Published: Jan 10, 2012 4:55 PM EST

MIAMI (AP) - South Florida students will gather this month to kick off a national college tour promoting innovative ways to connect with and empower youth in Cuba.
    
The nonprofit Roots of Hope will begin its "Avenida Cuba" tour at Miami Dade College, Friday Jan. 27. It is the first of Roots' campaign across ten eastern seaboard colleges and universities.
    
The event will feature interaction with Cuban artists and telephone conversations with youth on the island. Academics and community leaders will also participate in panel discussions on the island's conditions and opportunities for exchange.
    
The Miami conference comes just days before Florida's Republican presidential primary, in which many Cuban-Americans are likely to vote. Older Cuban-Americans tend to be more wary of such exchanges, while younger voters are more likely to support them.

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