Two Cuban Fellows

Saturday, September 27, 2014
Kudos to Cuban bloggers and democracy activists Yoani Sanchez and Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo on their prestigious new fellowships at Georgetown and Brown University, respectively.

From Georgetown University:

Cuban Blogger, Journalist Now Yahoo! Fellow at Georgetown

An internationally recognized Cuban blogger known for her promotion of online freedom of expression is Georgetown’s new Yahoo! Fellow in International Values, Communications, Technology and the Global Internet.

Yoani Sanchez, an award-winning journalist and author, will focus on digital journalism and her recently launched online daily during the 2014-2015 academic year, the School of Foreign Service and its Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD) announced today.

“The Yahoo! Fellowship at Georgetown is an opportunity for me to improve the quality of my own work, to empower independent journalism in Cuba,” Sanchez says, “and to interact with students and faculty in order to broaden my perspective on the world and on Cuba itself.”

Sanchez’s blog, Generation Y, is translated into nearly two-dozen languages and receives more than 14 million visits per month. This past spring, Sanchez launched Cuba’s first digital daily newspaper, 14ymedio.

A graduate of the University of Havana, where she studied language and literature, Sanchez says that challenging herself and “constantly learning are central goals in my personal life and in my journey as an eternal student.”

As the Yahoo! Fellow, Sanchez will share her experience of launching an online newspaper in a closed society and issues covered on 14ymedio with the Georgetown community to inform an exploration of online information and values.

From Brown University:

Pardo Lazo named International Writers Project fellow

Cuban writer and photographer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo has been chosen as this year’s 2014-2015 International Writers Project (IWP) Fellow. The IWP fellowship is given annually to one writer who has been subjected to political harassment, imprisonment, or oppression in his or her country of origin. The fellowship provides a stipend and working space for the writer.

According to Erik Ehn, director of the International Writers Project, “The rigor of the word, the bravery of the writer, the ethic of solidarity and the faith in steady witness are celebrated at Brown through the mission and practices of the IWP, where we line up the disciplinary depth of literary programs at Brown with the University’s international mandate. IWP provides writers at risk time to write and engagement with our community of faculty and students, sharing fellowship across the school and beyond through festivals, performances, and special presentations.”

Born in Havana, Pardo Lazo is the author of five novels. He is a columnist for Madrid’s Diario de Cuba, Sampsonia Way Magazine and El Nacional in Caracas, and is webmaster of the photoblog Boring Home Utopics and the opinion blog Lunes de post-RevoluciĆ³n (available in English at

Pardo Lazo’s novel, Boring Home, was censored by the Letras Cubanas publishing house in 2009. Following its subsequent publication by Garamond (Prague) and El Nacional (Caracas), he has not been permitted to publish, study, or work in Cuba. He was arrested on three occasions and prevented from leaving the island by Fidel Castro’s secret police. He was finally allowed to leave Cuba in 2013 following the advent of migratory reforms launched by the government of Raul Castro.

Pardo Lazo has continued his literary and political activities since his arrival in the United States. In 2014, O/R Books in New York published Cuba In Splinters, an anthology of Cuban stories edited by Pardo Lazo. In October 2014, Restless Books will publish his digital photobook, Abandoned Havana, “a collection of surreal, irony-laden photos and texts” about the city.