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Cuba Community Development Research Initiative

The Community Leadership Center (CLC) is the central hub amongst the Rutgers-Camden Centers and Departments to coordinate research and scholarly exchange activities for students and faculty at Rutgers-Camden and from Cuba.  The CLC, led by Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, has the leadership, experience, and expertise in researching and implementing community development projects in Cuba and Camden that can be translated to meaningful levels of engagement, particularly in this era of normalized relations between the United States and Cuba.  Community development is the driving focus for students and faculty to develop research and projects that increase the quality of life and well-being for Camden and Cuban residents.

The CLC leads the Rutgers-Camden community in the following areas:

Student and Faculty Exchange

  • The CLC has spearheaded an original and renewal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Havana to have Rutgers students and faculty conduct research in Cuba and for Cuban students and faculty conduct research in the U.S.

  • Dr. Santiago has deep connections and personal relationships with the university leadership to arrange logistics and research agendas that benefit all parties

  • The CLC is skilled at organizing and managing study trips to Cuba for students and faculty to learn innovative practices in historic preservation and sustainable community development that can be translated back to Camden.  The CLC has the relationship with tour providers to build a constructive and meaningful trip with participants.

Conferences and Public Engagement

  • The CLC organizes conferences and public events related to Cuba and sustainable community development.  Its network with scholars in the U.S. and Cuba is vast; the CLC has attracted well-known and successful researchers, artists, and practitioners to Camden and can continue to do so.

  • The CLC is integrated into the Camden community, particularly through its partnership with LEAP Academy University Charter School, and coordinates community development, arts and cultural, and educational events with the school families and students.  It weaves Cuban history, politics and current topics into the school’s curriculum to develop project-based learning for the students.

Monday, March 21, 2016 Local Student Returns Home From Cuba Rutgers University senior Gary Kopchinski just returned from Cuba. He says he'll share what he learned to promote urban farming in Camden.



CLC at Rutgers Camden
501 Cooper Street, Camden New Jersey, 08102
Phone: 856.225.6348 | Fax: 856. 225.6500