When Cuban leader Fidel Castro talked, Dr. Roy Allen listened … and vice versa.

Allen, Dean of Economics and Business Administration at Saint Mary's College of California, went to the Caribbean nation in late April as part of an Oakland delegation that met with government officials and provided much-needed medical supplies to the disabled community in Cuba.

"We had the chance to meet with him (Castro) and several high-ranking state officials. My (one-on-one) discussion with Fidel lasted a few minutes. He emphasized the serious challenges with the Cuban economy and the progress that is being made despite the impact of the 40 year U.S. blockade on his country. As time permitted, I gave him some of my perceptions of the American economy."

Congress member Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, headed the delegation that consisted of 33 persons including former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris and Oakland City Councilmember Henry Chang. The trip lasted seven days. The contingent toured Havana as well as outlying villages and talked to many Cuban citizens. Allen was one of just a few educators making the journey. He had the unexpected pleasure of meeting former Saint Mary's Business Club President Daniel Otter '82 who was in Cuba on a similar mission with a group from Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Allen, an Oakland resident, has been Dean of Saint Mary's School of Economics and Business Administration since 2001. The School encompasses both undergraduate and graduate studies. Graduate curricula are offered at the Moraga campus, at San Ramon in Contra Costa County and in the South San Francisco Bay region.

The Dean is a respected authority on international business and authored "Financial Crises and Recession in the Global Economy" (Edward Elgar Publishing 1999). The School of Economics and Business Administration recently sponsored a successful on-campus conference on the State of the Economy.

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