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KNOXVILLE – Wayne Smith, director of the Cuba Program at the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C., will be at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Wednesday, March 11, to discuss Cuba after Castro.

The free lecture, part of the Great Decisions Program, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Great Room of the International House.

Wayne Smith
Wayne Smith
The Great Decisions Program, coordinated by the Center for International Education and funded by the Ready for the World initiative, brings speakers from around the country to campus to address our nation’s most pressing foreign policy issues.

Other lectures in the series, all to be held at 7 p.m. in the Great Room of the International House, are:

– March 25 – John Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, “The U.S. and Rising Powers.”

– April 15 – Andrew Leonard, staff writer at and “How the World Works” blogger, “Energy and the Global Economy.”

Smith’s lecture will look at the changes that have occurred since Fidel Castro handed over the presidency of Cuba to his brother, Raul, in early 2008.

Signs of greater economic openness have led to speculation about whether Raul will try to reopen ties with the U.S. Smith also will talk about the role Cuba’s American exiles might play in shaping a post-Castro Cuba.

Smith is now a visiting professor of Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University, and directs the university’s academic exchange program with the University of Havana.
Since 1992, he also has been a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C.

From 1957 to 1982, he worked for the U.S. Department of State. That work took him to the Soviet Union, Argentina and Cuba. He served as the executive secretary of President Kennedy’s Latin American Task Force and in 1961 was cited by the Task Force Chairman A.A. Berle as one of the outstanding young Foreign Service officers in the Latin American Bureau. In 1973, he received the Meritorious Honor Award for the sustained excellence of his political reporting from Buenos Aires. When he decided to lave the Foreign Service in 1982 because of fundamental disagreements with the Reagan administration’s foreign policy, he was chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba, and was recognized as the State Department’s leading expert on Cuba.

A Marine Corps veteran of the Korean Conflict, he has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree form La Universidad de las Americas in Mexico City. He also has a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City and a master’s degree and doctorate from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In 1990, he received the Henry L. Cain Most Distinguished Alumnus award from La Universidad de las Americas.

For more information about this event or to arrange disability accommodations, contact the International House at (865) 974-4453.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,