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International Connections in Pittsburgh
Updated: 6 weeks 1 day ago

GlobalPittsburgh Hosts Group of College Students from Mexico to Learn About STEM Programs, Career Paths

Mon, 2015-06-29 12:35
GlobalPittsburgh hosted a group of 24 college students from Mexico for the first leg of a two-week training program covering careers and education opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The group arrived in Pittsburgh on June 28 and departed on July 5 for the second week of the program in Albany, NY.

The group came to Pittsburgh through Global Ties U.S., the national citizen diplomacy organization of which GlobalPittsburgh is a member, as part of a new program called Mexico Meet America in partnership with the University of Guadalajara, the second largest public university in Mexico.

GlobalPittsburgh arranged for the students to meet with representatives of area companies and universities, and also to participate in customized training sessions on job search skills, leadership and career planning.

Under a newly-signed memorandum of understanding between Global Ties U.S. and the University of Guadalajara, three groups of students came to the United States to visit cities based on their professional interests. In addition to the STEM group in Pittsburgh and Albany, another group focusing on international trade will visit Tucson, AZ, and San Diego, CA, and a third group studying entrepreneurship and innovation will visit Atlanta, GA, and Raleigh, NC.

The Mexico Meet America program is designed to ensure that the Guadalajara students gain a once-in-a-lifetime introduction to leaders in their field of interest, as well as improve their English language skills and develop global proficiencies, according to Jennifer Clinton, President of Global Ties, U.S.

“A lot of hard work and negotiation brought us here – and I'm convinced we will post more such positive announcements in the future involving Global Ties U.S. and Mexico,” Clinton said.

Training sessions and activities arranged by GlobalPittsburgh included an orientation to American politics and culture by Dr. Scott Morgenstern, Director of the Center of Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh; a session on leadership and career planning with Benjamin L. Walker of ExperiLearn LLC; a site visit at Bombardier Transportation; a site visit at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science; an interactive workshop on informational interviews and networking skills presented by Rachel Mauer, President of The Mauer Group and Senior Advisor at Business Beyond Borders; a tour of Global Links followed by a volunteer activity sorting medical supplies for the organization; a workshop on how to get into a U.S. university graduate STEM programs presented by representatives of the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University; and a workshop focusing on analyzing opportunities and job searching resources.

Home hospitality dinners with local GlobalPittsburgh host member families allowed the students to experience American family life. They also will take part in several cultural and community activities, including a tour of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens; a visit to Carnegie Science Center, a walking tour of Oakland and a pickup soccer game.

For over 50 years, Global Ties U.S. has been providing its members—from large, national organizations to smaller, community-based ones across 45 states and 13 countries—with connections, leadership development, and professional resources, so that they are the strongest, most effective organizations they can be. For more information on Global Ties U.S., visit

GlobalPittsburgh, which was founded in 1959 as the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors (PCIV), boosts international connections in the Pittsburgh Region and around the world through three main programs:
- Coordinating activities and events for globally-minded members.
- Hosting delegations of international leaders for the U.S State Department.
- Attracting international students to the region through its Study Pittsburgh initiative.

For more information on GlobalPittsburgh, visit

GlobalPittsburgh Hosts Delegation of Environmental Professionals from Kazakhstan Studying Green Technologies and Innovation

Mon, 2015-06-08 12:26
GlobalPittsburgh hosted a group of environmental professionals from Kazakhstan who have come to study green technologies and innovation in the Pittsburgh region. The five Kazakh leaders were in Pittsburgh June 5-14.

The group came to Pittsburgh through the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, which enables emerging Eurasian political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at the local level. Their program was titled “Accountable Governance: Green Technologies & Innovation.”

GlobalPittsburgh arranged for the delegates to meet with their professional counterparts working on a variety of environmental issues in the region, learn about U.S. federal, regional, and local government initiatives that undertake environmental cleanup and promote environmentally friendly best practices, and learned about cooperative efforts involving nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and the general public.

The delegates, who include officials from the public and private sectors, shared with their U.S. counterparts environmental initiatives in Kazakhstan aimed at promoting waste management, alternative energy, cleaning up chemical and industrial waste, and how they’re dealing with environmental challenges and climate change.

The program is expected to lead to new collaborations between Pittsburgh organizations and organizations in Kazakhstan to help protect people’s health and the environment, and benefit the economies of the United States and Kazakhstan, according to Gail Shrott, Director of GlobalPittsburgh’s International Leaders Program.

“GlobalPittsburgh is pleased to have the opportunity to introduce our distinguished visitors from Kazakhstan to their peers in Pittsburgh and hope that some ongoing linkages may be formed as a result of this Open World training session,” Shrott said.

In Pittsburgh, the delegation met with Jordan Ball, Regional Representative in the Office of U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr.; Thomas Bartnik, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Green Innovators; Ron Schwartz, Assistant Regional Director in the Southwest Regional Office of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Ned Eldridge, President & CEO of eLoop LLC; Mr. Justin Stockdale, Western Regional Director, Pennsylvania Resource Council; Dave Brown, Manager of Wastewater Education, and Bob Stimmler, Training & Development, Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (Alcosan); Mike Gable, Executive Director, Construction Junction; Dr. Peter Adams, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Engineering and Public Policy, and Dr. Kelly Klima, Research Scientist, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University; Rick Smitsky, Sr., District Manager, Waste Management, Inc., including a tour of the Arden Landfill; Dr. John Stolz, Director, Center for Environmental Research and Education, Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Duquesne University; Myrna Newman, Executive Director, and Joe Davick, Assistant Executive Director and DumpBuster Director, Allegheny Cleanways; and Indigo Raffel, Education Coordinator, Conservation Consultants, Inc.

Homestays with local GlobalPittsburgh host member families also allowed the delegates to experience American family life. They also took take part in several cultural and community activities, including a tour of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens; a walking tour of the city and an outdoor concert at the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress designed to build mutual understanding between the United States and Eurasia. Over 16,000 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 states since the program’s inception in 1999. Delegates range from members of parliament to mayors, from innovative nonprofit directors to experienced journalists, and from political party activists to regional administrators.

The visiting delegates were Ms. Aigul Orakovna Kusainova, Specialist, Climate Change Coordination Center; Mr. Aidar Kenesbekuly Makhambet, Deputy General Director, “Zhasyl Damu” (Green Development) JSC; Ms. Mariyam Serikovna Abisheva, Chairperson of the Board, Kazakhstan Innovations Co.; Mr. Roman Vadimovich Mukhin, Executive Director, LLP PromTechnoResource KZ; Ms. Ainel Beysengazyyevna Rymbayeva, Head of the Department of Environmental Information and Analysis, Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan; Mr. Aidar Kenesbekuly Makhambet, Deputy General Director, “Zhasyl Damu” (Green Development) JSC; and Ms. Yulia Beloslyudtseva, Program Manager, Institute for National and International Development Initiatives and Facilitator for Open World.

GlobalPittsburgh, which was founded in 1959 as the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors (PCIV), boosts international connections in the Pittsburgh Region and around the world through three main programs:
- Coordinating activities and events for globally-minded members.
- Hosting delegations of international leaders for the U.S State Department.
- Attracting international students to the region through its Study Pittsburgh initiative.

For more information on GlobalPittsburgh, visit For more information on Open World, visit

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Kicks Off Immigrant Heritage Month with Historic Ceremony and Launch of Welcoming Pittsburgh Plan

Mon, 2015-06-01 16:37

Plan Identifies Community-Led Recommendations to Build a More Welcoming Experience for Immigrants and a More Livable City for All

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto today hosted the first-ever naturalization ceremony in Pittsburgh City Council Chambers, in partnership with City Council President Bruce Kraus and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez, followed by the release of the Welcoming Pittsburgh Plan, a community-driven roadmap to build a more welcoming experience for Pittsburgh’s immigrant community and a more livable city for all residents. A snapshot of the plan is available at The complete plan will be available online on June 15th.

“Our best attraction strategy is how we treat, empower, and connect with our current residents, which is why I am calling today for all Pittsburghers to join me in making Pittsburgh a model city for immigrant integration. A city others will look to and see thriving diverse neighborhoods where, whether you are a second generation Italian-American, African-American, Bhutanese refugee, or Latino, you welcome your neighbor because you understand that their success is your success,” Peduto said.

Shaped with the guidance of a diverse 40-member advisory council and engaging more than 3,000 community members through multiple community meetings, focus groups, individual interviews, and public surveys, the plan is grouped into three focus areas.
  • Welcome, Neighbor!: Building vibrant neighborhoods through the creation of civic engagement, educational advancement, and cultural exchange opportunities.
  • Bridge to the City: Improving access to government and services to be inclusive, and ensuring our City spaces are more welcoming by taking into account distinct cultural and language needs.
  • Prospering Together: Creating a ladder of opportunity for our neighbors to thrive and chart their own path in Pittsburgh – building on the strengths immigrants have historically brought to our city and continue to bring.
View a downloadable snapshot of the plan (PDF) at
The release of the Welcoming Pittsburgh Plan was coordinated in conjunction with a special visit from USCIS Director Rodríguez, who co-chaired President Barack Obama’s White House Task Force on New Americans and was in attendance for the first naturalization ceremony hosted by the City. Nearly 30 community members were joined by families and friends as they became citizens.

"It is great to be back in Pittsburgh to welcome these new Americans and mark the release of Mayor Peduto’s immigrant integration plan,” said USCIS Director Rodríguez. “It is exciting to see communities across the country taking a leadership role to be at the forefront of immigrant integration efforts."

The Welcoming Pittsburgh Plan enumerates actionable strategies, specifies a timeline for implementation, and identifies preliminary partners. The City seeks to work with vital community institutions and neighborhood assets, such as the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, and many others, as well as the community at large, on implementation. Short term items in the plan include piloting Welcoming Hubs at target Citiparks community centers to foster a sense of place and offer community-driven, culturally diverse programming; partnering with business and civic leaders to match executives with rising stars from our immigrant and minority communities; and launching a Municipal ID program to increase the accessibility of public services, cultural amenities, and local resources for all Pittsburghers.

“The Welcoming Pittsburgh Plan is a living document that will allow Mayor Peduto to be responsive to continuous community feedback,” said Kheir Mugwaneza, director of refugee resettlement at Northern Area Multi Service Center (NAMS), who served on the Welcoming Pittsburgh Advisory Council and will support the efforts as an appointee on one of the Mayor’s Action Teams for the initiative.

The Welcoming Pittsburgh planning process included a range of opportunities for all who live, work, or play in the city to provide feedback. Multiple channels of direct community input engaged thousands of participants, including use of a public MindMixer website, five public meetings that attracted over 300 attendees, outreach at 14 community events, and two immigrant community listening sessions.

The survey will remain open throughout the year, serving as a feedback loop for the Mayor’s Office. The survey is available in five languages on

In addition to the new Americans, Mayor Peduto, Director Rodríguez, and City Council President Bruce Kraus, attendees at today’s ceremony included: Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Commonwealth Melissa Frey, City Council Members, and Welcoming Pittsburgh Advisory Council. Additional ceremonies will be scheduled in City Council Chamber throughout the year.
For more information on Welcoming Pittsburgh, visit, follow @WelcomingPGH on Twitter or on Facebook.

Source: City of Pittsburgh

Zipcar Waives Sign-Up Fee for GlobalPittsburgh Members; Offers Discounts on Annual Fees & Hourly Rates. Another Reason to Join GlobalPittsburgh Today!

Wed, 2015-05-27 12:50
Zipcar is waiving its sign-up fee for GlobalPittsburgh members and offering discounted hourly rates for Zipcar's shared vehicle service. Use a Zipcar for offsite business trips or personal errands anytime you want. Zipcar operates in Pittsburgh and dozens of cities across North America. Your Zipcar membership is also good in Canada, Austria, France, Spain, United Kingdom and Turkey!

·         No Application Fee (normally $25)
·         Discounted Annual Fee (just $35 a year, normally $70)
Discounted Hourly Rate:  Starting at $9.75 (normally $11.75)
Business Day Rate (7am-7pm):  $59
24-Hour Day Rate:  $69
Overnight promotion: Monday through Thursday 6:00pm to 8:30am: $29

All rates include gas, insurance, and 180 miles/day ($0.45/mile thereafter) for a $35 annual membership fee. These special rates cover all vehicles except BMWs, cargo vans, and Cadillacs. Weekend rates vary depending on length of reservation.

This offer is available to paid members of GlobalPittsburgh, including hosts. If you're already a member of GlobalPittsburgh, or have any questions, please contact Nadya Kessler at 412-392-4513 or at

If you're not a GlobalPittsburgh member, you can also call Nadya at the number above to register by phone, and she can give you details of how to get the Zipcar membership and discounts. Membership in GlobalPittsburgh costs $50 per year for individuals, families and graduate students, and $40 per year for undergraduate students. CLICK HERE to sign up online.

To Sign Up for Zipcar:
Go to the Zipcar website using this link:

If you  have any questions or problems related to your Zipcar account, contact Zipcar’s Richard Shelley directly at 412-288-2563 ext. 20505 or, and he can apply the free set-up promotion. Sign up takes about 5 minutes. You’ll need your driver’s license and credit or debit card. After you are approved, your Zipcard will arrive at your billing address in 5-7 days. You can also pick-up your Zipcard at the local Pittsburgh office at 429 Forbes Ave suite 110 Pittsburgh PA 15219.

How it Works:
Once you’ve received your Zipcard in the mail, simply make a reservation online and use your Zipcard to access the reserved vehicle.  Invoices are online and updated after each reservation (click on “my stuff” then “my bill” to view your invoice).  Your company or personal credit card will be charged after the end of each reservation.

Already a Zipcar member?  Call or email Richard Shelley at 412-288-2563 ext. 20505 or and your account can be upgraded to reflect the GlobalPittsburgh discounts.

International drivers can take their driver's license test using a Zipcar. For more information, go to
If you have a driver's license issued outside of the US or Canada, you will need to provide the following documents after you have registered for Zipcar (see above):
1.     Completed "Driving and Accident Declaration" which can be downloaded at
2.     A copy of your driver’s license
3.     A copy of the photo page of your passport
Please email your documents to to ensure the timely processing of your Zipcar application.

Long-Time GlobalPittsburgh Supporter Herbert Soltman Honored for Many Years of Volunteer Service by Global Ties U.S.

Tue, 2015-05-05 18:39
Long-time GlobalPittsburgh supporter Herbert Soltman has been honored for his many years of volunteer service by Global Ties U.S., the national citizen diplomacy organization of which GlobalPittsburgh (formerly Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors) is a charter member.

As a volunteer for more than 50 years, Soltman has hosted an estimated 400 international exchange participants from over 70 countries for dinner and other activities, such as attending Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games.

Soltman, who was described as "the embodiment of a community champion and citizen diplomat" by Gail Shrott, Director of GlobalPittsburgh's International Leaders Program, received the 2015 Lorinne Emery Award for Volunteer Service from Global Ties U.S. at a ceremony May 1 in Washington, D.C.

Herb Soltman receives his
award for volunteer service
in Washington, D.C.The Lorinne Emery Award for Volunteer Service is given to recognize a Global Ties U.S. community-based organization volunteer who demonstrates exemplary dedication to citizen diplomacy as well as outstanding volunteer spirit.

"When Herb and his family became hospitality hosts in 1962, he filled his dining room with laughter and lively discussions whenever he brought together international guests and local friends," Shrott wrote in her nomination letter. "To this day, he can vividly describe his family's first international dinner guest."

It is loyal volunteers like Herb Soltman who enable GlobalPittsburgh to carry out its work connecting the Pittsburgh region with the world, said GlobalPittsburgh Board Chair John Hindman.

"We are eternally grateful to Herb for the determination and true Pittsburgh spirit that he has brought to his work and to this organization," Hindman said. "It is impossible to measure the value of the good deeds he has done and the positive impact he has made."

Global Ties U.S. President Jennifer Clinton, Ph.D., called Soltman a “consummate citizen diplomat.”

“The one-on-one connections he has made throughout his service as a volunteer have shattered stereotypes and helped build the relationships that lead us to a more peaceful and prosperous world,” she said. “It is thanks to individuals like Herb, who selflessly donate their time, talent, and treasure, that we are able to welcome visitors to our communities and show them who Americans truly are.”

When Soltman retired in 2003, he accelerated his efforts to make international visitors feel welcome in Pittsburgh. For the next decade, he devoted 15-20 hours per month welcoming international guests at the airport and providing personalized tours of Pittsburgh.

Two incidents in particular underscore his exceptional efforts on behalf of our organization. In October 2003, he worked tirelessly to ensure that Milica Kadic Akovic, a participant in the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) from the University of Montenegro, received much-needed medical attention after he realized that she was in acute pain after he drove her to a professional meeting.

Soltman stayed with the visitor and her interpreter from morning until evening, driving her to a hospital for treatment and to secure medications and prescribed supplies. His act of kindness will forever have a positive effect on Ms. Akovic's view of Americans.

Additionally, in 2009, when Japanese IVLP participant Masahide Tanaka suffered minor injuries at a Pittsburgh Pirates ballgame attempting to catch a baseball hit by Chicago Cubs' player Kosuke Fukudome, also from Japan, Soltman saved the day.

He leveraged his baseball contacts to secure a ball signed by Fukudome from a scout for the Cubs. That ball was shipped to Mr. Tanaka in Japan. Soltman successfully transformed a disagreeable experience into a treasured memory of the kindness of an American volunteer.

Global Ties U.S. is a network of over 100 nonprofit organizations across 44 states and 13 countries that connect leaders in U.S. communities with leaders from all around the world. Together these organizations help shape U.S. foreign relations by opening avenues for increased understanding and greater cooperation, security and prosperity. Learn more at

GlobalPittsburgh International Barbecue Coming June 20 at Bayardstown Social Club, Celebrating Shared Culture of Grilled Foods Around the World. Win Airline Tickets!

Tue, 2015-05-05 16:33
Every culture enjoys a tradition of grilling foods, usually meats, over an open fire, often at a time of celebration or fellowship. And while these traditions may have different names and different twists in Asian, African, Middle Eastern, European, Latin and certainly American cultures, the concept is the same, and it has come to be known as barbecue.

The first ever GlobalPittsburgh International Barbecue will be held Saturday, June 20, 2015 at Bayardstown Social Club in the Strip District, bringing together people who enjoy eating these grilled foods with the people and cultures who prepare them in a way that will recognize, celebrate and enlighten the entire community about this shared experience.

The goal of the event is to highlight and celebrate the common themes that unite people who may come from different countries or speak different languages but who share this common experience in a way that encourages cultural awareness and understanding, diversity and inclusion, and ultimately acceptance and embracing of those different from ourselves.

Attendees will be able to sample grilled foods provided by vendors and food trucks. In addition, everyone attending will be automatically entered in a drawing for two round-trip tickets to Europe or throughout North America on Delta Airlines, as well as for other great prizes.

Tickets, which include coupons for food samples, are $30 for current paid GlobalPittsburgh members, $40 for non-members, and $10 for children ages 5-10. Admission is free for children 4 and under. Prices go up after June 1. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets now.

Six sampling passes to six different food vendors representing international barbecue for adults and two sampling passes for children 5-12. Smaller children will not be getting sampling passes with their free admission but their parents could certainly share their grilled foods. Additional sampling passes will be available to purchase at the event.

The event will be held in an outdoor space that can accommodate 200-250 people, food vendors, food trucks, a safe area for grilling, bands and DJs, craft vendors and cultural performances.

For more information, please contact Nadya Kessler at 412-392-4513 or

Volunteers Needed to Help Plan Navigating Pittsburgh Event in November

Tue, 2015-04-28 09:28
The Latin American Cultural Union and Casa San José have partnered to hold the 1st Annual Navigating Pittsburgh Summit in November 2015. 
Navigating Pittsburgh is an event that will guide immigrants, as well as other newcomers in our region, to successfully navigate local systems and resources in Pittsburgh – through workshops on topics ranging from cultural aspects of American life to specific legal rights, from political participation to job opportunities and affordable education; all in one day, at one location. The expected outcome is to provide immigrants and newcomers with the necessary tools and skills to overcome the challenges of moving into a new culture and city. At the same time, it will re-energize those who have been in Pittsburgh for a while.
The agenda and speakers will be focused in five different pillars:
1. Civic Knowledge (rights, visas, government involvement, advocacy, etc)2. Education (k-12 education system, college, institutes, GED, ESL, etc)3. Financial Capability (banking, job hunting, business, savings)4. Health and Wellness (health/life insurance, prevention, mental health, obesity, nutrition, etc)5. Community Engagement (preserving and promoting culture, volunteering, community events )
LACU has received a grant from Vibrant Pittsburgh and Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to arrange for five buses to transport people to the event location and for onsite childcare.
Navigating Pittsburgh organizers are looking for a group of dynamic, committed, self-motivated, responsible and action-driven volunteers to help with the planning and development of the Navigating Pittsburgh event. Up to five to seven hours a week will be needed; meetings after 4pm during the week when needed, or usually conference calls. Tasks will range from social media and email writing, to coordinating catering to finding sponsors. Click this link to fill out a brief form if you are interested in helping out:
If you know someone who can represent your organization and help in the working group, please forward them this information.

Music Lineup Announced for Pittsburgh Three Rivers Arts Festival June 5-14

Tue, 2015-03-31 23:25
Three Rivers Arts Festival 2015 Headline Music Line-UpAll shows are free and open to the public, live on the Dollar Bank Stage, in Pittsburgh’s beautiful and historic Point State Park. No tickets are required. Learn more.

Jenny Lewis | Friday, June 5
Railroad Earth + Elephant Revival | Saturday, June 6
Bluegrass Day supported by Colcom Foundation
Alvvays | Sunday, June 7
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in concert with Pittsburgh Opera | Monday, June 8
The Felice Brothers + Hurray for the Riff Raff | Tuesday, June 9
 Milo Greene | Wednesday, June 10
Rhiannon Giddens | Thursday, June 11
Richard Thompson | Friday, June 12
Neko Case | Saturday, June 13
Benjamin Booker | Sunday, June 14