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Dixie Olmstead has been leading WFP delegations to Cuba since 2003 when her daughter Julia worked with WFP as an international team member and translator in Havana.  Since then she has led 10 more delegations to Cuba and two to Mexico.


Her love for Latin America began with a trip with college friends to Mexico which led to a BA in Spanish. After a year teaching Spanish in a Flint, Michigan high school, Dixie and her husband Jim went to Brazil for a two- year term with the Peace Corps.  There they worked with fishing cooperatives, credit unions and rural extension agents.  Upon return to Michigan, Dixie earned an M.A. in ESL education and she and Jim moved to Minnesota.  She taught in the Minneapolis Public Schools for 27 years teaching ESL and Spanish and winding up her career as the coordinator of Wellstone International High School in Minneapolis, the district’s high school for older immigrants ages 15-21.

Initial delegations that Dixie led focused on Cuban education, its challenges and successes in literacy, arts, medicine and social services.  More recently her delegations have visited organic farms, gardens, and markets as Cuba continues to adapt to the effects of the US embargo. Mixed with primary, secondary, university and specialized arts and music schools are in depth discussions with Cuban journalists, economists, politicians, and everyday people. 

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