MIAMI, Jan. 18, 2023 – Miami Dade College (MDC) is pleased to announce the appointment of María Carla Chicuén as the new Executive Director of Cultural Affairs. Chicuén brings over a decade of experience in higher education, cultural programming and international development to this role, having worked across the U.S., Europe and Latin America. She joins MDC as the College prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Miami Film Festival and the Miami Book Fair, as well as the Centennial of the Freedom Tower.
“We are thrilled to welcome María Carla Chicuén back to Miami Dade College as our new Executive Director for Cultural Affairs,” said Dr. Maryam Laguna Borrego, Vice President for External Affairs & Strategy and Chief of Staff. María Carla has enormous passion for arts and culture, a deep commitment to our community and strong leadership skills, making her an excellent choice to lead our cultural affairs department at this pivotal time.”
As Executive Director of Cultural Affairs, Chicuén will be responsible for providing leadership and operational oversight for the College’s acclaimed cultural programs, including the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, Freedom Tower, Museum of Art & Design, Koubek Center and Live Arts. She will also work to expand collaborations with partners throughout the community and beyond, while representing the College as an ambassador for cultural affairs and policy in national and international forums. Chicuén previously served as founding Executive Director of CasaCuba at Florida International University (FIU).
“I am excited to join MDC’s Cultural Affairs team and be part of many cherished programs that have played a key role in building the rich culture of Miami,” said Chicuén. “I look forward to working closely with MDC’s talented faculty, staff and students, as well as stellar community partners, to advance meaningful cultural experiences for all.”
Chicuén brings technical expertise in cultural affairs in the higher education sector, and extensive experience in the development of strategic collaborations with notable organizations. She has a successful fundraising track record, as well as proven ability to inspire teams and early-stage ventures to become high-performing operations that deliver a positive impact in the broader community. In her previous role at CasaCuba, she helped secure more than $16 million in numerous awards from private, corporate, and government sources, including distinguished grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Florida Division of Arts and Culture and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. She also served as a member of advisory and evaluation committees for NEH, The National Museum of the American Indian, The Smithsonian Latino Center and The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services. During her initial tenure at MDC, she focused on implementing high-level initiatives that aligned with institutional priorities.
Chicuén holds a Master of Science in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in history and a certificate in Latin American Studies from Harvard University. Upon graduation, she launched her professional career as an Education Consultant for the World Bank in Washington D.C., followed by her tenure as an Organizational Management and Strategy Development Consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank in Central America.
She is the author of the book “Achieve the College Dream” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). As an advocate for education access, she has been a frequent speaker and regular media contributor on the topic for national and international outlets. She has been actively involved in multiple civic and community organizations, including the Leadership Miami program of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers. In addition, she is a current Term Member of the Council of Foreign Relations.