Making the Road Travel Seminar to Cuba

Dates: August 15-24, 2017
Places: Chicago, Cuba (7 days in Havana including one day trip outside the city)
Partners:  Village Leadership Academy (hosting for Chicago orientation), AfricaFocus Bulletin (on-line educational resources).
Participants: 18 to 20.

General Background about Making the Road

  • Making the Road (MTR) is a US-based educational project, led by Prexy Nesbitt, aimed at making in-person links across national, ethnic, and racial borders, generations, and mental “silos,” to foster progressive analysis and activism on different axes of racial, social, cultural, and economic justice.
  • Each MTR Travel Seminar, focused on a specific transnational issue area, highlights both the history of social justice movements and the challenges of today’s struggles in the countries visited as well as in the United States and globally.
  • Participants are selected intentionally to provide diversity, including significant representation from students to young professionals  as well as more experienced professionals and activists.

Thematic Context
The right to health, acknowledged in international agreements as a fundamental human right, is an obligation of governments and of the international community.Violations of this human right to health are visible signs of social and economic inequality at both global and national levels, and these inequalities are linked to the history of racism and colonialism. The seminar will address the obstacles to achieving this right and the lessons to be learned from Cuba’s domestic and international roles, including particularly on the African continent. Seminar participants will also have the opportunity to experience and reflect on music, dance, and cultural links between Africa and the Americas interwoven with the complex history of race on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Seminar leaders
Prexy Nesbitt has spent more than five decades as an educator, activist, and speaker on Africa, foreign policy, and racism. He teaches at Columbia College in Chicago, and has led two travel seminars to Cuba, the latest with the Village Leadership Academy in 2016.
Luxme Hariharan, MD, MPH, has lived and worked in India, Kenya, Latin America, and the United States. She is currently Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Policy Consultant for Latin America for SightLife, the largest NGO working to eliminate corneal blindness worldwide.

Responsibilities of participants: Participants must commit to actively engage in preparatory reading and viewing of relevant resource material (which will be provided in advance), in dialogue and listening during the seminar,  and in communication of insights to their own networks during and following the seminars.

Passports and Visas
You must have a passport, valid at the time of entry, with at least 2 blank pages for entry and exit stamps. Please check to ensure that you do not need to renew your passport in order to meet these requirements. For obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit https://www.state.gov/travel/.

Health and immunization
For immunization requirements, see https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/cuba

You may be required to show your WHO international certificate of vaccination (“yellow card”) on entry to Cuba. Please do not forget it!

Estimated Costs
Payment to Making the Road, Ltd. is currently estimated at $3,500 for double room, $500 additional for single room. Although the final cost can only be determined once the number of participants are confirmed and travel agency Marazul has confirmed what they are charging Making the Road, we are hopeful that the cost per participant can be reduced. Some scholarship funds as discounts will be available for some participants, and Making the Road will assist participants in raising additional funds.

This includes round-trip travel from Chicago to Havana, housing in Cuba, breakfast and one other meal per day in Cuba, meals during seminar sessions in Chicago, and admission to program events in Cuba. You are responsible for your own housing in Chicago. Participants coming from outside Chicago should be in touch with Andrea Meza for possible home-stay options in Chicago.

Further costs:
Participants are responsible for one additional meal per day in Cuba, for costs incurred for passports and immunizations, for individual local transport, tips, and other incidentals. Estimates of such costs, based on experience of previous seminar participants, range from $300 to $600. You should bring sufficient cash, since U.S. credit and debit cards cannot be used in Cuba.

Scholarships
Making the Road is raising funds to offer partial scholarships to some individuals who would not otherwise be able to participate. However, the seminar can only be viable if most participants pay the full cost—either personally or by obtaining support from sponsoring organizations. Making the Road will work with participants to facilitate such contacts as well as personal crowd-funding efforts. Contact Andrea Meza for details on fundraising strategies.

How to submit your application
Complete and submit electronically the two forms linked here: short-form application and long-form application. Deadline for submission is June 19, 2017. You will receive instructions on payment of a $300 deposit by June 23, 2017 to confirm your participation, and on payment of the full amount in time for Making the Road to pay Marazul, the travel agency making the arrangements for flights and itinerary in Cuba.

Contacts: Prexy Nesbitt, Making the Road (send email to both makingtheroad.updates@gmail.com and Prexy’s personal email at rozell.makingtheroad1@gmail.com); William Minter, AfricaFocus Bulletin (wminter@gmail.com),  Andrea Meza, Making the Road (andrea.meza@loop.colum.edu), Luxme Hariharan (luxmeh@gmail.com).

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