Cuba IFE – Fall 2019

Located in where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet , Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and the second-most populous (following Hispaniola) with over 11 million inhabitants. Culturally, Cuba is part of Latin America but it’s a multiethnic country comprised of people and cultures that include aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, as well as descendants of Spanish colonialism, and African slaves.

Cuba is one of the last socialist countries still following the Marxist-Leninist ideology, and as such is also one of the only remaining planned economies left in the world. Additionally, it is the only country that meets the World Wildlife Fund’s definition for sustainable development. Cuba signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992, and became a party to the convention in 1994. It has subsequently produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

Cuba has tripled it’s share of the Caribbean tourism marketed over the last decade as a result of significant investment in supporting infrastructure. In 2008, the country began to implement agricultural production reforms in an effort to boost food production and increase both land use and efficiency.

The island nation is an ideal laboratory for studying various aspects of sustainability.


Themes:  sustainable development, sustainable tourism, island ecology, marine ecosystems, waste management

Virginia Tech semester:  Fall 2019
IFE Dates:  Janu 6-15, 2020
Faculty Lead:  Marc Stern
Program Fee:  $3,300 (does not include graduate tuition or international airfare)
Registration Deadline:  August 15, 2019 (as part of NR 5114 or NR 5954)

CLiGS International Field Experiences provide opportunities for graduate students and professionals to travel and gain international sustainability experience in rapidly developing regions of the world.  Offered as part of a graduate level course through Virginia Tech’s Master of Natural Resources degree program (NR 5114 – Global Issues in Natural Resources), participants earn three graduate credits from Virginia Tech for their participation in the course and project.  The course is conducted online, except for the ten-day fieldwork element conducted in Indonesia.  Graduate credits earned through this project can be applied to the Graduate Certificate in Global Sustainability, and the online and global formats of the Master of Natural Resources degree.