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JFK and the Cold War

Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council.

50th anniversary of The Cuban Missile Crisis

Photo: Executive Committee of the National Security Council. By Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. JFK Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

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Alumni Reflections

"I was here, on campus through the missile crisis and also, unfortunately, the assassination." -Carl Cook, Academic Counselor, School of Public Affairs, CAS/BA '66

"I was there for President Kennedy's speech and was quite moved. I was also on campus during the Cuban missle crisis and was almost sure that we were going to be attacked and/or go to war (nuclear). So much so that I wrote a poem to my lover at the time called "October, 1962." Even though I was editor of the literary magazine, I don't think I submitted it for publication."  -Nanci I. Moore, Ph.D., CAS/BA '63

"I was living in Bethesda, MD, during the Cuban nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union and attended The American University graduation ceremony June 10, 1963, when I received the Master of Arts degree in International Relations and Organization. In 1959 I became a member of Dean Ernest Griffith’s first graduate class at American University’s new School of International Service. Dean Griffith was very generous in allowing me to attend classes part-time and gave me six hours credit for work I had done on a previous fellowship at the Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationale in Geneva, Switzerland. I completed the degree requirements in December 1962 and received my diploma at the l963 ceremony." -Marilyn Heilprin, SIS/MA '63

On-Campus Experts

Media Advisory: Cuban Missile Crisis 50th Anniversary

Media interested in scheduling an interview can email or call 202-885-5950

Media Coverage

    AU Professors Discuss the Cuban Missile Crisis

Coming Up

50th Anniversary of JFK's Commencement Address at American University on June 10, 1963

Philip Brenner

Philip Brenner

Professor of international relations and affiliate professor of history, who has published widely on U.S.-Cuba relations, on contemporary U.S. foreign policy, and on the Cuban Missile Crisis. His most recent book is A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution. Brenner has met Fidel Castro several times. He is teaching a graduate level course, Missiles and Crisis Decisions.


William LeoGrande

Professor of government and a specialist in Latin American politics and U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America. LeoGrande has been a frequent adviser to government and private sector agencies. He has written five books, including Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977 – 1992. Most recently, he was co-editor of A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution. He has met Fidel Castro several times.


Robert Pastor

Professor of international relations and director of the Center for North American Studies, served as the U.S. National Security Advisor on Latin America (1977-1981), was a consultant to the State and Defense Departments during the Clinton Administration, and was the founding director of the Carter Center’s Latin American and Caribbean Program. Pastor is the author of The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future.


Anton Fedyashin

Professor of history and executive director of AU’s Initiative for Russian Culture, is an expert on Russian/Soviet and European history. “The Cuban Missile Crisis was a turning point during the Cold War that brought to popular conscience the real dangers of the nuclear arms race and led to breakthroughs in negotiations over the next two decades,” he said.