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Havana University will reach the 280 anniversary of its foundation
The 5th of January 2008 the Havana University, and with it the higher education in Cuba, will reach its 280th anniversary of its foundation. From its beginnings as Royal and Pontifice in 1728 and later on secularized in 1842, it was a fertile matrix of the birth of several cultural and scientific institutions and had close links with personalities of advance thinking. In its class rooms were formed such important figures as Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and Ignacio Agramonte.

Havana University has made the following call to the university community, to every man and woman of sciences, to intellectual, artists, to all our people and to the friends from foreign institutions, to take part in the celebration of the 280 anniversary of Havana University, whose Alma Mater statue symbolise the firm decision of continuing recognizing the talent of the most humble people.

The call state that since such an early date as 27th of November 1871, with the execution of the eight Medicine students, the University paid tribute to its first martyrs, a very high price for the opposition to the absolutist ideas of the colonialist metropolis and its contribution to the Cuban conscience.

In the first decades of the 20th century the more progressive sectors of the University faced the imperialist dominance and the different governments, while the political and cultural life inside the grounds of the student campus was enriched and it was projected towards the society, through the foundation by Julio Antonio Mella of the Federación Estudiantil Universitaria (University Students Federation) (FEU), the creation of the José Martí Popular University, the courses about the work and life of José Martí and the foundation of Fragua Martiana among many other relevant events.

The participatiopn of Fidel Casto, a law student, in the student fights marked a milestone in the history of Cuba, since it was, according to his own words, the place where he became a revolutionary. A high point of the compromise of the University with its people was the assault on the presidential palace the 13th of March 1957, organized by the president of FEU, José Antonio Echeverría. In this assault students and working class took part together.

After the triumph of the revolution in January 1959, the Havana University became an active star of the peoples epic stories; it was reaffirmed as an intellectual and ethic bastion to the service of the revolution, assuming by conviction and right the higher condition of revolutionary university.

Almost at the same time occurred events of great significance that interweave different fronts of fight: it is created the Battalions of University Militias and the new tasks demanded by the country in the scientific and professional file were given a boost with the 1962 University Reform that was the normative base to the development of the Cuban higher education, through the changes in the study plans with the introduction of the Martian pedagogical principles, the creation of new careers demanded by the society, the development of scholarship programs, the creation of the groups of scientific research, the start of the graduate programs and in general the conception of the formation of integral professionals, compromised with the most noble ideas of patriotism and internationalism.

The history of the Havana University, whose transcendence is expressed in its vast revolutionary culture, is a important part of the history of our nation, as the roots are and as the essential values that make us proud as Latin Americans, Anti - imperialist, solidarity and humanism are. From this University were born many new universities and research centres that are today part of the Cuban higher education and sciences system.

United with the same concept of unity given to us by Marti, the Cuban university students, loyal to the Party and to Fidel are today in the first line of the most important and beautiful challenges of the Cuban history: the development and deepen of the Universalization of higher education. This effort is compromised with all the experience, the 280 years legacy of efforts, of difficult but useful tasks, of accumulation and creation of new knowledge, of our capacity of thinking and even to our own existence, convinced that the only possible sense of education is the full conquest of social justice.

The call expressed the wishes of melt reasons, feelings and actions to become the whole country into a great university. They end by pointing out that to celebrate the 280 years of existence of Havana University in these circumstances is to project to the future the indispensable presence of a public space for the formation of values, scientific discussion, academic debate and social participation of the Cuban revolutionary youth.


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