Welcoming Havana to Cambridge

Elaine Diaz, Ellery Biddle and Ivan Sigal group selfie, in Cambridge Massachusetts for a Global Voices meetup.

Elaine Diaz, Ellery Biddle and Ivan Sigal group selfie, in Cambridge Massachusetts for a Global Voices meetup.

Perhaps my favorite part of being in the Global Voices community is making friends from parts of the world I don't know well. While I've spent a great deal of time in Eastern Europe and Asia, Latin America before Global Voices was mostly an abstraction for me. That's not true anymore, thanks to the time I've spent with the many GV writers and editors from the LatAm team, not to mention Solana Larsen (Puerto Rico), Paula Goes (Brazil) and Georgia Popplewell (Trinidad and Tobago, with a window on South America).

Last week Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, Ellery Biddle and Elaine Diaz and I got together in Cambridge Massachusetts for a GV meetup, where we feasted on Elaine's home cooking, with arroz con frijoles, fried yucca, pork and plantains, while sitting in her quiet and green back yard. Elaine is the first Cuban journalist and blogger in history to be awarded the prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, and she's only been in Cambridge a few weeks. Ellery's also just moved here, from San Francisco, joining me at the Berkman Center as a fellow. While Ellery's spent time here before, it's a bigger change for Elaine, coming from Havana and negotiating both a new city and a new culture. And while she claims it's been a challenge, she's landed herself in a great apartment, already found the local markets with the best selection of Cuban produce, dug deep into her course selections and lectures, and maybe most importantly, is rapidly becoming a fan of the Boston Red Sox. For Elaine's perspective on Cuba, check out this conversation she and Ellery had last year, or a New York Times profile from last year.

Boston has been Firuzeh's home for a few years already, and now, it's become the unlikely base for a significant contingent of our Latin America team. If you're passing through the region – drop in and say hello, or come visit us at the Berkman Center, at the Nieman Foundation, or at the MIT Center for Civic Media, where Ethan Zuckerman spends his days. 


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