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Summer and Intersession Programs

Education Diplomacy: Building US-Cuban Educational Partnerships


International education is a key public diplomacy tool supporting the advancement of US strategic initiatives abroad. The recent restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba has thus prompted an abundance of interest among US higher education institutions (HEIs) in building partnerships and programs with universities on the island. Yet alongside this surge of activity, there remains a knowledge gap in terms of the strategic use of resources, alignment of priorities, and infrastructure capabilities to support the effective and sustainable development of exchange programs and partnerships.

Cuba- malecon corner

Faculty Director

Amanda Taylor

Academic Details

Practicum Description

This practicum will focus on building the frameworks and developing the foundational resources necessary to support the development of the US’s educational diplomacy initiatives in Cuba. Working with our clients and in-country partners we will research the goals, capacity and infrastructure of Cuban partners, as well as best practices in Cuban exchanges in other contexts. Deliverables may include an electronic toolkit to offer strategic guidance to US HEIs interested in building educational partnerships in Cuba, a webinar for HEI international officers and/or a whitepaper report. This practicum is ideal for students interested in learning about the drivers, actors, and tools necessary to create sustainable and transformational educational, cultural or public diplomacy programs, internationalization and exchange in higher education, and/or public-private partnership development in education.

2016 Course Dates

These dates are tentative and subject to change:

In-class Meeting Dates and Times-

Washington, DC:May 23, May 25, June 1 (teams only), June 6, June 8, June 24, June 27, June 29; 5:30-8:00 pm

Travel to Cuba: June 11th-19th  

Draft Deliverable Due to Faculty: July 1st

Presentation to Client: July 7th

Final Deliverable Due to Client and Professor: July 9th

Program Costs

Expected student expenses include: AU tuition, international travel, visa fee (if applicable), and most meals. 

Accommodation and program related travel expenses are covered at no additional cost to students.

Who Should Apply

All SIS students are welcome to apply for this practicum, but preference will be given to students with a demonstrated interest and background in international education, higher education and public-private partnership development, and/or public and cultural diplomacy. Strong applicants will also have some research methods coursework and/or experience. Program design coursework and/or experience is also helpful. Spanish language skills desirable but not required.

Practicum Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in any SIS Practicum, MA students must be in good academic standing (including a 3.0 cumulative GPA) and have completed 18 credits of graduate coursework by the end of the spring 2014 semester, prior to participating in the Practicum. Dual degree students (e.g. MA/MBA, JD/MA, and KU/MA) must have completed at least 9 of the minimum 18 credits to participate. Students from any MA program can apply to this practicum.

Application and Deadlines

The application deadline is March 1, 2016.

Click on the following Application Form link and complete the form. This web form is only the first step of the Practicum application process. Note that this form is not your complete application! Once you have submitted the form, log in to Blackboard, open the "SIS Practicum Program" site, and upload a cover letter and resume for each Practicum to which you are applying.

For more information about the application process, please contact

As part of the review process, the Faculty Leader may invite students to meet with her to discuss the submitted application. Once admitted to the Program students will receive notification via e-mail.

If accepted, students will be required to submit a non-refundable deposit of $250 to SIS, through a check or money order made payable to American University, to secure their place in the Program.

Contact Us!


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Info Session

Tuesday, 1/26; 4:45-5:15pm and 5:30-6pm in SIS 235

Application Deadline

Summer 2016: March 1, 2016;

No Rolling Admission

Apply Now!

First, fill out the Application Form. Then, go to Blackboard and log in, open the "SIS Practicum Program," and upload a Cover Letter and a Resume for each practicum to which you are applying.

Funding Your Study Abroad

Graduate grants and scholarships

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