Friday, December 12, 2014

Pittsburgh Joins 10 Other U.S. Cities in Citizenship Initiative Supporting Obama's Action on Immigration

On Dec. 15, Pittsburgh and 10 other cities were scheduled to formally join Cities for Citizenship, an initiative launched by Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago in partnership with Citi, the founding corporate partner, which aims to increase citizenship among eligible U.S. permanent residents to forge more inclusive and economically robust cities.

Leading officials from Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chattanooga, Denver, Milwaukee, Nashville, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. will announce their active participation in this growing initiative at a special event during the National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC 2014).

Pittsburgh's growing immigrant community has made significant contributions to the city and take pride in actively participating in the communities where they live. Taking a cue from cities that have been active on this front, the Peduto administration plans to work in partnership with city schools, nonprofits, and libraries to create citizenship corners in targeted areas across the city and support immigrants on their path towards citizenship.

Mayor William Peduto launched the Welcoming Pittsburgh Initiative in May to celebrate the city’s immigrant past and build a more welcoming future. An advisory council was formed in August to work on a long-term implementation plan to engage both existing Pittsburgh residents and new ones, and synthesize welcoming practices into city government and its partners in local business, nonprofit and community groups. Facilitation of the initiative is underwritten by a grant from the Hillman Family Foundations.

Additionally, next year the administration plans to host naturalization ceremonies at the City-County Building.

A recent report, Citizenship: A Wise Investment for Cities, by the Center for Popular Democracy, National Partnership for New Americans and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) at USC Dornsife, found profound economic benefits to naturalization.

Monday’s conference will feature a welcome from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a keynote address by Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Cities for Citizenship leaders, including Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development and Microfinance.

Pittsburgh’s nonprofit and faith-based manager Betty Cruz is attending the conference on behalf of the city.

About National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA)
NPNA harnesses the collective power and resources of the country’s 20 largest regional immigrant advocacy organizations, aiming to advance the integration and active citizenship of immigrants to achieve a vibrant, just, and welcoming democracy for all. NPNA sponsors the annual National Immigrant Integration Conference and, in the past two years, NPNA partners have assisted over 50,000 immigrants to become U.S. citizens and pursue legal status.

Additional information may be found at www.partnershipfornewamericans.org | NIIC: http://www.integrationconference.org/ | Facebook: www.facebook.com/newamericanspartnership | Twitter: @npnewamericans

About The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD)
CPD promotes equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with base-building organizations, organizing networks and alliances, and progressive unions across the country. CPD builds the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda.

Visit www.populardemocracy.org and www.twitter.com/popdemoc.

About Citi
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

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Pittsburgh-Based Brother’s Brother Foundation Again Top-Ranked by Forbes; Responds to Requests for Medical Assistance in 6 Countries Including Ebola-Stricken Sierra Leone.

Pittsburgh-based Brother’s Brother Foundation is one of only two American charities with a 100 percent rating for fundraising efficiency and for charitable commitment of the 50 largest U.S. charities reviewed by Forbes in December 2014.

This week BBF is sending major medical shipments to hospitals and clinics in Argentina, The Philippines, Dominican Republic and Guatemala. These shipments contain over 60,000 bottles of medicines including antibiotics, antivirals and other requested medical supplies and equipment.

On Dec. 15, two containers were scheduled to be loaded for Haiti with 65,000 bottles of requested medicines and other medical supplies in two sea container shipments.  A third container of medical equipment supplies was scheduled to be loaded for Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone the following day. The Sierra Leone shipment was to include personal protection equipment for medical staff among 12 hospitals and 40 clinics supported by BBF in that country.

BBF is a 56-year old Pittsburgh-based international charity with a newly-opened warehouse in the Washington, D.C., area. BBF has provided over 100,000 tons of medical supplies, textbooks, food, seeds, and other humanitarian supplies to people around the world in over 140 countries. With the help of gifts from the general public, corporations and foundations, in 2014 BBF sent product contributions to those in need in 60 countries. These shipments are the equivalent of more than 320 tractor trailer loads. Also in 2014, BBF provided supplies for over 250 medical and humanitarian hand-carry mission trips.

The Better Business Bureau continues to give BBF its “Wise Giving Alliance Standards” seal of approval. BBF achieved a 4-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator.

Donations to assist with shipping costs are always accepted. Credit card donations can be made at www.brothersbrother.org or by calling BBF at 412-321-3160. Checks should be made to the Brother's Brother Foundation and sent to:
Brother's Brother Foundation
1200 Galveston Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15233


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Monday, November 17, 2014

Number of International Students in Western Pennsylvania Rises 17 percent During 2013-14 School Year - Twice National Rate of Growth, New Report Says

The number of international students in the Pittsburgh region rose 17 percent during the 2013-14 school year - more than twice the national rate for the second year in a row - to a total of 13,393 students, infusing a total of $386 million into the region's economy, according to a new joint report by the Washington, D.C-based Institute of International Education and NAFSA, an organization representing international educators.

Across the state of Pennsylvania,  a total of 41,446 international students - an increase of 11.2 percent - were responsible for $1.4 billion in economic stimulus, and for sustaining nearly 6,411 jobs in higher education and another 14,451 jobs indirectly related to higher education through their spending during the school year, NAFSA/IIE reported.

In total, international students brought $27 billion into the U.S. economy during the 2013-14 school year, with the number of students growing at an 8.1 percent rate nationally to a total of 886,052, the report said.

Economic impact includes tuition, housing, food, shopping and other expenditures for undergraduate and graduate students and their spouses and children, creating thousands of jobs in the region and making education one of the region's biggest exports.

"International students not only contribute economic value, they build bridges between the United States and other countries; bring global perspectives into U.S. classrooms and research labs; support U.S. innovation through science and engineering coursework, making it possible for U.S. colleges and universities to offer these courses to U.S. students; and support programming and services on campus for all students by paying out-of-state tuition, funded largely by non-U.S. sources," NAFSA said in issuing its report.

NAFSA reported the economic impact of international students by dividing data into U.S. Congressional Districts. The Western Pennsylvania region includes Congressional Districts 3, 9, 12, 14 and 18.

The new report confirms the importance - and the economic value - of attracting more international students to the Pittsburgh region, which is the goal of GlobalPittsburgh's Study Pittsburgh initiative.

"This report confirms once again the importance of our efforts at GlobalPittsburgh to bring more international students to the Pittsburgh region, and then to engage them in activities and help them feel welcome so that they will have a positive experience," said Michael Malloy, GlobalPittsburgh Board Chair.


GlobalPittsburgh's Study Pittsburgh Initiative, which represents a growing consortium of colleges, universities and English Language programs in the region called the GlobalPittsburgh Education Partnership (GPEP).

GlobalPittsburgh augments the international recruiting efforts of local educational institutions by:
 Providing a conduit for prospective applicants to ensure delivery and full review of applications.
 Ensuring that applications are complete.
 Directing applicants to information about visa and documentation requirements.
 Providing welcoming activities and networking opportunities for students after they have enrolled.

The Study Pittsburgh initiative provides information and publicity materials to selected advising centers and counseling offices around the world using GlobalPittsburgh’s strong relationships with government agencies and diplomatic channels. These channels include:
 EducationUSA, a U.S. State Department program designed to attract international students to the United States through a network of more than 400 advising centers in 170 countries around the world providing information and assistance to prospective students.
 Trade offices of U.S. Commerce Department and Pennsylvania Department of Economic & Community Development, which are committed to increasing international student enrollment in the United States.
 Education agencies and recruiters in targeted countries around the world.
 U.S. Embassies & Consulates around the world.
 Foreign Embassies & Consulates in the United States.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Reach Thousands of Globally-Minded People by Advertising on GlobalPittsburgh Website and Social Media

GlobalPittsburgh is now offering advertising opportunities on its website, blog and social media pages. These pages attract thousands of unique viewers each month with an audience representing a well-educated, globally-minded demographic.

Advertisers can build brand recognition and reach this desirable audience at affordable rates while also supporting the work of GlobalPittsburgh in connecting Pittsburgh with the world to achieve important international talent attraction and retention goals.

Rates are for banner box 185px square of your design, which can be updated monthly. The banner will link to your website.

Website (all pages, including home)                $250/month
Twitter Page                                                    $150/month
GP Facebook landing page                            $100/month
GlobalPittsburghNEWSletter                          $50/month
PACKAGE DISCOUNT (all of the above)     $450/month
(Above rates based on three-month contract – one month contract add $50 each.)

PLACEMENT EXAMPLES:                       
Website                                               Facebook Page
           


For more information, please contact Thomas Buell, Jr., Director of Development & Marketing at tbuell@globalpittsburgh.org or 412-392-4513.


           
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pittsburgh-Area Immigrant Entrepreneurs Invited to Enter Contest with $1,000 Prize for Best Success Story; Winners to be Included in Story Project. Deadline Now Dec. 5

Immigrant entrepreneurs and immigrant-owned small businesses in the Pittsburgh region are invited to enter a contest offering a $1,000 prize for the best success story describing their experience. Deadline for entries has been extended to 11:59 p.m. on December 5, 2014.

Called “A Day in the Life of an Immigrant Entrepreneur,” the contest is sponsored by the Global Great Lakes Network (www.globalgl.org), a regional initiative bringing together organizations working to tap into the economic opportunities created by immigrants, in collaboration with New America Media (www.newamericamedia.org).

The local lead organization for the Global Great Lakes Network in Pittsburgh is GlobalPittsburgh (www.globalpittsburgh.org). Entries should be submitted to Thomas Buell, Jr. at tbuell@globalpittsburgh.org.

Local entries will be judged by the Lead Organization in each of the cities in the Global Great Lakes Network. A single winner will be selected at random from the winners selected for each participating state or metro area. (The lead organization can nominate up to three local winners. If a lead agency nominates more than one entry, the managing committee of Global Detroit, New American Media, and GlobalPittsburgh will narrow it to one finalist based upon diversity for the final publication).

CONTEST RULES
Entries may be written and edited by someone other than the subject of the story, including the point person in the Lead Organization in the member community.
Entries may include articles that have been published in blogs or other media outlets, although permission should be obtained to reprint the article, if necessary.
Final judging of the stories will be based on the subject of the story as well as the quality of the storytelling. Lead organizations may work with the entrants to revise and improve the stories, but the submitted version must have the approval of the subject of the story.

More information on the contest is available on the Global Great Lakes Network website at http://globalgl.wordpress.com/adayinthelife/.

ABOUT THE GLOBAL GREAT LAKES NETWORK
Over the past four years, initiatives to promote immigration as an economic development opportunity have produced Vibrant Pittsburgh, GlobalPittsburgh, Global Detroit, St. Louis Mosaic, Global Cleveland, Welcome Dayton, Global Michigan and Global Lansing, as well as similar economic and community development focused programs emerging in other areas.

The Global Great Lakes Network’s mission is to engage in activities that strengthen the work, maximize the impact, and sustain the efforts of individual local initiatives across the region that welcome, retain, and empower immigrant communities as valued contributors to local economic development initiatives.

Participants in the Global Great Lakes Network seek to make their regions more appealing to immigrants by improving the quality of life and economic opportunities that exist in the region for immigrants as a tool to economic growth.

Immigrant communities, when welcomed in their new home, can generate greater economic growth, job creation, and prosperity for an entire city or region. The Global Great Lakes Network comprises regional economic development initiatives working to tap into the opportunities created by immigrants.

For more information about the Global Great Lakes Network, go to www.globalgl.org or send email to globalgreatlakes@gmail.com.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Sanitation Mission to Bangladesh Teaches Pittsburgh “Super Volunteer” Greg Smith About Health Challenges Facing Developing Countries


By Greg Smith

Inadequate safe water, sanitation, and good hygiene practice is endemic in rural communities throughout the developing world. Today 2.5 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation and 900 million have no source of safe drinking water.

Bangladesh is good example of a country with these problems. Bangladesh is located between India and Myanmar, half way around the world from the United States, at a latitude similar to Cuba. It is considered the most densely populated country in the world, and two-thirds of the country is river delta with elevations less than 12 feet. Tropical cyclones, spring flooding from the Himalayas, and the monsoon season make Bangladesh a difficult place to maintain clean, safe sources of water and appropriate areas for sanitation. The temperatures are high and the humidity is oppressive.

In Bangladesh, 46 percent of the population has access to improved sanitation; however only half of those that have access to improved sanitation also have convenient access to clean water and soap. The most recent statistics for Bangladesh indicate that there are 51,000 deaths from diarrhea in children under 5 years of age. Sadly, washing hands with soap and water can prevent more than 50 percent of these deaths. Awareness of proper sanitation and hygiene practices is low in most rural areas.

In late September, I joined three other trainers and spent two weeks in Bangladesh teaching WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and Community Development principles to 19 Bangladesh Nazarene Mission development workers. These students would then travel to rural villages to teach these practices.

We worked through Lifewater International, a non-profit, Christian water development organization based in California that works around the world to eliminate water-borne disease and inadequate access to water. The training provided is a hands on “train the trainers” program that emphasizes participation and interactive learning.

Bangladesh Nazarene Mission (BNM) is a Christian development organization that has worked in Bangladesh among the “poorest of the poor” for more than 20 years. It is a well-established organization and works in many development areas, including WaSH, emergency relief and food security.

Between flight time and the 10 hour time change, it took almost two days to arrive at the training center. Transportation was interesting as always and included flying in a plane, walking, sitting in a rickshaw, standing in a flat topped boat to cross the river, lounging on a steam driven boat, and finally taking a two-hour trip in an ambulance.

Why an ambulance? The out-of-power political party had called for a transportation strike on the day we arrived and the only motorized ground transportation allowed was an ambulance. Any other transport risked being stoned or having its tires slashed or even being burned. Our hosts somehow found an ambulance and we raced off to the training center, horn blaring and siren screaming!

The training center was quite modern. We had rooms with hot water, flush toilets and air conditioning. However trekking up the 80 non air-conditioned steps and down the long hot hallways to our rooms when the temperatures were consistently over 100 was a constant reminder about what conditions were for most of the country.

The students were primarily project managers in their early to mid thirties and consisted of 13 men, six women, one Muslim, one Hindu, and the rest Christian. This group had a broad background in community development and came from various development sectors, such as disaster relief, training, WaSH, etc.

The native language of this group is Bengali. Even though many of the students knew or understood a fair amount of English we worked through several translators, The translators were energetic and quite interested in the subjects we were discussing, which unfortunately led to many ‘off topic’ conversations between the students and the translators. Ultimately the outcomes were good but the discussions were often tedious and confusing.

The students were excited about both the material and how it was presented. As in many places they were accustomed to sitting for hours and hours through boring lectures. The idea of interactive instruction, role-playing, and somebody actually asking them their opinion on a subject was exciting to them. They loved developing and acting out short plays, which they called dramas, and creating a posters and poems about the training material.

This group loved to sing and dance. Our training sessions were regularly filled with singing, dancing, and even jokes, none of which I understood because jokes don’t make it through translation very well.

This photo is an example of the “hands on instruction” we were conducting. Here we were discussing the disease transmission route from "poop" to mouth and the ways that this transmission can be blocked.

The “poop” is on the left with a “mouth” on the right. The pictures between them represented conditions when germs can be spread, such as through dirty water, on flies, through animal droppings, etc. The strings represent germ transmission routes and the pictures over the strings represent ways to block these routes, such as boiling water or fencing animals in or hand washing.

Typically I laid the posters on the ground and showed them one route and one blocker. I would then ask volunteers to find other routes and to come up with ways to block the routes. This created a lot of discussion about the subject. This is a very simple way to teach the subject and can be done in the most basic of situations.

Other subjects such as hand washing, making and keeping safe water, the sanitation ladder, transformational change, and cleaning latrines were presented in the same way. The group developed numerous plays and songs about each subject, including my favorite –the latrine cleaning dance!

At the conclusion of the training we had a “Cultural Night.” Primarily the students wanted us to dress in indigenous clothing and dance to traditional music. We laughed a lot and even learned a step or two.

We spent one day in the field visiting a BNM site called JoyMoni. A typical day in JoyMoni at this time of year is balmy with a heat index near 100. The day of this site visit it was very hot and humid with heat index at 115 in the shade. Of course we had to be there at noon. Even the locals were complaining about the high temperature, and I was surprised to see both men and women using umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun.

This site is located on the Bay of Bengal and has no local source of fresh water as the wells, even those 250 feet deep, are contaminated with salt, arsenic, and iron. Since the village is encircled by ever changing water levels due to tidal changes, spring floods from snow melt in the Himalayas, and monsoons, healthy sanitation practices are uncommon. One way the people of JoyMoni they have learned to cope with water level variability is to build floating toilets.

While floating toilets are a good solution to “where to go,” this same water often is source of drinking water and has become contaminated. This is a good example of the difficult choices that many rural communities face. 


Lifewater and BNM have partnered with this community to develop alternate strategies for situations like this, while at the same time teaching good hygiene and safe water practices. The BNM employees will work through local safe water and sanitation committees to teach WaSH principles to the entire JoyMoni community.


Lifewater follows the progress on a weekly basis and will be studying the effects of the training and making recommendations for improvement. The goal in communities like JoyMoni is to improve awareness of good hygiene and sanitation practices which can result in a 50 percent reduction in diarrheal disease.

As we said goodbye to our new Bangladeshi friends, I was inspired to see the enthusiasm and dedication they bring to solving some of the more difficult health issues facing their fellow countrymen. It reminded me of this quote from Mother Teresa:

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”
(Greg Smith lives in Pittsburgh. He is a member of The Global Switchboard.) READ FULL ARTICLE

Sunday, November 9, 2014

GlobalPittsburgh Launches 'Keep Pittsburgh Global' Campaign to Raise Awareness of Community of Practice Focused on International Engagement

GlobalPittsburgh has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of a growing movement focused on understanding and spreading the benefits of international engagement in the Pittsburgh region, as well as promoting its activities, events and programs aimed at connecting like-minded people and organizations locally and around the world.

Click for your own printable banner.
The new "Keep Pittsburgh Global" campaign will bring together what we call "globally-minded" people interested in embracing and expanding the region's international connections, which have been shown to provide economic and cultural benefits to the entire community. This concept is called a "community of practice."

Funded in part by Pittsburgh's Sprout Fund, the campaign is designed to bring together international newcomers, globally-minded residents and those uncertain about their position on globalization, in a series of events and activities during which they will participate in conversations and coordinated interactions resulting in a collection of documentary photos and videos for public viewing.

The Keep Pittsburgh Global campaign will officially kick off Dec. 4 at GlobalPittsburgh's First Thursdays monthly networking happy hour, which will be held at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square. Continuing for the rest of the year and into 2015, the campaign will enable participants to hear and learn from the experiences of others, including the newcomers and the local residents.

At each event, a camera/video booth will be set up to record opinions and stories of as many participants as possible. They will be asked how long they have been in Pittsburgh, what brought them here, what they like about it, and also their response to the question, “What does global engagement mean to you?”

In addition, participants will be asked to sign a pledge of support for the global community of practice, and have their picture taken holding a sign saying “Keep Pittsburgh Global,” and/or video-taped holding the sign and saying “Keep Pittsburgh Global.” Resulting photographs and videos will be placed on the GlobalPittsburgh website and social media outlets, and widely promoted. They also will be displayed at a future public Keep Pittsburgh Global event.

"The process of growing a community of practice naturally requires an ongoing process of connecting like-minded people who may not be aware of each other" said Michael Malloy, GlobalPittsburgh's Board Chair. "Connecting is at the core of GlobalPittsburgh’s mission."


Participants and supporters of the Keep Pittsburgh Global campaign are encouraged to post the banner on their social media pages using the #keepPGHglobal hashtag. A free, downloadable, printable banner is available by CLICKING HERE.

"The Keep Pittsburgh Global campaign involves activities bringing together diverse individuals from the regional community who have a passion for learning more about and connecting with cultures worldwide," Malloy said.

"Our activities naturally attract people who are globally engaged because of their work, research, area of study, curiosity, or passion for travel," he said. "Attendees frequently bring friends or colleagues who share their interests, creating a multiplier effect for the active global engagement that GlobalPittsburgh encourages. The ever-increasing number of young professionals drawn to our events will help to ensure that a global perspective is held by emerging community leaders whom we hope to retain in the region."

The campaign will bring together people – both foreign-born and local – who might not know the extent to which the community exists in the Pittsburgh region. In addition, promotion of the resulting photographs and videos on websites, blogs and via social media, as well as through public exhibitions, will serve to further grow the community by raising awareness and continuing the process of connecting like-minded people, Malloy said.

For more information about GlobalPittsburgh and the Keep Pittsburgh Global campaign, contact Thomas Buell, Jr. at 412-392-4513 or tbuell@globalpittsburgh.org.

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