Cuban architect, political scientist coming to state as part of URI’s international scholars program

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Lectures to be held Sept. 29, panel discussion Oct. 2


KINGSTON, R.I. – September 19, 2014 – The University of Rhode Island’s Distinguished Visiting International Scholars Program will give Rhode Islanders two opportunities to learn about the fast changing Caribbean country, Cuba, with presentations by two leading Cuban scholars.


The talk, “Preservation and Development of Colonial Havana,” on Monday, Sept. 29 will feature Miguel Coyula, architect and urban planner. Free and open to the public, the event will be held in the State Room at the Statehouse. Reservations are required. Click here to register for the event. For more information call 401-874-2014. The co-sponsor is the Providence Preservation Society. A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. and the talk will begin at 6:15 p.m. Maureen Moakley, URI professor of political science and Brent Runyon executive director of the preservation society, will make opening remarks.


On Thursday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. Humberto Miranda, a political philosopher who studies and writes about politics in Latin America, and his colleague, Coyula, will participate in a panel discussion on “The Emergence of a New Cuba: Opportunities and Obstacles,” in the Chafee Social Science Center, 142 Flagg Road, Room 271, Kingston campus. U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will introduce the event and Richard McIntyre, URI professor of economics, will moderate.


Miranda is a political philosopher at the Institute of Philosophy in Havana, Cuba and specializes in cooperative enterprises and worker self-management. A visiting professor at the College of Charlestown, he organized the Cuba Study Abroad program for that college and will be a guest presenter for URI’s J Term course in Cuba taught by Professors Moakley and McIntyre.


Coyula is an architect and urban development specialist at the Group for the Comprehensive Development of Havana and worked there until his retirement in 2011. He is the founder of the Cuban Union of Architects and has spoken in the United States many times, including lectures at Portland State University, American University and Florida International University.


During the week of their visit, the scholars will visit URI classes in the social sciences, business and engineering and meet with faculty and administrators to discuss additional learning opportunities. Coyula will be given a tour of Providence’s Benefit Street area to see how Rhode Island’s biggest city was able to preserve homes from its colonial period and turn the area into a thriving neighborhood.


McIntyre said URI has brought Cuban scholars to campus before, but that “this effort is tied to a new commitment to introducing students and the wider community to political, economic and cultural issues in Cuba, including a new J Term course we are offering in January, Dynamics of Social Change in the Caribbean. Professor Moakley, Tom Zorabedian (assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences), and I will bring a class to Cuba for 10 days in January,” McIntyre said. “We are bringing in these two leading Cuban scholars to generate excitement for the course and for the study of Cuba more widely.”


Their visit is funded by the URI Office of Provost and supported by several departments and colleges at the university as a part of the Distinguished International Scholars Program.


This release was written by, Rachel Smith a graduate assistant for the URI Marketing and Communications Department.