Winter 2016 / Spring 2017
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Havana Nights

Understanding “the wizards of invention”

Staff Writer

This March, Suffolk is bringing a group of 25 Suffolk University alumni and their guests to Cuba for a special one-week program. (The deadline for signing up was just before Thanksgiving).

While Cuba is generally known for its beautiful beaches, rum, cigars, music and dance, it is a complex nation, culturally, econom­ically and politically. During the trip, some of that complexity will start to become more evident, says the trip’s leader, Judge Isaac Borenstein (ret.), Visiting Professor at Suffolk Law. “Participants will visit world-class museums, learn about Cuban history, admire the country’s architecture, and begin to understand why so many call Cubans the ‘wizards of invention,’” he says. That moniker de­scribes a people able to keep decades-old American and Eastern European cars running on the roads, while earning kudos for their work in medicine and bio technology.

Suffolk has a history of collaboration with the University of Havana, offering an academic course for Suffolk Law and Cuban students at the University of Havana Law School for the last three years. That course—team-taught by Suffolk and University of Ha­vana professors—has drawn the attention of the Boston Globe  (“Suffolk Law Students Making Well-Timed Visit to Cuba”) and NPR (“Former Mass. Judge Talks Nation’s Relationship with Cuba Ahead of Teaching in Havana”). This year’s student seminar, also in March, will focus on comparative criminal law and procedure.

Borenstein, a native of Havana and fluent in Spanish, has re­turned to his home many times, forged close relationships with law faculty at the University of Havana, and established many friendships there with people from all walks of life.

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