Northeastern teams with US congressmen on partnerships in Cuba

Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun, center, with U.S. Representatives James McGovern, left, and Seth Moulton during a visit to Cuba in February 2017. Photo by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky for Northeastern University.

President Joseph E. Aoun signed an agreement with the University of Havana—the most comprehensive academic initiative by an American institution in Cuba—last week during a visit to Cuba, where he led a delegation of Northeastern faculty and staff and members of Congress. This story is the third in our five-part series covering the visit.

When Northeastern pressed forward to establish the most comprehensive academic initiative in Cuba of any U.S. higher education institution, the university turned to U.S. Rep. James McGovern.

For years, McGovern has been a leading voice in Congress in pushing to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations. He has long supported Northeastern’s efforts to secure partnerships in Cuba, and he spearheaded congressional letters to Cuban and U.S. ambassadors in support of a historic agreement signed last week between Northeastern and the University of Havana.

McGovern and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton joined a delegation of Northeastern faculty and staff, led by President Joseph E. Aoun, last week on a four-day visit to Cuba.

The congressmen had previously joined former President Barack Obama on his visit to the Caribbean island nation last year. McGovern has visited many times and has spent his entire career in Congress working to improve relations between the two countries. This work includes playing an integral role in the restoration and preservation of Ernest Hemingway’s house in Cuba, as well as preserving and digitizing a trove of Hemingway documents at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

“My view is if Hemingway can bring the United States and Cuba together to rebuild this house and to preserve all those documents, then Hemingway can be a force to bring us together to have better relations,” McGovern said.

Here is a video of McGovern and Aoun discussing the congressman’s work to preserve Hemingway’s legacy and the importance of the partnerships Northeastern has established on the Caribbean island nation.