Miami Beach Chamber Discusses Cuba’s Future at its Quarterly Pillar Breakfast

The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) discussed Cuba and its future relationship with South Florida at the Chamber’s Quarterly Pillar Breakfast at the Alexander All-Suites Oceanfront Resort on Friday, June 19. Michael S. Goldberg, Chairman of the Chamber and SVP of Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust, opened the program, and Madeleine Romanello, Chair of the Pillar Board and Broker/Associate at ONE Sotheby’s International Realty, introduced Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg who gave the keynote address about Cuba’s future.

After the keynote address, there was a conversation regarding the impact of President Barack Obama’s decision to remove Cuba off the U.S. list of state sponsored terrorists and its impact on the South Florida business community. The conversation occurred between Chamber Executive Board Member and Principal/CEO of Borges and Associates Architects Reinaldo Borges, Dr. Jorge Duany, Director of Cuban Research Institute at FIU and Yosbel A. Ibarra a shareholder, at Greenberg Traurig.

“Today’s breakfast continues the Miami Beach Chamber’s tradition of bringing timely topics of discussion to Chamber members,” said Goldberg. “From the cover of Florida Trend to the South Florida Business Journal and the Miami Herald – the topic of Cuba has been everywhere… Though the topic is massive and multi-layered today’s topic will address some of your specific questions and concerns.”

During his keynote address, Dr. Rosenberg addressed FIU’s plans to engage with the island, which even included the possibility of opening two campuses on the island. Dr. Rosenberg is the first FIU faculty member to ascend to the university’s presidency. He has over 35 years of experience in higher education leadership. He was one of the principal architects of FIU’s growth and expansion during the past decade; has served as Chancellor of the State University System of Florida; and is the author, editor, and co-editor of seven books and numerous scholarly articles on Latin America.

The conversation after the keynote address was led by Borges who is Executive Board member at the Chamber, co-chair of the Chamber’s Real Estate Council, a leader in the discussion of sea level rise and principal and CEO of Borges + Associates Architects. Borges directed questions to Dr. Duany and Ibarra regarding the current state of Cuban/US relations and how both nations would proceed in doing business with each other.

Born in Cuba and raised in Panama and Puerto Rico, Dr. Duany previously served as Acting Dean of the College of Social Sciences, Professor of Anthropology, Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Director of the journal Revista de Ciencias Sociales at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. He has held visiting research and teaching appointments at several U.S. universities, including Harvard, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and the City University of New York. He earned his Ph.D. in Latin American Studies, specializing in anthropology, at the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University.

Ibarra advises clients on complex business transactions in the United States, Spain and across Latin America. Fluent in Spanish, he has wide-ranging experience in cross-border M&A, debt finance and project finance transactions, including publicprivate partnerships for Greenberg Traurig.

Over one hundred business professionals attended the sold out event, which was free to Pillar members of the Chamber.

The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1921 to promote the economic well-being of Miami Beach’s citizens, to improve the quality of life for the entire community, and to communicate the view of the business community on major issues of public policy.

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