The faculty co-leaders of one of Adelphi's short-term study abroad programs in Cuba, John Drew, assistant professor, and Mark Grabowski, associate professor, have both been featured in media stories on the president's visit and the opening of diplomacy and trade with Cuba.

President Obama’s historic trip to Cuba has put the country back in the headlines. But months before the president traveled to Cuba, Adelphi students and faculty did, as part of two separate study-abroad courses. They caught a glimpse of a society with a storied past on the brink of transformation.

“When you study about the world and another place, it’s like looking at the world through a keyhole; but when you actually travel to that place and explore, it’s like opening the whole door,” wrote Ben Nichols, a senior majoring in international studies and economics, after returning from the study-abroad course, Global Perspectives: Cuba in Transition led by John Drew, assistant professor, Mark Grabowski, J.D., associate professor, and Joan Stein Schimke, associate professor.

Students who participated in the course served as reporters and videographers, as they journeyed west from Havana to Pinar del Rio, Cuba’s poorest province. 

Simultaneously, 16 Adelphi students joined Devin Thornburg, Ph.D., and Anne Mungai, Ph.D., professors in the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education, to explore education, community-based arts programs and the culture of the island as part of Education and Community Service in Cuba, a three-credit class.

Since returning from Cuba, professors Drew and Grabowski have been featured in media stories on the president’s visit and the opening of diplomacy and trade with Cuba.

Voice of America interviewed Drew for its story, “Are US-Cuba Business Interests Ready to Take Off?” Drew advocated for an end to the trade embargo with Cuba.

In an op-ed in Times of San Diego, Grabowski argued that with normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba it is time to re-assess the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which provides a fast-track to U.S. citizenship for all Cuban immigrants.

KPBS Radio also interviewed Grabowski for a story on Cuban immigration and potential policy changes. 

Photos and videos from Global Perspectives: Cuba in Transition are also being posted at

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Todd Wilson
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