Department of Global Development Studies

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Cuban Culture and Society course instructor Olguita Rodríquez Pedroso - A Memorial


Olguita Rodríquez Pedroso (Photo submitted by Karen Dubinsky)

Olga (Olguita) Rodríquez Pedroso was a teacher.  A historian who taught at the University of Havana for most of her life, she began her career as a volunteer literacy teacher in rural Cuba in 1961.  She never stopped teaching.  She was a popular member of the Havana teaching team for the Queen’s University Cuban Culture and Society course.  She, along with her beloved sister Ines, and colleague Ramon Torriera, spoke annually to Queen's students about their experiences teaching literacy. She kept them spellbound.   It’s hard to find a photo of Olguita in the classroom on her own when we were there, because our students always wanted to be photographed with her.   

 She also received her Canadian friends, students, and colleagues regularly at the house in Cerro she shared with her sister Ines and her husband Jorge, who preceded her in 2018.  Olguita was a spectacular cook.  And just as important, she understood that friendships, teaching moments and even university exchange agreements were enriched by good food and good company. When Queen’s University and the University of Havana renewed their exchange agreement in May, 2018, the class was accompanied by two senior Queen’s administrators.  Olguita started planning the menu for the meal in December 2017.  When we told her that December that one of our party was a vegetarian, she said, “don’t worry, I’ll start growing the vegetables now.”   We thank her for her commitment to students and for her friendship. 


Ines Rodríquez, Olguita, Queen’s student Bushra Afreen, Ramon Torriera (Photo submitted by Karen Dubinsky)