The Sustainability Resource Center Partnership
We have begun to develop a project related to the Preservation of the Historical-Cultural Heritage in Old Havana. Our Cuban counterpart will be the Colegio de San Geronimo, a college of the University of Havana. The Center will be located at the San Geronimo College. The working name is “Laboratory for the Development of Preservation, Sustainability and Innovation Technologies as Applied to Historically Significant Structures and Environs”.
Projected renovation and layout of the Center space will demonstrate sustainability principles in its planning and development to insure equity, economics, and environment – the 3 E’s of sustainability practices. This means all aspects of this project will be based on mutual respect, involvement, and full participation between Cuban representatives and those assembled here though our organization.
The intended use of the Center is to house research and educational programs from this partnership. This includes Penn State University and assigned local partners in all areas of sustainability through peer level cooperation with the San Geronimo College, University of Havana, and other Cuban institutions. Other areas of interest may also be addressed such as agriculture, horticulture, communication technology, sports medicine, and more. These will be explored based on mutual identification of need and availability of the appropriate local resources
To be part of this project, institutions, organizations, and corporations interested in the project will be formally invited. Universities in the area and beyond will be invited to participate. Penn State University, having an established agreement with the University of Havana, has already begun preliminary engagement. Logistics in Cuba for all of the different activities will be coordinated by a specialized team.
Some specific activities to be developed will be seminars, workshops, courses, and practical classes on related topics. Further, Colegio San Geronimo will offer short courses in different topics.
Pittsburgh City Council Resolution
Passed on November 17, 2020, This Pittsburgh City Council Resolution Urges President Donald Trump to respect the sovereignty of the Cuban people and renew productive and cooperative mutual engagement with Cuba and re-open a fully operational Embassy in Havana and allow Cuba to restore all diplomatic staff and services at their Washington, D.C. Embassy;
AND urges the Congress to pass the strategic pieces of legislation that would completely repeal the blockade and travel ban.
This Resolution was sent to the White House, Members of Congress, National Conference of Mayors and, state and local legislators.
Due to the restrictions regarding the Covid-19 Pandemic, our projected activities reflect our restricted ability to plan activities where we may gather in large groups to promote and educate our community regarding the immoral Blockade on Cuba. However, these are some of Our Projected Activities for 2021:
- Zoom strategy meeting with Congressman Mike Doyle
- Pitt Latin American & Caribbean Festival (dependent on Covid Protocols)
- Delegation to Matanzas & Havana To Include Medical Personnel/ and Others
- Continued Support for Global Links Initiatives
- Launch of our New Cubasipgh.org web site
- Continued Outreach to Pittsburgh Residents & Groups
- Refining our Sustainability & Environmental Center Project with San Geronimo - University of Havana
- Continue efforts to expand engagement effort between Cuba and Penn State based on their officially signed MOU
- More will be planned as the Pandemic recedes.
“Poetry of Diversity" - International Art Exhibition
Our Partnership presented an International Art Exhibition held in Pittsburgh on March 17-23, 2019 and featured contemporary artists from Cuba, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Participating artists who participated are famous in their own country and have exhibited around the globe. They include: Jose Villa Soberon, Angel Ramirez, Ernesto Fernando Valmaceda Magua, Lissette Alvarez Betancourt, Max Sanz, Jean Michel Fiedler and Javier Ampudia. Pittsburgh fabric artist Tina Williams Brewer also exhibited.
The Exhibition took place in the COVESTRO BRIGHTSPACE hall at the Energy Innovation Center and began with an open public Reception. The Reception introduced the artists and also featured a presentation of a “Lifetime Achievement Award” to fabric artist Tina Williams Brewer recognized here in Pittsburgh and throughout our Commonwealth. She donated one of her art pieces with proceeds directed to Casa San Jose, an immigrants’ rights advocacy agency.
Citizen Diplomacy Delegation
A high level delegation from the City of Pittsburgh traveled to Havana, Cuba. The intent was to establish a more stable, formal, and sustainable relationship with Cuba in an effort to promote mutually beneficial partnerships across various disciplines – commerce, academic & research, architecture & preservation, agriculture, sports, architecture, and historic preservation. There was also and attempt to promote establishing Pittsburgh International Airport as a direct flight hub to Cuba.
The delegation was led by our U S Congressman Mike Doyle (14th CD) and included: County Executive Richard Fitzgerald; City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak; former state senator, Jim Ferlo; former state representative Mike Diven; Dr. Deno De Ciantis, The Pennsylvania State University; and others from the academic, business, and community sector.
Unfortunately the following year, Donald Trump won the election and efforts to advance communications and relations with Cuba came to a grinding halt.
Other Past Activities
Brought both Democratic and Republican elected officials to Cuba who committed to support the lifting of the economic blockade and travel ban.
Our delegations have been hosted in Cuba by numerous leaders of government, academia, and community organizations that have led to cooperative activities between our two countries leading to mutually beneficial understanding and cooperation—we have reciprocated by assisting delegations of Cubans to travel to Pittsburgh in a show of solidarity and mutual respect.
Assisted in the formal signing of a cooperation agreement between Penn State University and the University of Havana (February 22, 2017), an opportunity to build educational exchanges and engagement between students of both countries.
Held annual events including hosting the Pastors for Peace Caravan, the Bridge Builders for Peace social, attending the Pitt Latin American-Caribbean Festival, July 26th celebrations, Carnegie Science Center Film showing, among others help to educate and reach to the greater Pittsburgh community.