Announcing the Recipients of the Mellon Fellowships for Threatened Cuban Scholars

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Armando Mariño, "The Raft," 2002

In December 2022, the Mellon Foundation awarded the Cuban Research Institute a $750,000 grant to establish a three-year fellowship program for threatened Cuban scholars in the humanities. The program will help artists, writers, academics, and journalists displaced from the island to continue their work at FIU. It will substantially broaden and deepen current discussions about intellectual freedom—including freedom of thought and expression—in Cuba, the United States, and worldwide.

In January 2023, CRI circulated the call for applications for the academic year 2023–24, and fifty-eight grant applications were received. The selection committee was impressed with the number and quality of the candidates, as well as the variety of their backgrounds and the experience of many applicants as independent journalists. Their proposals also ranged widely, from writing books and directing film documentaries, to organizing art exhibitions and recording musical albums.

The following persons have received grants to pursue their individual projects while in residence at FIU during the academic year 2023–24:

  • Katherine Bisquet, poet, "The White Memory" (book of interviews)
  • Dr. Marialina García Ramos, anthropologist, "The Arts of Good Governance: Contestation, Body, and Power in a Strand of Cuban Art and Activism, 2003–2016" (ethnographic book)
  • Omara I. Ruiz Urquiola, art historian, "Academic Freedom and Cultural Rights: The Cuban Case" (archival research project)
  • Lía Villares, artist, "Free Art vs. Totalitarian Censorship" (film documentary series)

CRI staff members look forward to hosting these visiting fellows at FIU during the next academic year.