Florida International University to provide academic refuge to scholars, journalists threatened in Cuba

by | Jan 13, 2023


  • Florida International University on Friday announced its plan to bring 12 Cuban academic refuges to the university beginning this fall
  • Supported by a $750,000 grant, each of the 12 selected applicants will come to FIU for one semester, with the program covering the cost of relocation to the United States
  • The program’s guidelines state that seeking academic asylum is permissible in instances where the scholar is in danger of being persecuted, imprisoned, or punished because of their ideas, public interventions, or involvement in peaceful demonstrations
  • The program is open not only to students, but artists, writers, and journalists as well.

Florida International University (FIU) announced on Friday that it plans to bring 12 Cuban scholars facing danger to their lives, freedom, and well-being to the university as academic refugees over a three-year period beginning this fall.

To carry out the endeavor, FIU’s Cuban Research Institute (CRI) received a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The funds will subsidize each academic refuge’s and their families’ individual relocation costs to the United States as well as provide a stipend for one semester of academic participation at FIU.

The program is open not only to students, but artists, writers, and journalists as well.

“We want to be a refuge for scholars who do not enjoy the academic freedoms that we do. We want to support their efforts, encourage their work, and give them a voice,” said Shlomi Dinar, Interim Dean of FIU’s School of International and Public Affairs.

The program’s guidelines state that seeking academic asylum is permissible in instances where the scholar is in danger of being persecuted, imprisoned, or punished because of their ideas, public interventions, or involvement in peaceful demonstrations.

The program application outlines three main components: research, writing, and creative work, participation in academic events like panels and conferences, and networking with other educational institutions.

Fellows will be invited to give public lectures, attend panel discussions, and organize cultural exhibits in an effort to strengthen teaching, research, and public programming in the humanities on Cuba at FIU.

CRI has long been a part of the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR), a nationwide consortium of twenty-one university-based centers devoted to increasing the intellectual presence of Latinos in the United States.

In recent years, the CRI became a part of a consortium of twenty Hispanic-serving public research institutions supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help provide research opportunities for Latino graduate students and faculty members.

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