Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 6:30 pm

Colegio Guanabacoa - 2b

The founding of the First Normal School at the Escuelas Pías de Guanabacoa in 1857 was hailed by the Cuban philosopher and eminent educator José de la Luz y Caballero as “a Normal School whose presence fulfilled a longtime need to advance the cause of education on our soil.” This unique lecture on the contribution of this legendary institution to education in Cuba is the result of extensive research by Cuban scholar Andrés Castellanos, who will review the history, organization and admission requirements to the first Normal School in Cuba, founded and run by Piarist Fathers (who comprised the faculty), and the tuition-free Annex School for children. The Normal School trained and graduated students to teach primary and secondary levels to students coming from all municipalities of the Island, thereby responding to the educational needs of the country during the last forty years of the 19th century and the early years of the new Republic in the 20th century.

The innovative importance of the Annex School for Practice Teaching, which functioned parallel to the Normal School until its closure, cannot be underestimated. Indeed, it was the model followed in the organization of the Normal School system established under the Republic. However, the Annex School for children continued functioning free of charge, and was attached to the new boarding and commuting school of the Escuelas Pías de Guanabacoa, which gained recognition as an important educational, cultural, and scientific center of excellence for more than a century. Indeed, many of its alumni became prominent in all walks of life, also excelling in Cuba’s 1895 War of Independence, including one hundred officers, among them several generals. True to its caliber, the school was part of Cuba’s presentation at the International Exhibitions held in Paris (1868), Barcelona (1888), Paris (1901), and Seville (1928), as well as at international conferences on education held in several other countries.

Hamilton Hall, Room 717
Broadway & 116th Street, NYC

RSVP at cccofny@aol.com

Enter campus through main gate at 116th Street. Continue walking past sundial, walk down steps on the right.
Hamilton Hall will be to the left. Take elevator up to 7th Floor.

Pictured above: Partial view of the 18th century colonial cloister of Escuelas Pías de Guanabacoa, the boarding home of the normalist students. 


Andres Castellanos del Corral is a lecturer, researcher and scholar of Cuban history. Some of his findings appear in Bibliography about Father Felix Varela, published by Enildo Garcia, in Levi Marrero’s magnificent work, Cuba Andres Castellanos 1Economia y Sociedad, and in the book Guanabacoa la Bella: A Collection of Stories and Historical Narratives about the Villa de Pepe Antonio, by  Maria Argelia Vizcaíno. His writings and biographical notes on numerous prominent Cuban figures—such as Dolores Martí de Cid,  Rev. Modesto Galofré, Sch.P., Guillermo Martínez Márquez, José Cid Pérez, Rev. Pastor González, Sch.P., Leopoldo Barroso, and Rosario Rexach—have been published in several journals, including Circulo, Catalunya, ISSUU Online, and AFICS/NY Bulletin magazine. Other essays include “The Don Quijote in Simón González,” “Calasanz: a Great Man for all Seasons,” “Fatma Ashour, a U.N. Pillar,” and “Ye Chengba, 1928-2015: His Major Role on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries,” among others.

As President Emeritus of the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants of the U.N. and all other International Organizations (FAFICS), given his tenure as President during the maximum number of years according to its statutes, he is also an Honorary Member of the Governing Board of AFICS, the New York UN-based Association of the Federation, which he presided over after a long  distinguished career as an international civil servant, requiring him to conduct technical cooperation missions to many countries in all world regions. As a pro bono public service to his colleagues, he was Counsel and defender of cases before the Appeals Board and the Admninistrative Tribunal. For almost 40 years he was professor of Public Speaking and Parliamentary Procedures at the Félix Varela Hispanic Institute of Pastoral Formation of the Archdiocese of New York. Prof. Castellanos holds a Masters in Political Science from the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of the New School for Social Research, where he also completed a specialized program on International Organizations. In Cuba he pursued Law studies at Villanova Catholic University in Havana and at the University of Havana, where he also completed the Licentiate Program in Diplomatic and Consular Law.

Guagua escolar Escuelas Pías

School bus of the Escuelas Pías, circa 1860.

This event is co-sponsored by the Latinx Professional & Educational Network of Columbia University




This event is presented with the promotional support of Diario de Cuba