InteRDom Internships in the Dominican Republic rang in 2011with the premiere of its first two-week “Expert in the Spanish Caribbean” program given in conjunction with the University of Rhode Island from January 4-18, 2011. The program aimed to teach students about political, historic, economic and cultural elements of the Dominican Republic, relying on the active participation of collaborating institutions from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. These collaborators provided expertise and insight into the sustainable development of the country, as well as its participation in global markets.
The group of 19 students from a wide array of study areas enthusiastically participated in a rigorous agenda that included excursions to different parts of the country, community service trips, classes with their Rhode Island professors and professors from InteRDom’s partner institution, UNIBE, and workshops led by experts in different fields.
The program closed with a workshop on the Dominican Carnival given by Cesar Arturo Abreu, Carnival king and folklore expert, and Elka Hernandez and Edwin Aristy, Carnival experts and former “diablo cojuelos,” with a special appearance by the Broncos, famed Carnival dancers.
Prior to the closing ceremony the students had visited La Vega, the epicenter of the Dominican Carnival, and learned about the history, current practice and costume-making elements of Carnival celebrations. The students also studied the political, social and economic history of the country, making trips to the Mirabal Sisters Museum in Salcedo, the Leon Jimenez Cultural Center in Santiago and the Dominican Congress and Central Bank, among others.
The participation of the University of Rhode Island was integral to the program’s success, providing an academic syllabus and impetus to launch this exciting new program for students to take an in-depth look at the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean in a short window of time. Other universities interested in developing similar programs for their students should contact InteRDom General Coordinator, Alicia Alonzo, with a proposal.
The “Expert in the Spanish Caribbean” program is one of the many efforts made by InteRDom’s sponsoring institutions Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundacion Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE) to create and launch innovate projects and programs aimed at enriching academic and professional exchange.