Over 60 years of handshakes

Our mission is to forge cultural, educational, and business relationships between the Greater Pittsburgh Region and the global community through citizen diplomacy.

What is Citizen Diplomacy?

Citizen diplomacy is the concept that an individual has the right, even the responsibility, to help shape U.S. foreign relations “one handshake at a time.” Everyday, people can bring countries and cultures together, contribute to peace and stability to the world, and connect us all as a global community. GlobalPittsburgh's programming encapsulates this idea by facilitating such dialogues right here in Pittsburgh which enriches both local and global communities.

Each professional meeting, homestay, and event organized by GlobalPittsburgh allows an exchange of ideas and perspectives, making citizen diplomats out of everyone involved.

Our History

GlobalPittsburgh was founded in 1959, then as the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors (PCIV), in response to the rise in U.S. support for international programs post-WWII.

In 1961, the U.S. Department of State declared PCIV as the designated regional liaison for its International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), launching one of the organization's most fruitful partnerships continuing through today.

Other professional programs for international leaders visiting Pittsburgh that GP has managed over the years include the Congressional Office for International Leadership's Open World program, Fulbright, Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI), Young Leaders of the Americas (YLAI), Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), Saudi Young Leaders Exchange Program (SYLEP), Business for Russia, the Professional Fellows Program, and Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

In addition to international professional exchanges, GP has also focused on community-building initiatives such as their Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards Ceremony, and homestays and home hospitality for international students and professionals. In 2009, PCIV changed their name to GlobalPittsburgh and is operating with this name today.
Read More

Leadership

Nadya Kessler

Director
nkessler@globalpittsburgh.org

Nadya's career spans more than 15 years in international education, language interpreting, and professional exchanges in the nonprofit sector. She has managed numerous short and long-term programs and built strong partnerships with local, national, and international stakeholders. She works closely with the U.S. Department of State on its premier professional exchange program, the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Before relocating to the U.S., Nadya worked as an attorney for large transportation entities in Astrakhan, Russia. She holds an MPA from Clark University, Massachusetts, and a law degree from Astrakhan State University, Russia. She also received certification in UX Design and Voice User Interface Design and is fluent in English and Russian.

Board of Directors

Mike Matesic

Mike Matesic

President & CEO

Idea Foundry

Mike Matesic is a lifelong Pittsburgh resident who has seen the area transition from its industrial heritage to a region with global attractiveness. In his role at Idea Foundry, he has welcomed and hosted international delegations from all over the world and carries the Pittsburgh story abroad. He knows firsthand of the value of citizen diplomacy from Chile to China. The alignment of citizen diplomacy, GlobalPittsburgh's mission, with Idea Foundry's economic development efforts creates an opportunity to bring the world to Pittsburgh and take business from Pittsburgh to the world.
Susanna Bagdasarova

Susanna Bagdasarova

Attorney at Law

Babst Calland

As an immigrant to the United States, Susanna learned to navigate two cultures at a young age and knows first-hand the importance of developing relationships and forging ties across cultural and national borders. She considers it a privilege to serve and further GlobalPittsburgh’s mission of citizen diplomacy in an ever more connected world.
Kati  Csoman

Kati Csoman

Director, Nationality Rooms & Intercultural Exchange Programs

University of Pittsburgh

Kati’s career in global affairs began as a United States Department of State fellow in the American Embassy in Budapest, Hungary. Kati’s work in international education administration spans over thirty years, including various roles at the University Center for International Studies at Pitt, at Penn State Global, and as dean of international education at Juniata College.
Nehal Bhojak

Nehal Bhojak

President & CEO

Lumis

Nehal has deep roots in the region’s innovation ecosystem and brings over 23 years of experience in business, early-stage investment, and healthcare innovation. As a first-generation immigrant who moved to Pittsburgh in early 2000, she has seen the region grow from strength to strength and is excited to help showcase these to a more global audience through her role on the Board of Directors at Global Pittsburgh.
Derek Dawson

Derek Dawson

Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives

VisitPittsburgh

2022 Impact

91

Countries
Represented

344

Visitors
Welcomed

> 400

Local Professionals
Engaged

> 6,200

Homestay Nights Arranged

> $630K

Infused into the
Local Economy

Pittsburgh
at a Glance

Pittsburgh is a Renaissance city which emerged from its steel industry-focused past into a rebirth through education, medicine, and innovation. Visitors are inspired by the city's leading research in medicine, artificial intelligence and robotics, its significant number of higher education institutions, its numerous green spaces and characteristic bridges over three rivers, and its strong presence of arts and culture through various theaters, music halls, and museums. Maybe the most impactful part of visitors' experience is the welcoming nature of Pittsburghers and their pride for their city, rooted deeply in the "Yinzer" culture. Due to natural divisions by rivers and hills, each neighborhood in Pittsburgh has developed a unique culture with endless places to explore in the city. For these and many other reasons, Pittsburgh has consistently been ranked as one of the "Most Liveable" cities in the United States. 

Watch our virtual tour of Pittsburgh below:
Welcome to Pittsburgh Video Screen

Pittsburgh at a Glance

Pittsburgh is a Renaissance city which emerged from its steel industry-focused past into a rebirth through education, medicine, and innovation. Visitors are inspired by the city's leading research in medicine, artificial intelligence and robotics, its significant number of higher education institutions, its numerous green spaces and characteristic bridges over three rivers, and its strong presence of arts and culture through various theaters, music halls, and museums. Maybe the most impactful part of visitors' experience is the welcoming nature of Pittsburghers and their pride for their city, rooted deeply in the "Yinzer" culture. Due to natural divisions by rivers and hills, each neighborhood in Pittsburgh has developed a unique culture with endless places to explore in the city. For these and many other reasons, Pittsburgh has consistently been ranked as one of the "Most Liveable" cities in the United States. 

Watch our virtual tour of Pittsburgh below:
Welcome to Pittsburgh Video Screen