Category Archives: Education

Interview with a Cuban University Student, 2018

Lauren (a Michigan university student studying at the University of Havana): What is the biggest problem that Cuba has?

S: Economy. Economic development. But with it there is another thing, the mentality. We have to change the mentality.

L: Of what?

S: Of the people. It has already changed, a little. But it is necessary to change it more. And it is not a question of changing it for good or changing it for the worse. It is not a value judgment. Simply, the way of being has to change. Doing what we are doing now, we will not solve all the problems we have and those that come before us.

One thing that Cuba needs in the change of mentality, is that it needs to be more free, the people need to be more open to the unknown. We need dialogue, in Cuba there is a lack of dialogue. We lack… literally the word is dialogue. Dialogue involves listening and speaking, but speaking without overshadowing what the others say, and in Cuba that is missing. In order to move forward, we need dialogue. To listen to ourselves, and little by little, rebuild us. And in the economy too, change is needed, strong, decisive and fast. Especially fast. We need change, but we can’t delay it and it has to be fast, because if it’s not we will lose the strength in our system and fall into a bourgeois revolution, just like what happened to the USSR.  People will think that the system is broken beyond repair, and search for a new one,

which would lead to the complete reintegration of the capitalist system.  In Cuba, that would be a disaster in my opinion. A neoliberal restoration would be a disaster. Because by context and situation in Cuba, it is not what would be best. For me, the road is socialism. But a real socialism. A socialism consistent with Marx, with Marxism. And not with Marxism-Leninism, not with the Marx and with the Lenin that Stalin created, which was what we assumed. The problem is this, that we call ourselves Marxists, but we stay in academic Marxism. In the street people do not speak from Marx. It’s not that people do not talk about Marxism, it’s that people do not speak from Marx. People do not understand phenomena from Marx or from Marxism. They understand from the bourgeoisie theory. How are we going to be Marxists, if our population mostly understands things from the bourgeoisie theory? It is because we have not known enough to reach people with Marxism so that they understand things. That’s why you don’t have to look for another system, what you have to do is readjust what you have. But readjust it well. They are strong changes, radical changes, but they are going to help us have a better country to develop.

L: What do you think the world can learn from Cuba?

S: Solidarity. To share. The Martian (referring to Jose Martí) humanism that we have. It is a thing that is exportable. In fact, we do export it, we send doctors instead of soldiers, we send teachers to help eliminate illiteracy, we send human capital, teachers, doctors, athletes. We help people, and we share what we have.  The main thing is the solidarity of Cuba, and the kindness and sincerity with which we act before situations. When we speak we do it sincerely, from the heart, without looking the benefit, economic or otherwise. When we act, we do it selflessly. Without looking for the political gain, how to get better standing before a situation. We are not Machiavellian, we are humanists, thanks to Martí and many others who formed the nationality and the Cuban race and what it means to be Cuban. Even our diplomacy is humanistic.

: What is one thing that you are fighting for?

S: To change the forms, the conception, the focus of politics. To revolutionize the mentality, changing it and readjusting it to the current times, to the current generations. To change Cuban politics, regenerate it, give it a rebirth, that’s why I fight.

November 17, 2018

Adventures from Lo

Lauren, college student Michigan


ways to teach civil discourse to students

Dutch teenagers are happy!

The Netherlands has done its homework. Read more:

The Dutch have high levels of happiness across all age groups.
Image: REUTERS/Cris Toala Olivares

Exam pressures, the quest for more independence, strained relationships with parents and a body full of raging hormones all add to teenage angst. Of course not all teenagers have the same experience of these formative years, and where they live has a huge influence on an important time of their lives.

If all teenagers could choose where to grow up, the Netherlands would be a good pick. Young people there are highly likely to have a positive experience of their teenage years.

They are, on average, likely to be among the happiest, healthiest, best educated and wealthiest of adolescents living in the world’s richest nations.

Earlier this year, an OECD report found that over 93% of children aged 11 to 15 years old in the Netherlands recorded above average life satisfaction.

And subsequent reports by UNICEF have listed the Netherlands as one of the best places in the world for children and teenagers to live.


When UNICEF assessed the well-being of children and teenagers in OECD nations in 2013, the Netherlands came top overall. It also topped the individual categories for material well-being, educational well-being, and for behaviours and risks.

Dutch teenagers are among the least likely to engage in risky behaviour, including getting pregnant and drinking alcohol.

A subsequent UNICEF report in 2017 found that teenage girls in the Netherlands were the least likely in the world to experience violence.

And reports published last year by UNICEF and the World Health Organization found that the Netherlands has the lowest obesity rates among rich nations.

Work-life balance

Dutch teenagers’ health and happiness appears to reflect the health and happiness of the Dutch population overall.

This year, once again, the Netherlands ranked in the top 10 of the Global Happiness Index.

In a world where mental health problems are on the rise, the Netherlands remains one of the OECD nations with the lowest use of antidepressants per capita.

Perhaps the secret to widespread happiness in the Netherlands, and the happiness of its teenagers in particular, is the country’s work-life balance.

Image: OECD

This year’s OECD Better Life Index found that the Dutch have the best work-life balance of any developed nation.

Only 0.5% of Dutch employees regularly work very long hours, which is the lowest rate in the OECD, where the average is 13%. Overall, they work an average of just 30.3 hours per week, well below the EU average of 40.3 hours per week.

Instead, they devote around 16 hours per day to eating, sleeping and leisurely pursuits.

The Dutch also spend time together as families, which is reflected in the strength of the relationships teenagers in the Netherlands have with their parents.

Among European teenagers, research by the World Health Organization found 15-year-olds in the Netherlands find it easiest to talk to their parents.

interesting interviews on YouTube

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Interviews with global youth and adult panels from her radio show, as well as dance videos.