Cuba is topic for discussion series Friday


Delaware’s 2016 Great Decisions Community Discussion Series on U.S. Foreign Policy continues Friday with a lecture on “Cuba and the United States” by Miguel Martinez-Saenz, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Otterbein University.

In December 2014, President Obama announced he would “begin to normalize relations between” the U.S. and Cuba. On July 20, 2015, embassies were opened and diplomatic relationships were restored.

Martinez-Saenz, a Cuban-American, earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in religion and his doctorate in philosophy from the University of South Florida. He held several faculty and staff positions at Wittenberg University, from teaching to associate provost.

Before going to Otterbein, Martinez-Saenz was dean of University College at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He has written and presented on issues including international development, writer Jorge Luis Borges, Che Guevara, liberal education and the birth of his son.

Outside the university setting, he has worked with his wife, a former public school social studies teacher, tutoring teens at or below the poverty line, has conducted philosophy workshops with incarcerated males, and has accompanied student groups to build houses in rural communities in Nicaragua. His interest in Cuba, he states, is “quite deep and very personal.”

All Great Decisions discussions will begin at noon in the Fellowship Hall of the William Street United Methodist Church, 28 W. William. Attendees are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch, organizers note. Complimentary coffee and tea will be provided.

Other speakers during the series are:

• March 4, “Mexican Migration to the United States,” featuring Robert Gitter, Joseph A. Meek Professor of Economics at Ohio Wesleyan.

• March 11, “The Road to a Stable Climate: What’s Next After Paris?,” featuring Marianne Gabel, leader of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Delaware, with a CCL panel.

• March 18, “The Rise of ISIS,” featuring Michael Houlahan, Foreign Service Officer (retired), U.S. State Department.

Following each discussion, audience participants will have the option of completing a quick survey — prepared by the nonprofit Foreign Policy Association — to add their opinions to others across the nation. The survey results will be made available to federal decision-makers.

Local sponsors of the lecture series include the American Association of University Women, Kiwanis, League of Women Voters, International Studies Program at Ohio Wesleyan University, William Street United Methodist Church, Willow Brook Christian Communities, Cruise One and private donors.

The Great Decisions Discussion Program, a free community discussion series, is designed to encourage debate and discussion of the role of the United States in world affairs, organizers say.


Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by Corinne Lyman, professor emerita of politics and government at Ohio Wesleyan University.

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