Press Room: Press Releases

Elizabeth Newhouse to Direct Center for International Policy's Cuba Project


November 19, 2014
Washington, DC

Elizabeth Newhouse has been named the director of the Center for International Policy’s Cuba Project.  Wayne Smith, who has headed the project since its inception in 1991, will continue to be involved with the project as a senior fellow.

CIP established the Cuba Project in 1991 to promote the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba.  Dr. Smith, the former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, took countless delegations to Cuba over the past 23 years.  He published articles in major newspapers and magazines as well as in scholarly journals making the case for better relations with Cuba.

Elizabeth Newhouse joined CIP five years ago and now leads all of CIP’s delegations to Cuba and organizes conference and meetings in Washington and Miami.  Ms. Newhouse’s family moved to Havana when she was 6 years old, and she continued living in Cuba through her early teen years.  A graduate of Wellesley College, she had a 30-year career at the National Geographic Society, rising to become director of National Geographic’s travel publications. Her c.v. is below.

Abigail Poe, CIP’s deputy director, said that Ms. Newhouse’s long experience in Cuba makes her the perfect person to replace Dr. Smith.  “Both Wayne and Elizabeth lived in Cuba before the revolution and both have stayed engaged in the issue over the past five decades, a record few specialists can match.” 

The Cuba Project will continue to take delegations of prominent American citizens to Cuba as well as specialized groups of scientists, meteorologists, politicians and academics. The goal remains the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, a goal that seems closer now than at any time in the past 53 years.

Elizabeth Newhouse has been a consultant at the Center for International Policy’s Cuba Project for the past five years. She has organized conferences, accompanied delegations of U.S. policymakers to Cuba, and written on such topics as Cuba’s disaster management and race relations, U.S.-Cuba policy and environmental cooperation, and the changing Cuban-American demographic. She has served as an expert lecturer on Cuban history, politics, culture, and U.S.-Cuba relations on trips to the island sponsored by organizations including National Geographic, where she also worked for 30 years as an editor, writer, and for more than a decade as the director of travel publishing, managing a $9 million program that produced more than 30 titles a year. In 2002-2003 Newhouse was a member of the Cuba Advisory Group, a blue-ribbon committee established by the Center for National Policy to advocate for negotiating an end to the trade embargo. Her book, Cuba (National Geographic 1999), was cited by the Los Angeles Times for its “scholarly command of Cuba’s history." She spent her childhood and early teenage years in Cuba.