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What Now? Cuba

Monday, September 11, 2017
Sarasota, FL

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Event Detail

What Now? Cuba

“What Now? Cuba” has been CANCELED due to Hurricane Irma. Find an official statement from USFSM here.

Recent changes in US policies toward Cuba have reinvigorated debate over US-Cuba relations. How will these revised policies affect American business, trade, and travel, as well as the well-being of the Cuban people? What does the future hold? Please join GIC,  the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM), the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and our panels of leading experts as we discuss the state of US-Cuba relations and the outlook going forward.


8:00 a.m. — Registration and coffee

8:30 a.m. — Welcome Remarks

  • Karen Holbrook, Executive Vice President and Sr. Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida
  • David Kotok, CIO Cumberland Advisors and GIC Board Member

8:45 a.m. — Keynote I – US Administrations & Cuba

  • Vicki Huddleston: US Ambassador, retired; former Principal Officer, US Interests section in Havana
    (Myths, Contradictions, and Lies: Bush, Obama, Trump)

9:30 a.m. — Keynote II – Economic Outlook     

  • Don Rissmiller, Chief Economist, Strategas Research Partners and GIC Vice Chair of Programs
    (The Global Economic & Market Context)

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. — Break

10:30 a.m. — Panel Session: Doing Business with Cuba

  • Collin Laverty, Cuba Educational Travel
    (21st Century Cuba: Challenges and Opportunities)
  • David Seleski, President and CEO, Stonegate Bank
    (U.S. Business Opportunities in Cuba in Today’s Regulatory Environment)
  • Jorge Duany: Director, Cuban Research Institute; Professor of Anthropology, Florida International University
    (U.S.-Cuba Relations and the Cuban-American Community)
  • Harry Vanden, Professor Emeritus, Government and International Affairs, University of South Florida
    (Buenos Dias Havana: Is It a New Day in Cuba?)

12:15 p.m. — Concluding Remarks

  • Jorge Duany: Director, Cuban Research Institute; Professor of Anthropology, Florida International University

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. — Lunch


University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Selby Auditorium
8350 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34243

Plan your trip to Sarasota using GIC’s blog posted by Jill here.

Event Location

Date: Monday, September 11, 2017 City: Sarasota, FL Download iCal


Jorge Duany

Director, Cuban Research Institute and Professor, Florida International University

Dr. Jorge Duany is the Director of the Cuban Research Institute and Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University. Born in Cuba and raised in Panama and Puerto Rico, Dr. Duany previously served as Acting Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras.

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Karen Holbrook

Executive Vice President at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and Sr. Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida

Karen A. Holbrook, PhD, is currently serving as the Executive Vice President at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and Sr. Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida. Prior to this position, she served as the Interim president at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, after leaving the University of South Florida where she was Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation, then Senior Vice President for Global Affairs and International Research. Before coming to USF, Dr. Holbrook served as president of The Ohio State University from 2002-2007. She was also the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost and professor of cell biology at the University of Georgia, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Florida, and associate dean for research and professor of biological structure and medicine at the University of Washington, School of Medicine.

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Vicki Huddleston


Ambassador Vicki Huddleston was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa and later held the same position at the Department of Defense. She led American diplomatic missions in Mali, Madagascar, Cuba, and Ethiopia. She was Director of U.S. policy toward Cuba at the Department of State and later Chief of our Diplomatic Mission in Havana before it became an embassy. In Haiti, she was Deputy ambassador and later Chief of Party for a USAID Value Chain project. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and as a Congressional Fellow worked on the staff of former Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru and worked with housing cooperatives. Vicki is currently a consultant with Transnational Strategies Group. Vicki’s opinion pieces on Cuba, Mali, and Ethiopia have appeared in The New York Times, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Post. She co-authored “Learning to Salsa – New Steps in U.S.- Cuban Relations.”  Her book Our Woman in Havana: A U.S. Diplomat’s Chronicle of our Long Struggle with Fidel Castro’s Cuba,” Vicki is a popular speaker at foreign affairs groups and universities, recently participating in the Colorado World Affairs Week, Meridian International Center, the Montana and Cleveland Councils on World Affairs, the Naples Yacht Club, and the Air Force Academy.

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Stephen Kay

Stephen Kay is the center director of the Atlanta Fed’s Americas Center. Dr. Kay is part of the financial markets team. His research focuses on political economy and public policy in Latin America. His articles on pension reform in Latin America have appeared in the Journal of Comparative Politics, Foreign Policy Journal, Journal of Aging & Social Policy, Journal of European Social Policy, Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, International Social Security Review, Latin American Politics and Society, Social Security Bulletin, and the Atlanta Fed’s Economic Review. Dr. Kay is a coeditor of Lessons from Pension Reform in the Americas (with Tapen Sinha, Oxford University Press) and an author of Social Security in Latin America: Pension Reform and the Challenge of Universal Coverage (with Carolina Felix and Tapen Sinha, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). He has testified twice before committees of the United States Congress on pension reform in Latin America. Dr. Kay received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California and his doctorate in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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David Kotok

CIO of Cumberland Advisors

David R. Kotok cofounded Cumberland Advisors in 1973 and has been its chief investment officer since inception. He holds a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in organizational dynamics from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Collin Laverty

President, Cuba Educational Travel

Collin Laverty is president of Cuba Educational Travel, which offers curated travel to the island for bar associations, business groups, companies, think tanks, trade groups, and universities,. He is also a senior partner at Havana Strategies, a boutique consultancy offering assistance to U.S. companies operating in Cuba or hoping to enter the Cuban market.

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Donald Rissmiller

Founding Partner of Strategas

Donald Rissmiller is a founding partner of Strategas and has been the firm’s chief economist since 2006, directing its macroeconomic research effort. He oversees Strategas’ high-frequency econometric forecasting and thematic economic research. Mr. Rissmiller’s research has been consistently recognized by Institutional Investor magazine in their annual survey: he was ranked best up and coming economist in 2008, and was third in their 2009 All-America Independent Research Team survey. He is frequently quoted in the financial press.

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Dave Seleski

Founder and President and CEO, Stonegate Bank

Mr. Seleski is the founder and the current President and CEO of Stonegate Bank.  Stonegate Bank was founded 2005 and is a $3.0 billion Bank headquartered in Pompano Beach, Florida.  The bank has 23 offices located in Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Collier, Lee and Hillsborough Counties.  Mr. Seleski most recently served, since May 2002, as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Southeast Florida division of Florida Bank, N.A., until its sale in July 2004 to The South Financial Group, Inc. 

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