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    US and Cuban flags are seen on the balcony of a restaurant in downtown Havana, Cuba March 19, 2016.

    American Ballet Dancer Misty Copeland to Visit Cuba as Sports, Cultural Envoy

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    US Principal Ballet Dancer Misty Copeland will visit Cuba next week in the capacity of sports and cultural ambassador, the US State Department announced in a release on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Misty Copeland will serve as a US Department of State Sports and Cultural Envoy to Cuba November 14-18, 2016, according to the release.

    During her trip to Cuba, Copeland will engage with premier Cuban cultural institutions and will visit dance clinics for youth.

    "She will tell her unique personal story to emphasize how diversity of race, ethnicity, geography, gender, and experience contributes to the fabric of the United States,” the release said. "Copeland will address how young people should focus on health and wellness over body image."

    In December 2014, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would begin to normalize relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of non-engagement and hostilities. While the two countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals in July 2015, the congressionally-mandated US trade embargo continues to remain in effect.

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