NAFSA Cuba Engagement Initiative


The NAFSA Cuba Engagement Initiative focuses on creating sustainable partnerships between U.S. and Cuban academic institutions. The initiative builds on NAFSA's longstanding focus on Latin America and Cuba and redoubles NAFSA’s commitment to the use of academic exchanges and partnerships to build a more globally engaged United States and develop new opportunities for U.S. and Cuban international higher education leaders to collaborate. The NAFSA Cuba Engagement Initiative is comprised of two interconnected projects: the Cuba-U.S. Higher Education Dialogue Project and the Educators for Cuba Campaign.

Engagement Dialogue: University of Cienfuegos

Representatives from the University of Cienfuegos speak about higher education opportunities at their institution and between Cuba and the United States at the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo in Denver, Colorado.

Upcoming Events

Workshop of Strategic Alliances for the Internationalization of Higher Education - Cuba TIES 2017
October 23 - 27, 2017 | Cienfuegos, Cuba
Educational leaders, experts, professors, and students from around the world will explore issues of partnership, integration, and sustainability on the campus of La Universidad de Cienfuegos and at historic locations around the city. NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson is a featured speaker. NAFSA members are eligible for a 10 percent registration discount.

NAFSA 2017 Advocacy Day
March 13-14, 2017 | Washington, DC
Join advocates from around the country in advocating your members of Congress to end the travel ban and lift the embargo. Register now for this two day experience and make a difference on Capitol Hill.

Get Updates

Join the Cuba Engagement Online Community
Relations between the United States and Cuba are constantly changing. Join this online community on Network NAFSA to:

  • Stay up-to-date on news, best practices, and advocacy campaigns.
  • Access resources and attend events.
  • Share your experiences of navigating regulations and managing programs.
  • Start conversations to collaborate with institutions and other partners.

To join the community, you must have a NAFSA Passport username and password. Create a free NAFSA Passport here.

Join the Community

"As the U.S. and Cuban governments continue the historic process of normalizing relations, it is important that people and cultures that have been separated for over 50 years have a structured and meaningful framework in which to engage and learn from each other. International education and partnerships have always played an important role in building understanding and collaboration between nations, and we now have a chance to play our part in this historic process." Marlene M. Johnson, NAFSA Executive Director and CEO


Community Members and Institutions

The following 143 institutions are members of the NAFSA Cuba Engagement online community.

Cuba-U.S. Higher Education Dialogue Project

Through the Cuba-U.S. Higher Education Dialogue Project, NAFSA provides:

  • On-going teaching and learning events in which participants will gain insights and expertise about the Cuban and U.S. higher education landscapes.
  • Networking and partnership opportunities.
  • Travel grants for Cuban education leaders to attend the NAFSA 2016 and 2017 Annual Conference & Expo and other events.

Educators for Cuba Campaign

NAFSA provides policy and advocacy leadership through its Educators for Cuba Campaign, including:

  • Targeting advocacy work to urge the U.S. Congress to ease travel restrictions and lift the economic embargo on Cuba.
  • Pushing for transparent, efficient visa processing for Cuban travel to the United States.
  • Convening higher education leaders and like-minded partners including American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), Civitas Global Educational Services, Engage Cuba, the Latin America Working Group (LAWG), and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) to mobilize support.

Higher education leaders are supported by NAFSA’s public policy team with legislative updates; access to coalition efforts with local education, agriculture, and business leaders; and advocacy opportunities to connect with and educate members of Congress on Cuba and the value of international education.

Visa Help

Submit your question or report regulatory issues, such as visa requests related to Cuba educational travel, to NAFSA IssueNet, the leading source for international educators seeking critical assistance. NAFSA members have unlimited access to report an international student and scholar (ISS) issue and request education abroad or ISS case-specific liaison assistance. Non-member access is limited to reporting ISS issues.

Past Events

Cuba Engagement Initiative at NAFSA 2016

Cuba Engagement Forum: The U.S. – Cuba Higher Education Landscape
Thursday, September 15, 2016 | Washington, DC
Keynote and panel speakers representing higher education, government, and the nonprofit community will provide insights on the latest developments. This is an excellent opportunity for the international education community to hear about the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Cuba; receive the latest regulatory and advocacy information; and learn about best practices in academic exchanges and developing strategic partnerships.

 NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo
May 29-June 3 | Denver, CO
With 10,000 attendees from 100 countries, the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo is the world's largest gathering of professionals in international education. A special Cuba focus track was a highlight of the 2016 conference

Educators for Cuba Conference Call
Friday, May 13, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EDT | Wednesday, May 18, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EDT
Get the latest information on legislation that will end the U.S. travel ban and trade embargo on Cuba. Find out how you can develop meaningful relationships with your members of Congress and make an impact on Capitol Hill.

Government Connection: Five Things You Need to Know About Education Abroad Programs in Cuba
May 2, 2016 | 3:00 p.m. EDT
NAFSA presents this Government Connection to learn about changes that may impact those currently operating programs in Cuba, or planning to operate programs in Cuba in the near future. The community joining the call will hear directly from government representatives on the regulatory changes and how they impact your work.


For More Information

Cuba-U.S. Higher Education Dialogue Project
Contact Dorothea Antonio
Senior Director, Internationalization Services

Educators for Cuba Campaign
Contact Katie O’Connell
Director, Advocacy and Media Outreach

Related Programs and Initiatives