Cuba Symposium

Cuba Symposium

The SUNY Cortland – Caribbean Baseball Initiative (CBI) Cuba Symposium is scheduled for Thursday, April 28, in the David J. Vittor ’67 Lecture Hall, located in Sperry Center, Room 105, at the College.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary and Senator William S. Cohen will lead a symposium of experts in discussing how various forms of diplomacy can be used to bridge the differences between Cuba and the United States during a first-of-its-kind gathering at SUNY Cortland.

In addition to Cohen, moderators and panelists will include two former U.S. ambassadors as well as Cuban and American academics, business analysts, government officials and baseball representatives.  The highly respected panelists will explore business and academic opportunities created by the recent opening of relations between the former Cold-War rivals and discuss how the two nations’ shared passion for the game of baseball can facilitate this effort.

General registration is open to the public. We request, however, that you register to let us know you are coming. Use our online link.

SUNY Cortland – CBI Cuba Symposium

David J. Vittor ’67 Lecture Hall
Sperry Center, Room 105
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, April 28, 2016


Dr. Jordan Kobritz, Chair, Sport Management Department, SUNY Cortland

Introductory Remarks

Dr. Erik Bitterbaum, President, SUNY Cortland
Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor, State University of New York System

Keynote Address

The Honorable William S. Cohen, CEO & Chairman, The Cohen Group, and Former U.S. Secretary of Defense

The Bilateral Relationship

In a conversation moderated by Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow, representatives from U.S and Cuban government will provide insights on recent developments in the U.S.-Cuba relationship.

Mr. Miguel Fraga, First Secretary, Embassy of Cuba
Mr. Mark Wells, Director, Office of Cuban Affairs, U.S. State Department

Moderator: Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow, Senior Counselor, The Cohen Group

Business Opportunities

Ambassador Marc Grossman will lead a conversation among U.S. and international business leaders whose companies are at varying stages of pursuing opportunities in Cuba.

Ambassador Richard Holwill, Vice President of Global Public Policy, Amway
Mr. Andrew Macdonald, President of Biopower SA (Cuban JV) and CEO Havana Energy Ltd.
Ms. Micho Spring, Chair, Global Corporate Practice and President, New England, Weber Shandwick

Moderator: Ambassador Marc Grossman, Vice Chairman, The Cohen Group

Baseball Diplomacy

A group of U.S. and Cuban baseball officials and journalists will discuss their experiences with the game of baseball and how it has served as bridge between our two nations throughout the years and will continue to do so in the future.

Tony Diaz, Journalist, Cuban Ministry of Sport (invited)
Jorge Morejon, ESPN Deportes
Yasel Porto, Co-Founder, Jonronazo Magazine
Jesus Suarez Valmana, Cuban Baseball Journalist

Moderator: Dan Barry, New York Times

The Academic Connection

Ms. Sally Crimmins Villela, the assistant vice chancellor for global affairs at SUNY, will moderate a discussion with academic leaders from the SUNY System, St. Thomas University and Havana that emphasizes the importance of sharing knowledge through exchange programs and educational visits.

Dr. Irma Becerra-Fernandez, Provost, St. Thomas University
Dr. Alex Cartwright, Provost, State University of New York
Dr. Felix Julio Alfonso, Professor and Vice Dean, San Geronimo University (Havana) (invited)

Moderator: Ms. Sally Crimmins Villela, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs, SUNY