Two Storm Lake educators join first trade mission, paving way for students
Two Buena Vista University professors will get a first-hand look at Cuba this week as part of an Iowa trade delegation visiting that newly-opened communist country located 90 miles south of Florida.
While the purpose of the trip is to promote trade, Dr. Eric Eller, a professor of economics and finance at BVU, and Dr. Tim McDaniel, a professor of mathematics and statistics at BVU, hope to use it as an opportunity to plan for a student trip to Cuba next January.
"We wanted to have some idea of the country before we brought students there and this is a perfect opportunity for us to do that," Eller said.
Ten Iowa food and agricultural companies will participate in the first Iowa Trade Mission to Cuba. With the enactment of the Trade Reform Act of 2000, U.S. food and agricultural suppliers are allowed to export to Cuba for the first time in more than 40 years. The Iowa delegation will meet with a variety of Cuban food and ag organizations.
Eller and McDaniel leave tomorrow for the six-day trip, which is being led by Congressman Leonard Boswell and Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge. Organizers were more than happy to have the two BVU professors come along, Eller said.
The educators hope to learn as much about Cuba as possible in the next six days. Their findings will help them craft the January interim travel experience.
When students go to the communist nation next January, Eller said it will be a huge opportunity to visit a "great unknown."