October 8, 2015

Whitney N. Yarber, Communications Specialist

VSU Hosts Discussion Panel on US, Cuba Relations

VALDOSTA – The Valdosta State University Department of Modern and Classical Languages will host Reacquainting Ourselves: Interdisciplinary Discussion Panel on Cuba Today from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 19, in the Hugh C. Bailey Science Center Room 1011. Admission is free of charge and open to the public.

“As part of our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages is pleased to present an interdisciplinary panel discussion on the renewal of the United States's relationship with the country of Cuba,” shared Dr. Ericka Helena Parra, associate professor of Spanish.

“The opening of the Cuban and American embassies brings us back into dialogue with a close neighbor. From an interdisciplinary point of view, the presenters will talk about academic collaboration amidst economic and political reforms and the impact the liberalization of bilateral relations might have on these.”

The panel will include Dr. Robert Harding, head of the Department of Political Science, discussing Cuba in transition; Dr. Thomas Manning, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, discussing the pursuance of an academic collaboration; Dr. Howard Griffin, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and International Business, discussing the current business climate in Cuba with an eye toward the future; and Dr. Ellis Heath, associate professor in the Department of Economics and Finance, discussing the political economy of Cuba.

Reacquainting Ourselves: Interdisciplinary Discussion Panel on Cuba Today is part of a series of activities hosted by VSU’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

“Hispanic Heritage Month is a tradition at Valdosta State University,” said Dr. Viki Soady, head of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. “While the National Hispanic Heritage Month began Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15, our department has the tradition of celebrating the diversity of cultures within the umbrella of the Hispanic world during the month of October…this year we are very pleased to be using Cuba as our overarching theme. We are celebrating Cuba because of our reopening relations with our mirroring neighbor.”

VSU began celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in 1997 when Dr. Manuel Cachán, professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, proposed that the university celebrate Latin American faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends.

“During this month we, as a campus, recognize the important presence of Latino Americans to the United States through celebration of their intellectual, artistic and cultural contributions,” shared Dr. Susan R. Wehling, professor of Spanish and foreign language education in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. “VSU continues to bring cutting-edge discussions on hot button topics like immigration and second language study during Hispanic Heritage Month. Valdosta State appreciates the contributions that Latinos make as they enhance our national character with their traditions and their dreams.”

Contact Dr. Ericka Helena Parra at ehparra@valdosta.edu or (229) 333-7372 for more information.

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