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A Future with Hope: A Travel Study Seminar to the Republic of Cuba

February 25 to March 5, 2025

The Cuban Revolution did not break all ties across [the] Florida straits.” affirmed the 222nd General Assembly in 2016 approving “Nuevo Momento”, the official policy that guides the relationship between the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Iglesia Presbiteriana-Reformada en Cuba (IPRC). Though diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cuba and the United States in the 20th century ended in 1961, ties and partnerships between the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Iglesia Presbiteriana-Reformada en Cuba (IPRC) stood even across ideological and political divides that existed in different sectors of society.

Study Synod Atendees 2023

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This travel study seminar will embark on a journey learning precisely about those ties across the ocean and the divides. Engaging in conversations and experiences with church and community leaders, we will learn about life and ministry on the Caribbean Island located 90 miles off the coast of Florida. Hosted by the Centro Memorial Martin Luther King, Jr. – a faith-based, community-organizing, and educational organization in La Habana – seminar participants will gain a comprehensive view of Cuba’s rich history and culture, the current political landscape, and the relationship between church and society, including the centennial relationship with our sister church, the IPRC, its synod, and three presbyteries. Looking at the history of colonization, independence and revolution, the relationship with the USA in the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, current economic challenges, the US embargo, migration, and other themes, we will reflect on the challenges and opportunities for partnership and advocacy as we learn from our siblings. We will also spend time at the Seminario Evangélico de Teología (Evangelical Seminary of Theology; SET) in Matanzas, where students called to serve in ministry are formed academically and spiritually in an ecumenical environment. The journey will include visits to historical sites and opportunities for dialogue with organizations specializing in community engagement, social work, ecumenical dialogue, and conflict resolution, among other topics of interest.

Participants are responsible for their own travel to and from Cuba. Travel days are Tuesday, February 25th and Wednesday, March 5th. Arrivals into the José Martí International Airport (HAV) should be scheduled for Tuesday, February 25 in time for dinner at the Centro Memorial Martin Luther King, Jr. at 6:00 p.m. Departures may be scheduled for Wednesday, March 5 from José Martí International Airport (HAV) after 10:00 a.m. Participants will be away for one Sunday.

Red Bougainvillea flower Cuba - Photo by Jose Manuel

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The seminar will last 9 days with 8 nights of accommodation at the Centro Memorial Martin Luther King, Jr. in La Habana and the Seminario Evangélico de Teología (SET) in Matanzas. Accommodations are double occupancy. Some single-occupancy rooms may be available in La Habana for an additional charge.  Of special note, USA citizens cannot engage in tourism in Cuba because of the restrictions of the US Embargo. The visas received for the Travel Study Seminar to the Republic of Cuba are religious visas.

The seminar cost is $1,800 per person double occupancy including all seminar expenses (meals, accommodations, program, tips, tours, and in-country transport). Airline transportation to and from La Habana (HAV) is not included.

Applications are due by Friday, October 25, 2024. After that date, applications will be considered as space remains available.