Monday, April 25, 2016

UPDATE: POSTPONED - Internet and Economy: Perspectives and Opportunities for Cuba Today and Tomorrow (May 25-26, 2016) Hilton Midtown Hotel – New York City

Regretfully, we have decided to postpone for a future date our previously announced symposium "Internet and Economy: Perspectives and Opportunities for Cuba Today and Tomorrow," originally scheduled to take place on May 25-26, 2016 in New York City just prior to the LASA conference.

The logistical and financial challenges of organizing such an ambitious event with so little time have proven impossible to overcome for the time being. We regret this change of plans but do hope to hold this event in the near future. 


Ted, Taylor, and Norges
Click here for preliminary program
Want to meet some of the creative Cubans behind the tech start-ups that President Barack Obama will be learning about during his historic trip to Havana this week? 

Join us in NYC on May 25-26 for the following event!

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Internet and Economy:
Perspectives and Opportunities for Cuba Today and Tomorrow

May 25-26, 2016
Hilton Midtown Hotel – New York City

With the support of Baruch College, CUNY, the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), and the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), we are pleased to announce: “Internet and Economy: Perspectives and Opportunities for Cuba Today and Tomorrow,” a two-day seminar that will take place on May 25-26, 2016 at the Hilton Midtown Hotel in New York City.

Building on the success of the previous event, “Internet y Economía: Perspectivas y Oportunidades para el futuro de Cuba,” that took place at Havana’s Royal Norwegian Embassy on October 1-2, 2015, the New York event aims to take advantage of the synergies generated by the attendance of leading academics, policy makers, and practitioners in the world of Cuban Information and Communication Technologies (ITC) at the annual Latin American Studies Association International Congress (LASA) on May 27-30, 2016.

The main objective of the seminar is to bring before a broader industry, policymaking, and academic audience the current state of and debate over ICT in Cuba, focusing on public access, competing models and uses of the Internet, and the development of a digital economy on the island in order to promote greater connectivity and prosperity for the Cuban people.

Seminar speakers will include Cubans who have developed some of the island’s most popular mobile apps, Cuban and American academics, Cuban journalists, leading independent media organizations, representatives of international NGOs, and U.S. government officials. Invited guests also include representatives from leading U.S. tech companies, tech journalists, and representatives from Cuba’s permanent mission to the United Nations.

Seminar topics will include:
• Digital economy and tech startups
• Public policies for ICT development
• News media and digital technology
• U.S. engagement with Cuban ICT

Preliminary Program

The development of ICT has transformed societies in recent decades. The falling cost of technological equipment and increasing levels of broadband access have facilitated this development. So great has been this transformation that we commonly refer to it as the “Digital Revolution,” one that will rival the industrial revolution in its impact on society. This revolution cuts across all sectors of society, transforming economies, politics, international relations, and the media.

However, due to Cuba’s low rate of Internet access and weak telecommunications infrastructure, it has not been able to fully benefit from the dynamic effect ICTs are having on the global economy. Still, Cuba remains a leader in the skill and competence of the population in ICT use, a fact especially noteworthy among Cuba’s many often underemployed computer science graduates.

Some Cubans have creatively overcome the barriers imposed by low connectivity by developing offline mobile apps and coming up with ingenious ways to use flash drives to distribute digital data across the island without the Internet. Others have used alternative modes of data transmission to build an independent media-sphere that successfully competes with the state media monopoly. All this has generated new social dynamics and significant commercial activity that, paradoxically, remain beyond the reach of the country’s antiquated legal framework.

Thus, Cuba faces a scenario where access to digital technology will be crucial for economic development both in the short and long term. Despite this, there is no clearly defined public policy toward ICT. Recently, the Cuban government announced its intention of achieving “massive” public access to the Internet so that by 2020, 50% of households would enjoy broadband connectivity. In fact, during 2016 Cuba will roll out its first-ever pilot program for household Internet access.

The recent rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuban governments provides an important opportunity for the development of Cuban ICT given that the twin issues of Internet access and entrepreneurial expansion are among the top issues in bilateral negotiations. This situation is especially important given that one of the reasons for Cuba’s low connectivity has been the lack of access to modern technology and telecom services provided by U.S. companies.

Nevertheless, this situation has changed in recent months given the Obama administration’s relaxation of previous restrictions on telecom companies doing business in Cuba and the roll out on the island of Cuba’s first-ever Wi-Fi hotspots.

1 comment:

  1. Yo no pierdo las esperanzas de que hagamos esto en Cuba y con el apoyo del gobierno de la República de Cuba.