President Obama Takes Historic Steps to Expand U.S. Engagement with Cuba



Rebecca Morgan, 202.495.2553,
Katie O’Connell, 202.495.2559,

WASHINGTON, December 17, 2014 - In response to President Obama’s announcement that the United States is re-establishing diplomatic ties with Cuba, Victor C. Johnson, senior adviser for public policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, issued the following statement:

“We commend President Obama for charting a new course for productive relations between the United States and Cuba. For far too long, our nation’s policy toward the island has been one of failed isolation, rather than open engagement.

"Generations of foreign policymakers have agreed that academic exchanges are one of the most powerful tools we have to open up closed societies. The President’s announcement today, building off the changes he implemented earlier in his presidency, will further expand opportunities for people-to-people exchanges, study abroad, and research collaboration between our two countries.

“Changes announced by the President would remove existing restrictions on study in Cuba under programs that do not bear academic credit, further facilitate Americans’ attendance at conferences in Cuba, and simplify nonacademic travel under the people-to-people license category.

“We call upon Congress to do its part in normalizing relations with Cuba by lifting the trade embargo so that Americans can engage freely with Cuba as they can with any other country.”