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The Howard Baker Forum to Launch The Cuba Consortium

Senators Nancy Kassebaum and Tom Daschle to Co-Chair Advisory Board

(Washington, D.C. / July 13, 2015) The Howard Baker Forum is launching The Cuba Consortium, a member-based group of organizations and individuals interested in U.S.-Cuba normalization.

The Consortium will be guided by an Advisory Board co-chaired by former U.S. Senators Nancy Kassebaum and Tom Daschle. Among the distinguished leaders who will serve on the Advisory Board are Sheila Burke, Senator Byron Dorgan, Rodney Ferguson, Senator Bill Frist, Dr. Helene Gayle, Senator Bob Kerrey, and Thomas Ross.

"Business leaders around the country are interested in the prospect of engaging with Cuba, but need to know more," explained Senator Kassebaum. "The normalization process may be contentious, but The Cuba Consortium can bring diverse parties to the table, provide the latest information and analysis, and work toward a sound consensus. This is exactly the role my husband envisioned when he founded The Howard Baker Forum."

According to Senator Daschle, founder and chairman of The Daschle Group, A Public Policy Advisory of Baker Donelson, "The normalization of relations with Cuba will require robust and thoughtful engagement by all parties. The Cuba Consortium will serve as a bridge spanning opposing views and providing a platform for careful reconsideration of our Cuba policy."

The Cuba Consortium will consist of companies, non-profit organizations, investors, and entrepreneurs organized to track and examine the normalization process between the U.S. and Cuba, and to inform and prepare members for opportunities to engage Cuba. The Consortium will also include foreign policy, political, economic, international development, legal, and cultural experts who have specialized knowledge regarding the diplomacy, politics, and economics of Cuba and the normalization process.

Scott Campbell, President of the Howard Baker Forum, said, "The Howard Baker Forum is establishing The Cuba Consortium to inform its members as the process of normalization unfolds. Our vision for The Cuba Consortium is that it will provide a platform for objective analysis of the concerns and demands of both governments and a thoughtful evaluation of the pathways to normalization through reform, commerce, and investment."

The Cuba Consortium will hold its inaugural partners meeting in Washington, D.C. in the fall, and will present its first annual Washington conference in early 2016. The Consortium will then host a series of regional roundtables focused on key sectors such as tourism and hospitality, fine and performing arts, agriculture, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and IT, telecommunications, and infrastructure. These expert industry workshops will engage, inform, and assist Americans interested in investing and doing business in Cuba.

The Howard Baker Forum, a public and international affairs affiliate of Baker Donelson, was founded by the late Senator Howard Baker to examine critical issues affecting the nation's domestic progress and relations abroad. The Forum organizes a variety of programs and research projects to highlight and analyze public policy challenges facing the nation today.

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