Monday, February 7, 2011

Obama's New Rules

The Obama Administration’s New Rules
Authorizing Academic and “People-To-People”
Educational Travel to Cuba

A Conference Sponsored by the Columbia
University School of International and Public
Affairs (SIPA) and the Center for International Policy (CIP)

Wed., Feb. 9 2011, 2-5 p.m.
Room 1512, SIPA, 420 W. 118th St, NY, NY 10027

On January 14, 2011 the White House announced a new policy of facilitating travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba for educational purposes. Treasury Department regulations implementing that policy were published in the Federal Register on January 28, 2011.

Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and The Center for International Policy (CIP) invite you to a workshop conference that will examine in detail what the new regulations mean for colleges and universities thinking about setting up new academic programs in Cuba, or resurrecting earlier programs that were terminated by the restrictive regulations adopted in 2004 by the Bush administration.

The conference will also address so-called “people-to-people” travel to Cuba. This new category of approved travel authorizes organized visits to Cuba for non-academic educational purposes. Colleges and universities may wish to avail themselves of the people-to-people travel by developing alumni programs that explore such things as Cuban music, dance and art. Among many other options are travel itineraries devoted to architectural history and conservation and environmental preservation.

  • What is a Treasury Department “general license” for academic programs in Cuba, and what institutions will qualify for one?
  • How is a U.S. academic program arranged in Cuba.
  • The requirement that courses must be given for “academic credit”, what does it mean?
  • The permitted roles in U.S. academic programs in Cuba of adjunct faculty and students from other colleges and universities.
  • Permitted expenditures in Cuba by U.S. universities and colleges.
  • Record-keeping and other compliance issues arising from the U.S. embargo on Cuba.
  • “People-to-people” travel. What does it mean and what organizations are qualified to sponsor and organize such travel?
  • How will an organization apply for a people-to-people license and what supporting certifications and documentation will be useful? And what itineraries are likely to be acceptable under the new rules.
  • Per diem limits on expenditures per traveler, and what can and cannot be purchased in Cuba to bring back into the U.S.
  • Securing Cuban approvals for proposed educational programs and obtaining necessary visas.
  • Booking accommodations in Cuba and making other on-the-ground arrangements there, the role of licensed U.S. Travel Service Providers (TSPs).
1:45 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Sign-in and coffee

2:00 p.m. –2:15 p.m. Welcoming Remarks
John Coatsworth, Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs

2:15 p.m. –2:45 p.m. "Academic and People-To-People Travel to Cuba: The Legal Dimension"
Robert L. Muse, Attorney, Washington D.C.

2:45 p.m. –3:05 p.m. "Cuba on the Ground: Logistics"
David Parry, Chairman, Academic Travel Abroad,
Washington, D.C.

3:05 p.m. –3:25 p.m. "Non-degree Educational Travel to Cuba: Informative and Appealing Programs"
Elizabeth Newhouse, Associate,
Center for International Policy,
Washington D.C.

3:25 p.m. –5:00 p.m. Question and Answer Session

John Coatsworth has served as Dean of the Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs since 2008. Prior to his appointment as Dean, Coatsworth served as Interim Dean (2007–2008) and as visiting professor (2006–2007).
Dean Coatsworth previously served as the Monroe Gutman Professor of Latin American Affairs at Harvard University (1992–2007), and was founding director of Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. He also chaired the Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies. Prior to his work at Harvard, Coatsworth was a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago (1969–1992). Other academic posts have included visiting professorships at El Colegio de México, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the National University of Buenos Aires, the Instituto Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, and the Instituto Ortega y Gassett in Madrid.

Robert Muse will give a presentation centered on what is legal under the new travel rules. Muse is a Washington D.C. lawyer who provides legal counsel to a number of U.S. not-for-profits operating in Cuba. Among those organizations are the Environmental Defense Fund, the New York Botanical Garden, the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies. He provides legal guidance to the Latin American Studies Association and universities seeking to establish academic programs in Cuba. Mr. Muse recently served as principal legal advisor to the Brookings Institution’s project: Cuba: A New Policy of Critical and Constructive Engagement and as senior legal advisor for the Atlantic Council’s publication U.S.-Cuba Relations: An Analytic Compendium of U.S. Policies, Laws and Regulations.

David Parry, Chairman of Academic Travel Abroad (ATA), Washington, D.C. will address the logistics of organizing educational programs in Cuba. ATA is one of the few organizations that has developed group programs in Cuba in recent years on behalf of U.S. not-for-profits, including the American Association of University Women. ATA therefore has hands-on current experience of the logistics of group travel to that country. ATA was the principal organizer of people-to-people programs in Cuba until those programs were abolished in 2003 by the Bush Administration.

Elizabeth Newhouse, an Associate in the Center for International Policy’s Cuba Program and former director of travel publishing at the National Geographic Society, will relate her experiences working with the Society’s people-to-people programs in Cuba between 2000 and 2002. In particular she will describe the kind of cultural and educational programs that participants in its sold-out trips found informative and appealing.

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