Oct 042017
 October 4, 2017

In January 2018, thirteen members of The Kenan Institute for Ethics’s Global Citizenship and Ethics Living/Learning Community (LLC) spent six days in Puerto Rico. The purpose of the trip was to examine health justice and hurricane recovery. While they attempted to fully immerse themselves in the Puerto Rican experience, it became clear to them that their initial focus was far too narrow; stories of health access were intertwined with concerns about grid stability and U.S. law. Upon returning, LLC students decided to share the complex web they encountered with the Duke and Durham communities. This panel will address the wide-ranging impacts of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, the many barriers to recovery, and the question of who carries the burden of rebuilding.


Joseph Blocher returned to his hometown of Durham to join the Duke Law faculty in 2009, and received the law school’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2012. Before coming to Duke, he clerked for Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. His principal academic interests include federal and state constitutional law, the First and Second Amendments, capital punishment, and property. Along with fellow Duke Law professor Mitu Gulati, he is the author of the forthcoming article in the Yale Journal of International Law, Expulsion, Statehood, and the Future of Puerto Rico.

Richard Cuebas is Managing Principal of Integra Architecture PLLC, of Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been involved in the design and construction businesses in Puerto Rico since 1997 and North Carolina since 2015. Richard is a LEED Accredited Professional and member of the US Green Building Council and in 2010 served as a sustainability coach for the Puerto Rico Green Jobs Program, a government effort to train employees in sustainability practices. He is past-president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Puerto Rico Chapter. He also served in the Board of Directors of ACE Mentors in Puerto Rico. Richard obtained a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the University of Puerto Rico and a Masters degree in Architecture from Arizona State University. He is a licensed architect in Puerto Rico, Florida and the Carolinas.

Mitu Gulati is a professor of law at Duke University. His research interests are currently the historic evolution of concepts of sovereign immunity and the role that law can play as a symbol. He has authored articles in the Journal of Legal Studies, the Review of Finance, and Law and Social Inquiry. He has won no awards, other than a second place finish in the fancy dress competition in 3rd grade (photo not available). He is also the author, with his colleague Joseph Blocher, of a forthcoming article in the Yale Journal of International Law on the possibility of self-determination for the people of Puerto Rico.

Dr. Edgardo Ramon Parrilla Castellar is is a leading breast cancer diagnostician at Duke’s Department of Pathology and is Associate Medical Director of Duke’s Clinical Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory. His current research efforts focus on innovative, non-invasive approaches for the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, with ultimate goal of distinguishing biologically aggressive tumors for targeted chemo-/immunotherapy. Dr. Parrilla Castellar received his MD from University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, and returned to his native Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to lead First Medical Relief for Puerto Rico, an independent group of medical professionals.

Wed., April 4th, 7:00 pm

Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (West Duke 101)

Free and open to the public. Free parking. Reception to follow.

This event is sponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Global Citizenship and Ethics Living/Learning Community.

It is co-sponsored by Mi Gente, Duke University’s Latinx Student Association.