havana, where his thesis explored Hemingway’s literary prose. In addition to teaching, he has served as rector, vice-rector, dean, vice-dean and department chair at several universities and colleges, and written and co-authored academic books, essays and scripts. He is a founding member of both the Cuban Linguists Association and the Teachers Association of Cuba.
Please join us on Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. as we welcome this distinguished Cuban citizen to Springfield, and hear his perspective on the timely topic of Cuban/American relations: past, present and future.