Year of Cuba Conference

Transformation and Continuity in Cuba: International Conference

Dates: March 20-21, 2020

The main theme in our Year of Cuba Conference invites interdisciplinary approaches to the multiple, enriching, and conflicting intersections taking place in this country. This forum serves as a platform to engage in scholarly conversations that will contribute to understanding the complexities of Cuba, generating new forms of engagement and learning, and appreciating the many forms of Cuban’s resiliency and contributions to the world.



Register Now

Registration costs $150 and will include:

• All plenary sessions, concurrent sessions and presentations
• All refreshment breaks and meals throughout the conference. These include:
• Lunch (Friday March 20 and Saturday March 21)
• Jazz Concert by Brenda Navarette: Saturday, March 21, 8:00 PM, Bailey Performance Hall

Registration is due by February 28, 2020. After this date, the registration fee will increase to $200.

*Students are welcome to attend individual sessions for free. However, students wishing to attend the entire conference (w/meals and concert) must pay the registration fee.

KSU Faculty and Staff have an option of paying by Institutional Check. Proceed to check out and select "Paying by Institutional Check".

 Hotel Accomodations

A special KSU Year of Cuba room rate has been arranged for participants at

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites
    3425 Busbee Drive
    Kennesaw, GA 30144
    (770) 427-9700.

You can book your reservation here.

 Conference Program

Download the Year of Cuba Conference Program

(Click to download/Haga clic para descargar)

 Conference Highlights

Featured Speakers:

Social Challenges Facing Cuba Today

Dr. Andy S. Gomez, co-founder and senior fellow of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American studies at the University of Miami (1999-2012). Dr. Gomez lectures extensively on Cuba’s transition at many national and international conferences and seminars. He is the author of Social Challenges Facing Cuba (2013). He has served as a consultant to numerous agencies of the U.S. government and foreign countries, organizations and corporations on international theory, policy and practice. He served as a non-resident senior fellow in the foreign policy program (Cuba task force) at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC from 2008-2010 and has been a consultant and frequent guest to a number of local, national and international media organizations including Telemundo, CNN, CNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, ABC 20/20, PBS, BBC, Voice of the Americas, Chinese National Radio, Russian Sputnik News Agency, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald, and many more.

The Symbolism of Race in Cuba Today

Pedro Pérez-Sarduy is a poet, writer, journalist and broadcaster living in London. He is the author of the novel Las Criadas de La Habana / The Maids of Havana (2003), Cumbite and Other Poems (Havana 1987 and New York 1990), and Surrealidad (Havana 1967). He is also co-editor with Jean Stubbs of Afro-Cuba: An Anthology of Cuban Writing on Race, Politics and Culture (1993).

Modernist Cuban Architecture

Dr. Jean-Francois Lejeune, Professor of Architecture, University of Miami. Dr. Lejeune is a globally recognized expert on Cuban architecture. In 2016/17, he was co-curator of the exhibition: Cuban Architects at Home and in Exile: The Modernist Generation. See - He is also the co-author of a new book entitled Cuban Modernism that will be published by Birkhäuser in 2020. His research among other areas focuses on the cityscapes of Latin America, Cuba and Miami.

Featured Events:

Cuban Jazz Concert

Brenda Navarette is a highly accomplished Cuban singer, percussionist, composer and arranger. She is a high-energy singer and multi-instrumentalist who plays, among other things, timbales, conga, cajón, bongo, djembe, minor percussion, xylophone, timpani, piano, and bass.

As highlighted by New Yorker magazine, “it is on the batá that Navarrete has distinguished herself. A cornerstone of Santería religious ceremonies, batá drumming is a hypercompetitive ritual among men, judged on speed and memory; women are widely regarded as lacking the physical stamina for the instrument. In the religion, women are allowed to sing but are often prohibited from playing the batá and sometimes even prevented from standing near the instrument.” In 2010, Brenda Navarrete won a national competition during Cuba’s prestigious

Fiesta del Tambor, wining first prize in the category of Bata drums, as well as for best interpretation by a female artist.

Her resume includes collaborations with Cuba’s music elite. Working with an array of renowned artists, including the Afro-Cuban percussion troupe, Obini Bata, Jazz musician Joaquin Betancourt, Alain Perez, Munir Hossn and as a singer with the internationally acclaimed band Interactivo, led by Roberto Carcasses. She has played on the recordings of many notable Cuban artists, including guesting on Batá and vocals on Contumbao, the latest release from Cuban-Canadian pianist/composer Hilario Duran.

She graduated from Cuba’s prestigious Amadeo Roldán Music Conservatory in 2009, earning accreditations as an instrumentalist, ensemble and percussion instructor. With a solid foundation of Latin Jazz and Afro‐Cuban influences, Brenda has spread her wings into contemporary World Music. An uncompromising professional, she infuses passion, rare skills, musical originality and relentless energy into every project and performance.