Expert advice on business opportunities in Cuba

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1 CUBA Answers Expert advice on business opportunities in Cuba 10:00 a.m. Thursday, April 30, 2015 Price Lake Room Plemmons Student Union Appalachian State University

2 CUBA ANSWERS 10:00 a.m. Welcome Heather Norris, Dean Walker College of Business Greetings Jesse Lutabingwa, Associate Vice Chancellor for International Programs Appalachian State University 120 Years in 12 Minutes: US-Cuba Relations in Perspective Martin Meznar, Associate Dean of International Programs Walker College of Business Introductions Meredith Church Pipes, International Programs Coordinator Walker College of Business Transformations in the Cuban Economy and Implications of Changes in US-Cuba Relations Humberto Blanco, Director Center for Research of the Cuban Economy Havana, Cuba Practical Impact on Changes in Travel and Investment Saúl Berenthal, Chief Operating Officer Cuban Heritage Experiences Durham, North Carolina Opportunities for Investment in Cuba Ángel Ayala, Business and Financial Consultant Havana, Cuba Doing Business with Cuba Peter Thornton, Assistant Director of International Marketing North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Raleigh, North Carolina Luncheon Boxed lunches are available in the corridor. 1

3 PROGRAM 12:00 p.m. Cuba Answers: Where to go from here? John Kavulich, President U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, Inc. New York, New York Is Cuba open for business? Challenges and Opportunities for Investment and Partnership Panel Discussion Closing Remarks Martin Meznar LUNCHEON SPEAKER John Kavulich President U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council From 1994 through 2005, Mr. John Kavulich served as the president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, Inc., a private, membershipbased, not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization headquartered in New York City, New York. At peak, the combined annual revenues of organization members were approximately US$1 trillion dollars. The U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council remains the most widely sourced business organization within the United States focusing upon the Republic of Cuba. Mr. Kavulich also serves as editor-in-chief of the organization s publication, Economic Eye on Cuba. From 2005, Mr. Kavulich served as a senior policy advisor to the organization until returning as president of the organization in A native of Cheektowaga, New York, Mr. Kavulich received a Bachelor s degree in Business Administration in 1983 from The George Washington University School of Government and Business Administration in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kavulich is a citizen of the United States and is a citizen of Canada. 2

4 PANEL MODERATOR Renee Scherlen is a professor of political science in the Government & Justice Studies Department. She has taught at Appalachian since Dr. Scherlen earned a Master s degree in Latin American Studies and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research is on Latin America and US foreign policy, with a special emphasis on the drug war. Her most recent publication, coauthored with Dr. Matthew Robinson, is Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics, 2nd Edition (SUNY Press). In 2001, Dr. Scherlen began traveling to Cuba with students, faculty and administrators from Appalachian. PANEL EXPERTS Ángel Luis Ayala Morejón of Havana, Cuba is an entrepreneur (Cuentapropista), public accountant, business/financial consultant and director of the UK-based company Tumi Music LTD, an import/ export entity. He served as the director of the Spanish company Euro Business Market SL, an advertising and market promotion firm, from Mr. Ayala was director of Auka Impex, a Canadian marketing firm, from From , he served the Cuban Ministry of Tourism as the national administrative director and sales director for hotel supplies. Mr. Ayala previously worked for the International Trading House as part of Cubanacan s international relations office, servicing international companies accredited to do business in Cuba. He earned his MBA at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain. Saúl Berenthal was born in Cuba and came to the US in He holds a BS in Physics and Math from Long Island University and was employed by IBM, first as a specialist in the retail industry, and then in 2nd generation point of sale implementation for the world market. In 1983, Berenthal started his own software development business and successfully developed two other point of sale ventures in a variety of industries. After selling these, he has devoted his time to a variety of projects, including the creation of the Cuban Heritage 3

5 PANEL EXPERTS Experiences-People to People Cuba Initiative, which works to facilitate connections between his two countries. Through this organization he has led several groups back to the island, especially to allow them to experience his Jewish Cuba. Humberto Blanco is the director of the Center for Research of the Cuban Economy at the University of Havana, Cuba. Dr. Blanco received his PhD in Business Management at the University of Havana, Cuba and at Carleton University in Canada. Since 1989, Dr. Blanco has worked as a professor, researcher and business management consultant for the Center for Research of the Cuban Economy. He serves on the editorial board of the Management Review, published by the Higher Education Ministry of Cuba as well as the University of Havana s magazine, Economy and Development. His research interests include economic reforms and business management as well as innovation and entrepreneurship. He has provided management consultation in the areas of manufacturing, retail and the software industry. Dr. Blanco serves on the Council of Science and Technology as part of the Commision for Updating the Cuban Economic Model. Peter Thornton is the assistant director for international marketing for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS). Previously, Mr. Thornton was the vice president of international marketing for the American Peanut Council in Alexandria, Virginia. Before that, he worked in various positions in the Asia division of the American Soybean Association in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Thornton is a member of the USTR and USDA Agriculture Trade Advisory Committee and a member of the North Carolina District Export Council. He is a Certified Public Manager and a Kentucky Colonel. Mr. Thornton received a Bachelor s degree in Economics from American University and a Master s degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). 4

6 CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS Heather Norris joined the Walker College of Business faculty in the fall of 2003 in the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance. She was named assistant dean for undergraduate programs in 2005, associate dean for undergraduate programs and administration in 2008 and senior associate dean in She was named acting dean of the college in July Dr. Norris earned her bachelor s degree from James Madison University and master s and doctorate degrees from Pennsylvania State University. Jesse Lutabingwa is associate vice chancellor of international education and development and director of international research and development at Appalachian. Dr. Lutabingwa has 20+ years of experience in international education and development, and is responsible for providing leadership in advocating for, supporting and pursuing the University s goals for international education and development. He holds a Bachelor s degree in Business Administration and Economics with a Political Science minor, a Master s degree in International Development Management and a PhD in Public Administration. Martin Meznar is associate dean of international programs and assessment for the Walker College of Business. For the past eight years, Dr. Meznar has been responsible for overseeing and expanding international programs for the College of Business, including leading four academic programs to Cuba. Dr. Meznar earned his PhD in Business Administration and International Management from the University of South Carolina. Meredith Church Pipes is the international programs coordinator for the Walker College of Business. Ms. Pipes earned a Bachelor s degree in Spanish from Appalachian and a Master s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Kansas. She has spent extended time in Mexico, Spain, Uruguay and Honduras and has co-led numerous international programs for the Walker College of Business, including three to Cuba. 5

7 THE WALKER COLLEGE AND CUBA CUBA ANSWERS For half a century, US/Cuba relations have been frozen in time. Now the icy landscape has changed. This change is bringing not just differences in how we perceive each other, but also new rules governing this new relationship. What are the new rules? What are the likely additional changes we can expect? What is a reasonable time-line for the changes to be implemented? How will these changes affect international trade and investment, immigration, education and travel? Appalachian State University s Walker College of Business, along with the Office of International Education and Development, have brought together American and Cuban experts to help provide answers to these questions. Recent key changes in US policy toward Cuba President Obama calls for normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the reopening of a US Embassy in Havana. December Amendments to Cuban Assets Control Regulations ease sanctions in key areas of trade, financial services, travel and remittances. December President Obama recommends removal of Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism, a list that includes four countries Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. Removal should take place in late May. April GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES CONFERENCE The 2014 Global Opportunities Conference (GOC) focused on Cuba Today. As part of a global emphasis, the Walker College of Business hosts the annual GOC to bring experts in international business to campus, providing students with keys to succeed in the global marketplace as well as networking opportunities. SHORT-TERM STUDY ABROAD For several years, students from the Walker College of Business have traveled to Havana, Bay of Pigs and Matanzas during fall break to attend lectures from renowned economists at the University of Havana. The 2015 program to Cuba will take place October

8 Office of International Education and Development APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY For information about international events and activities at Appalachian State University, please contact us: international.business.appstate.edu international.appstate.edu (828) business.appstate.edu

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