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History Class Visits Cuba to Study Cold War

February 25, 2015

Laurie Morrissey
Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7240

History class in CubaA dozen Saint Anselm College students will visit Cuba with their professors March 1-7 to learn about an important period of United States history that ended around the time they were born: the Cold War.

Professors Philip Pajakowski and Matthew Masur team-teach the history course on the Cold War, which draws students majoring in international relations, nursing, English, and politics, as well as history.

The group's visit comes less than three months after the historic announcement that U.S. relations with Cuba would be resumed.

While Cuba is only 90 miles from Florida, Professor Masur says, "It has been, for the most part, off-limits to Americans for decades. Students are intrigued with the prospect of visiting the communist state on America's doorstep."

Olivia Babine, an international relations major from Maine, says she jumped at the chance to go abroad to learn about American-Russian relations and a series of events that happened "not too long ago," such as the invasion of the Bay of Pigs.

"When listening to stories about it in the news, I never understood; so it was hard to make any kind of fair judgment." In addition, she says, "I wanted a chance to practice my Spanish and to really experience a Hispanic culture."

Nursing major Lucy Santangelo, a senior who minors in Spanish, gender studies, and theology, has always been fascinated by politics, and wrote a research paper on the Cold War during high school. With a particular interest in President John F. Kennedy, she looks forward to the class' visit to the Bay of Pigs on March 5.

The students will explore the origins of the Soviet-American conflict, the two countries' struggle for global influence, and the effects of the Cold War on American and Soviet domestic affairs. They will hear from local lecturers and visit historic sites such including Old Havana, the colonial settlement of Trinidad, and the memorial to Cuba's national hero, Jose Marti.

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Photo: Criminal Justice major Ben Plante '15 with Cuban interpreter and guide Manual Alvarez.

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