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AAAS Assists Scientists Traveling to Cuba;
Right to Travel Web Site Now Updated
Despite its struggling economy, Cuba is the most scientifically advanced of the Caribbean nations. U.S. and Cuban scientists agree that academic exchanges are beneficial to the development of science in both countries. And although special licenses are available for scientists and academics, many American scientists still experience substantial difficulties in traveling to Cuba. Cuban scientists also continue to experience problems entering the United States to carry out legitimate research, communications, and exchanges.
Now, AAAS is working to raise the visibility of the travel issue within the U.S. scientific community. A newly updated Right to Travel Web site informs scientists about the possibilities for travel to Cuba, provides information on applications procedures, and assists scientists interested in engaging in scientific collaborations in negotiating the bureaucratic process. AAAS's report, "The Effect of Travel Restrictions on Scientific Collaboration Between U.S. and Cuban Scientists," is also available on the Web site.
The site features an online survey of scientific societies, colleges and universities, and U.S. scientists involved in scientific collaboration with Cuba. The results, which will later be published, will be used to determine organizational policy on conducting collaboration with Cuba, the extent of ongoing collaboration, and the level of interest in initiating new exchanges.
The AAAS Right to Travel project addresses restrictions on travel by U.S. scientists and academics to Cuba and restrictions on travel by Cuban scientists and academics to the United States imposed by the U.S. government. The project serves as a type of clearinghouse, with several functions: monitoring visa requests and license application results; mobilizing the scientific community to call for the unfettered right of scientists to travel; and advocating on behalf of scientists whose right to travel has been denied.
The project will create a directory of colleges, universities, and scientific institutions that maintain or are interested in initiating projects with their Cuban colleagues or conducting work in Cuba. The directory will be made available on the Web site. The project will also seek to organize meetings with researchers and scientists from professional associations and universities engaged in Cuba-related work and collaborative projects to discuss the impact of travel policies on efforts to conduct scientific collaborations.