Tom Joyner, chairman and founder of the Tom Joyner Foundation, and his son, Thomas Joyner, Jr., president and CEO, led a group of HBCU presidents to Havana, Cuba for an historic series of meetings.
DALLAS, TX – Mere months after President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba, The Tom Joyner Foundation (TJF), the Dallas-based nonprofit that helps support historically black colleges and universities, led a one-of-a-kind four-day mission to Cuba with numerous HBCU presidents who explored global exchange and research opportunities for students and faculty in Cuba.
Nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner, chairman and founder of the TJF, and his son, Thomas Joyner, Jr., president and CEO, facilitated a historic series of meetings that took place from May 28th to June 1st. Presidents of the following HBCUs participated: Dr. John Rudley, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas; Dr. Raymond Burse, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Ky.; Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio; Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy, Shaw University, Raleigh, NC; and Dr. Lester Newman, Jr., Jarvis Christian University, Hawkins, Texas. During a series of presentations, conversations, and meetings, the group visited with representatives from the Ministry of Education, the University of Havana and the Superior Polytechnic School Institute.
“This trip was a major step forward in helping these HBCUs learn about how they could play a role in the new Cuba,” said Thomas Joyner, Jr., president and CEO of the Foundation. “I think the representatives of these schools picked up some very valuable information that they’ll be able to use to create some new opportunities for their students and faculty.”
Joyner said he is in the midst of planning a second mission to Cuba in the fall. The participants of the program said the experience offered them firsthand experience of what is going on in Cuba.
“It’s important for us to partner with your education system, providing opportunities for student and faculty exchanges,” Jackson-Hammond said. “The more knowledge we have about Cuba, the more we can build relationships. It is better when we personally try to understand each other rather than relying solely on the media or what we hear about Cuba.”
Shaw’s Dubroy said, “One of Shaw University’s goals is to strengthen the collegiate journey by exposing our students to the positive aspects of multi-cultural experiences. Partnering with countries like Cuba in a global exchange program will heighten the authenticity of our academic programs.”
HBCU participants interested in traveling will have to pay their own round-trip airfare from Miami International Airport. Once in Havana, Joyner and Cuban experts lead the administrators and educators in a series of interactive discussions and tours.