Elzbieta Sklodowska

“I grew up in Cold-War Poland behind the Iron Curtain and spent the equivalent of a junior year abroad in Cuba. My intellectual journey from Warsaw to Havana to Saint Louis involved many leaps, circles and intersections, but Cuba has remained on my research and teaching agenda. For the past several years, together with my colleague Joseph Schraibman, I have been fortunate to be able to take a group of Washington University freshmen to Cuba as part of the FOCUS Program in Arts and Sciences. It is truly rewarding to witness how our students embrace Cuban culture in a spontaneous and respectful way. And to see how any lingering anxieties or misconceptions melt away in interactions with Cuban people gives me hope for a genuine dialogue between our two countries.”