Cuba: Economic Opportunities and Challenges

Program Leads Rebecca Bellinger, Kislaya Prasad
Destination Havana, Cuba
Eligibility Faculty members at any university or college.
Note: There is no concurrent spouse/guest travel available for this program due to federal regulations on travel to Cuba.
Costs Program fee: Approximately $4000 per person (single room accommodation)
Participants will also be responsible for the flight to/from Havana, some meals, and personal expenses.
Application Applications for 2019 are now closed.
Program itinerary This program is currently suspended, please contact the center with any inquiries.
Questions? Please contact global@rhsmith.umd.edu.


Because of ties of history, the importance of the Cuban immigrant community, and Cuba’s proximity to the United States, this country has a significance that is out of size with its economy. Another chapter was added to the volatile history of U.S.-Cuba relations when President Trump reversed the process of normalization of ties between the two countries initiated by his predecessor. However, diplomatic ties were not severed and a considerable amount of commerce continues. Over the last few years, Cuba has been undergoing significant changes. For the first time in almost sixty years, the country is being led by someone not named Castro. Cuba has also begun to reform its economic system, which was long dominated by subsidized state enterprises, a dual currency system, and hostility towards markets. Private enterprises are now allowed to function, but the government has so far resisted a transition to a full-fledged market-based system. All of these circumstances make Cuba a fascinating place, at an interesting juncture in its history.

The Center for Global Business, through Title VI CIBE funding, is leading a faculty development program to Cuba in May 2019. The goal of the program is to enable participants to develop a better understanding of the working of the Cuban economy within its broader historical, political and cultural context, to get a sense of the changes that are underway both domestically and in the context of the evolving US-Cuba relationship, and to appreciate the business prospects that have opened up. The program will also enable participants to develop connections with counterparts at Cuban universities.

Through business visits and speaking engagements with professionals, government representatives, and the higher education community in Cuba, the FDIB will explore topics of high current relevance, including:

  1. Investment laws and laws relevant to the formation of joint enterprises, repatriation, and labor;
  2. The currency and exchange rate system, Cuba’s debt and its relationship to international financial institutions; and
  3. Investment opportunities in tourism, pharmaceuticals, natural resources, agribusiness, etc.

To view photos and follow updates from the 2016 and 2017 programs, please "follow" Center for Global Business on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook.

Robert H. Smith School of Business
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