Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pittsburgh-Based II-VI Inc. Acquires Chinese Fiber Optic Equipment Company

Pittsburgh-based II-VI Inc., maker of precision infrared lenses and specialty optics, said it has agreed to purchase Chinese fiber optic equipment maker Photop Technologies, Inc. for $45.6 million and approximately 1.2 million shares of II-VI common stock. The deal is expected to close in January 2010.

Photop, headquartered in Fuzhou, China with over 3,000 employees, is a vertically-integrated manufacturer of engineered materials, optical components, microchip lasers for visible display applications, and optical modules for use in fiber optic communication networks and other diverse consumer and commercial applications.

"We are excited to partner with Photop to combine efforts and enhance our collective expertise in crystal materials and optics," said Carl J. Johnson, Chairman of II-VI Incorporated.

"Led by its strong, experienced and skilled management team, Photop has developed very impressive technology and a robust component product portfolio in the growing photonics markets and offers immediate access to the growing Chinese markets for engineered materials and components, including the optical communications and micro-optics display markets.

"The combination of II-VI and Photop will benefit our customers, employees and shareholders and will fuel our long-term growth objectives through our stronger presence in China and the rest of the world. Both companies have a passion for technological innovation and close customer engagement, and we look forward to integrating our similar entrepreneurial cultures and achieving future goals together."

Hongrui Wang, Chairman of Photop Technologies, Inc., said: "We are delighted to team with II-VI Inc. We believe that by joining forces with II-VI we will have access to significantly more resources, especially through its VLOC subsidiary and Near-Infrared Optics business, further securing our capabilities on research and product development, sales marketing and manufacturing operations. We are looking forward to a brighter future and greater growth prospects for our company and our employees.”

Upon the closing of the transaction, Photop will be combined with II-VI’s VLOC Inc. subsidiary and Near-Infrared Optics business for financial reporting purposes. This combined group, along with the Compound Semiconductor Group, will be directed by Dr. Vincent D. (Chuck) Mattera, Jr., Vice President of II-VI, who will be promoted to Executive Vice President of II-VI upon the closing of the transaction.

II-VI, the worldwide leader in crystal growth technology, is a vertically-integrated manufacturing company serving the industrial manufacturing, military and aerospace, high-power electronics and telecommunications, and thermoelectronics applications.

Headquartered in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, with manufacturing, sales, and distribution facilities worldwide, the Company produces numerous crystalline compounds including zinc selenide for infrared laser optics, silicon carbide for high-power electronic and microwave applications, and bismuth telluride for thermoelectric coolers.

Established in 2003 through a merger of four companies, each a leader in its respective product field of Optics, Lasers, Fiber Optics and Photonic Crystal Materials, Photop Technologies, Inc. is a leading photonics design and integrated manufacturing company of Fiber Optics, Precision Optics, Projection and Display Optics, Solid-State Lasers, Crystal Materials and other Photonics Products.

Headquartered in Fuzhou, China, with over 3,000 employees including 350 dedicated engineers in Fuzhou, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Photop is dedicated to continually-growing its technology platform, highly-efficient manufacturing infrastructure, volume production capability and capacity, advanced design knowledge, and leading-edge research and development.
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

GlobalPittsburgh, Formerly PCIV, Celebrates 50 Years of Citizen Diplomacy and New Opportunities

Volunter Mary Larson hosted the man who would later become the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Marge Simonds received an ancient bowl from a French visitor she and her husband hosted in the early 1960s, and discovered that it had been intended for President John F. Kennedy.

These and other stories were told during the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of GlobalPittsburgh, formerly known as the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors, the organization for which these and hundreds of others Pittsburgh-area residents have welcomed members of foreign delegations into their homes and showed around the region during the last five decades.

More than 150 hosts, volunteers, friends and supporters of GlobalPittsburgh gathered Dec. 21 at LeMont Restaurant on Mt. Washington to celebrate and reminisce about the many memorable encounters, long-lasting friendships and other connections made possible through the organization since its founding.

"All of this has been a wonderful, wonderful experience," said Simonds, who is now in her 90s.

Mary Larson recalled how she was invited to visit Gordon Brown, whom she hosted when he was a Member of Parliament in the mid-1980s, during a trip to London when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. Brown became British Prime Minister in 2007.

"We did keep in touch, but I haven't heard from him much lately, because he has been a little busy, I guess," she told the group.

Frances Cohen-Knoerdel recalled an ongoing friendship she and her husband made with a visitor in 1972, when they hosted a Finnish student attending Carnegie Mellon University. They maintained contact with the student and will travel to Finland this summer to attend his son's wedding, she said.

The circle was completed, she said, when another visitor from Japan, with whom she also had developed a friendship, told her he was traveling for business to Finland. Cohen-Knoerdel suggested he meet her Finnish friend, and another friendship was formed.

"The world is not really that big," she said.

The program included a retrospective by Heinz History Center President Andy Masich of events in Pittsburgh and around the world at the time of GlobalPittsburgh-PCIV's founding in 1959, the year that Castro came to power in Cuba, the Barbie doll was introduced, Hawaii became the 50th state, and Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Kruschchev engaged in their Kitchen Debate.

The evening was highlighted by music from the Celtic duo of Merry Loves the Fiddle, the Brazilian jazz vocals of Lily Abreu and two songs by Jueyin Wang of Wuhan, China.

The event was generously underwritten by Anna and Ed Dunlap, owners of LeMont.

CLICK HERE to view more photos of the evening.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Citizen Diplomats On The Road: From Western Pennsylvania to Vietnam, With Love

J. Ross Stewart, Pittsburgh-born and educated, made a trip to Vietnam from December 3 through 21, 2009, that included meetings with family, friends and business contacts. He was asked to journal his experiences and to provide insight into Vietnamese culture from both a personal and business perspective. Stewart currently serves as a Contracts Administrator for Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) that is headquartered in Johnstown, PA, about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh. The views expressed here are his own.

Part I – Journey Over and Arrival
On Dec. 3, I embarked on what would be my seventh trip to Vietnam in five years.

For background, I will tell you a little about me and why I am traveling to Vietnam, and have been traveling so frequently. My wife, Tam Nguyen Stewart, is originally from Vietnam, and since we were married in July 2006 we've made annual trips back to visit with my in-laws who live in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.

These trips have become even more important as we now have an infant daughter who gets to spend more time with her maternal grandparents, and vice versa. We also meet with friends and business contacts on these trips, and are always looking for ways to help build cultural and business bridges between Vietnam and the Greater Pittsburgh region.

I was born in Pittsburgh where my parents were working at the time, my father for Price Waterhouse and my mother as a teacher, and grew up in Johnstown where I currently live and where my parents also grew up. I spent nearly seven years getting my education in Pittsburgh, as well, earning my Bachelor’s Degree and Juris Doctor (law degree) from the University of Pittsburgh. I consider Pittsburgh like my second home.

I will attempt through these blog posts to provide a glimpse of the modern day Vietnam through the eyes of a born-and-raised western Pennsylvanian, and to help readers understand a little bit more about the culture from both a personal and business perspective. While everything is not perfect in Vietnam, and there is still work to be done, there are many positive developments on multiple fronts taking place throughout the country.

Though the trip from Johnstown to Ho Chi Minh City has been long -- 25-plus hours with a very short layover in Washington Dulles and Tokyo Narita airports -- everything has gone smoothly and uneventfully.

It is a treat to arrive at the newer Tan Son Nhat International terminal, and the deplaning, immigration, baggage claim and customs processes are very quick and efficient. Once you pass through customs and proceed out of the terminal on to the street, not only are you greeted by the intense heat which I have heard likened to a blast furnace, something to which those who have labored in our region’s historical basic industries of iron and steel can relate, but you are also greeted with one of your first tastes of Vietnamese culture – the throngs of people who gather at the terminal exit.

At first, you might think that you are being greeted as some sort of rock star or world leader. It is in fact, however, the Vietnamese cultural custom that the entire extended family travels to the airport to greet family members who are arriving for a visit.

When you take the fact that Ho Chi Minh City has a growing population of 8 million people, you soon realize that there are a lot of family members greeting a lot of visiting family members. This crowd at Tan Son Nhat makes a crowded, sunny summer Saturday afternoon in the Strip District in Pittsburgh look like a desolate ghost town.

Of course, my case is no different, as my wife and infant daughter (who traveled over a few weeks before me), as well as my mother-in-law and father-in-law come to greet me upon my arrival. Overall, I will be in Vietnam for a little under three weeks.

It is easy to experience the importance of family and relationships in Vietnam. Taking the time to build relationships is important not just to family life, but also to business in Vietnam and in Asia in general.

Part II – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
In many ways, Ho Chi Minh City is comparable to New York City, from a population of around 8 million, to being divided into “Districts” (like New York City’s five boroughs), and so on.

My in-laws live in District 1, which is the Manhattan, so to speak, of Ho Chi Minh City’s districts. Both of my in-laws are retired C-level executives with Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).

While Ho Chi Minh City is comparable to New York City, it also has the French colonial-era touches of Paris from the city’s layout and design, and colonial-era architecture. The luxury shops of Louis Vuitton and others that line Dong Khoi Street in the heart of District 1 have the feel of a combination of Fifth Avenue in New York City and Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris.

The Protestant Church that we attend while in Ho Chi Minh City is Hoi Thanh Tin Lanh at 155 Tran Hung Dao Street in District 1, which is part of the Evangelical Church of Vietnam. The service for this church is very similar to that of a Baptist church in western Pennsylvania.

What is interesting about this church is that though the service is understandably in Vietnamese, the church also provides a real-time translation of the service into English. The first half-dozen pews on the right-hand side of the sanctuary have headphone jacks for the headphones that a visiting foreigner is provided when they enter the sanctuary.

The service has the feel of both being in church and being in a meeting at the United Nations in New York City. The church is growing both in native Vietnamese and expats, and will soon need to consider adding additional services or building a bigger sanctuary.

I had traded emails with Fred Burke, Managing Partner of the law firm Baker & McKenzie Vietnam before I left for Vietnam, and had planned to meet up with him once in Vietnam. Fred invited me and my wife, Tam, who has a Master’s Degree in International Business from France, and has worked in Europe, Vietnam and the U.S., to attend the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City Chapter Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at the New World Hotel.

We enjoyed learning more about AmCham Vietnam in the meeting through the Chairman, Tom Seibert’s, presentation, and also had a chance to meet a lot of interesting people. The meeting was attended by a large number of the Board of Governors who represent a Who’s Who among the American business and legal circles in Vietnam. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, including Consul General Kenneth Fairfax and Economic Officer Douglas Sonnek.

Fred Burke gave a brief but very interesting overview of the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s “Project 30,” with which Fred is involved as the AmCham Vietnam’s delegate on the Prime Minister’s fifteen-member Advisory Council on Administrative Procedure Reform.

According to briefing materials Fred provided:

“Project 30 is the Prime Minister’s high profile program for the simplification of administrative procedures. Launched in 2007, it is entering its final year, in which the inventory and assessment work already done is intended to produce a dramatic streamlining of the administrative environment. This is intended to reduce red tape, corruption and make Vietnam’s business environment more competitive with its regional and global competitors.

"As far as the business community is concerned, Project 30 depends entirely on the voluntary contributions and lobbying of enterprises like FedEx. With their detailed input on the administrative procedures that hinder their business development, and their constructive suggestions for improvements, Project 30 in and of itself will not address their needs. What Project 30 does is provide an opportunity for interested enterprises to put their suggestions through a mechanism where they will be assured serious consideration.

"Currently, the Prime Minister’s 15 member Advisory Council on Administrative Procedure Reform, on which the American Chamber of Commerce has a delegate, is conducting working group meetings on specific subject matter areas including customs and trade. By October 15th, these working groups will have completed submissions for recommending reforms to several hundred administrative procedures that have been identified as "priority" items for reform. The next round of working group meetings will lead up to a second round of cuts in February, 2010.

"The Project is funded by USAID, among others, and strongly supported by the US Embassy in Hanoi, as well as the Vietnam Competitiveness Institute. The Prime Minister has invested substantial capital in the Project and it is therefore hoped that it will achieve its objectives.”

Part III – Hanoi
If Ho Chi Minh City is the New York City of Vietnam, then Hanoi is the Washington, D.C. in many respects. Not only is Hanoi the capital and therefore the seat of the nation’s government, but it is also considerably smaller than Ho Chi Minh City (a population of around 6.5 million compared to Ho Chi Minh City’s 8 million) and much more a government hub and less a commercial hub, as well.

As we leave Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, and step out on to the street, you are not met with the relative chaos and crowds that you experience at Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, which is nice. For one thing, the airport is nearly 30 miles outside of Hanoi, which is about twice the distance from Downtown Pittsburgh to Greater Pittsburgh International Airport.

As mentioned, the population of Hanoi is significantly smaller than Ho Chi Minh City. Furthermore, it is clear that the culture of northern Vietnam is much more subdued and laid back than the hustle and bustle of the south, especially from a business standpoint.

There were many relatives who came to greet us at the airport, including several aunts, uncles and cousins. We pile into two cars and head to the city for our first night of many gatherings at family homes.

As discussed in earlier, it is easy to see the importance of family and relationships in Vietnam. Taking the time to build relationships is important not just to family life, but also to business in Vietnam and in Asia in general.

One of the chief criticisms against western businesspeople made by their Vietnamese counterparts is the desire of the westerners to meet and get straight to business. In Vietnam, as in Asia in general, it is important to take the time to build personal relationships with the Vietnamese business counterparts. Doing so properly takes a concerted effort of time, resources and multiple visits and meetings in order to cultivate the relationship.

It is clear that Hanoi has work to do to improve its service and business sector to the level of its southern counterpart. One brief example would be an experience we had taxi drivers in Hanoi. While there are some good taxi drivers, there are also laughably (after the fact) bad ones. When we were going to attend services at the landmark Cua Bac (Northern Gate) Church, one of the landmark Catholic churches in Hanoi, we knew the general vicinity where the church was located, but not the exact street or address or how to get to the church.

Of course, we could have looked that information up on the internet, but figured it was not necessary given the landmark nature of the church. It would be like asking a taxi driver in Pittsburgh to take you to the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus. The front desk clerk at our hotel recommended a specific taxi company to use, and we did.

When we got into the car, the taxi driver indicated that he knew where the church was and how to get there. Fifteen minutes later, he stopped in the middle of a street with no church in sight, only to indicate in Vietnamese that we were at our desired destination. When my wife pressed him further, he indicated that he did not know where the church was located.

What Hanoi does have in abundance is beautiful vistas, from the serene, peaceful and ancient beauty of Hoan Kiem Lake (despite its downtown location), to further examples of exquisite French colonial architecture such as the Hanoi Opera House.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Half Century of Citizen Diplomacy: A Unique Public-Private Sector Partnership Connects Pittsburgh with the World

By Sherry Mueller
President, National Council for International Visitors

One of the most dramatic and best publicized examples of citizen diplomacy in action was celebrated in August---the 50th anniversary of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's visit to the Garst family farm in Coon Rapids, Iowa. The meeting of these unlikely friends was the result of what Roswell Garst called "full belly diplomacy."

He believed that people with a standard of living they wanted to protect would be less likely to go to war. Therefore, the United States had a vested interest in the success of Soviet agriculture. When Garst met a delegation of Soviet officials in Iowa touring farms in 1955, he realized that techniques he had developed on his 2,600-acre farm could improve productivity on large Soviet collective farms. When he applied for an export license for seed corn and agricultural equipment, he was met with skepticism by government officials who warned him he would not receive a warm welcome behind the Iron Curtain.

Garst promptly proved them wrong. Described as gregarious, expansive, and even "flamboyant," he became something of an instant celebrity as he toured farms and gave lectures on increasing grain yields, so much so that he was unexpectedly invited to meet Premier Khrushchev himself; the two were said to have hit it off immediately.

During the next four years Garst made two more trips to the USSR and hosted a number of Soviet agronomists in Iowa. Still, the announcement that Khrushchev would visit the Garst farm during his landmark trip to the United States in 1959 -- the first from a Soviet head of state -- undoubtedly surprised many. But when one considers that Garst's efforts helped to increase Soviet grain production substantially between 1956 and 1958, it is little wonder that Khrushchev was eager to see Garst's operations for himself.

Garst's belief, particularly prevalent during the Cold War and still valid, was that private citizens can build constructive relationships across international boundaries when governments are often constrained by official policies and historic precedents. Secretary of State Dean Rush echoed this notion at the 1965 NCIV National Conference when he addressed community leaders from across the country who organized programs for foreign leaders in the US Department of State's International Visitor Program:

"The government simply can't do what you are doing. We cannot render that kind of individual, sensitive, and personalized service such as you can and do render in your own communities."

The National Council for International Visitors (NCIV), one of the pioneering organizations practicing citizen diplomacy, is marking its 50th anniversary with a sequence of events and initiatives. GlobalPittsburgh (formerly the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors) also is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.

In the United States one of our fundamental cultural beliefs is that the individual has the power to make a positive difference -- to be the impetus for change in various endeavors, from banning landmines to building relationships among leaders of various societies. Building constructive and enduring relationships among leaders across national boundaries is critically important because it is within that web of human connections that progress on urgent global issues, such as conflict resolution and pandemic infection prevention, occurs.

It is no surprise then that the idea of citizen diplomacy is deeply rooted in the United States. The mission of many nonprofit organizations to enable individuals to contribute directly to world peace, international understanding, and cooperation has produced an array of programs and projects that are genuine grassroots efforts to address common problems and build enduring connections among the people of various countries.

NCIV's half century of leadership in the field serves as a case study to explore citizen diplomacy, its relationship to public diplomacy, and its often underestimated, but nonetheless far-reaching, impact.

Citizen Diplomacy vis-a-vis Public Diplomacy

While the primary focus of this article is to describe one of America's most valuable public diplomacy programs and how its success hinges on the remarkable contributions of citizen diplomats, it is important to emphasize that, like the initiative of Roswell Garst, most citizen diplomacy activities extend well beyond public diplomacy programs.

Citizen diplomacy is the concept that, in a vibrant democracy, the individual citizen has the right -- even the responsibility -- to shape foreign relations, as some NCIV members express it, "one handshake at a time." The term "citizen diplomacy" has been around for a long time. In fact, it predates the term "public diplomacy" (first coined in the 1960s by Ambassador Edmund Gullion, Dean of the Fletcher School) which has received so much scrutiny in recent years.

President Dwight Eisenhower convened the White House Summit on Citizen Diplomacy on September 11, 1956. Acutely aware of the devastation and horrific costs of war, Eisenhower thought that peace was everyone's business. He stated:

"If we are going to take advantage of the assumption that all people want peace, then the problem is for people to get together and to leap governments -- if necessary to evade governments -- to work out not one method but thousands of methods by which people can gradually learn a little bit more of each other."

The international exchange organizations, People to People International and Sister Cities International, were established as a result of this historic gathering. These organizations are still active today coordinating exchange programs and humanitarian projects around the world.

Programs like these are what usually come to mind when citizen diplomacy is mentioned -- privately funded international exchange activities such as sending a student abroad on an Experiment in International Living summer program, hosting an AFS student, going overseas to live with a family as part of a Friendship Force delegation, or participating in a Partners of the Americas development project. Whether guests or hosts, exchange program participants embody citizen diplomacy.

While such programs are at the heart of citizen diplomacy, the term encompasses so much more. In 1958 when Elvis Presley landed in Germany wearing his army uniform, he told reporters that "what we do here will reflect on America and our way of life." When one thinks about Elvis, citizen diplomacy does not leap to mind. Yet he clearly was conscious of the fact that he had a responsibility to put his country's best foot forward as he interacted with foreign nationals.

Whether one is a rock star, athlete, student, tourist, or business representative, each of us should be aware that our actions shape foreigners' impressions of our country and ultimately shape their decisions affecting America's security and prosperity. This awareness that our behavior matters as we go about our daily activities is the essence of citizen diplomacy.

Over the years the number of organizations that include citizen diplomacy in their names, mission statements, and programs has multiplied. For example, five NCIV community members use the term in their names, with the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy leading the way.

In the 21st century, citizen diplomacy is continuing to gain attention, finding its way into more public speeches, legislation, and "smart power" discussions. One major reason for this is the sequence of events triggered by 9/11 and the severely tarnished American image around the world that generated alarm from Main Street to Madison Avenue.

In March 2004, a group of concerned leaders, primarily heads of exchange organizations, gathered at the Johnson Foundation Wingspread Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin. During a three-day forum, participants debated how to expand exponentially the number of Americans engaged in citizen diplomacy, recognize the accomplishments of outstanding citizen diplomats, and identify new public and private resources for international exchange and development programs. They decided to convene a national summit and to urge local leaders across the country to do the same -- convene the heads of organizations and agencies with international missions in their communities and organize community summits on citizen diplomacy.

To date, two National Summits on Citizen Diplomacy have taken place. The first preceded the Sister Cities Conference in 2006; the second preceded the NCIV National Conference in February 2008. More than 70 community summits from Miami to Seattle have also taken place. Participants searched for ways to create synergy among their organizations, increase global literacy, and publicize opportunities to serve as citizen diplomats.

President Obama's emphasis on the importance of public service has also added momentum to the citizen diplomacy movement. Citizen diplomacy organizations offer many ways to serve our communities, our country, and our fragile planet. A coalition of organizations spearheaded by the US Center for Citizen Diplomacy, founded in 2006 in Des Moines, Iowa, is urging President Obama to convene another White House Summit on Citizen Diplomacy.

NCIV and the IVLP

Many define public diplomacy as the efforts of a government to influence public opinion abroad -- particularly the opinions of perceived decision makers. US public diplomacy encompasses many information activities, ranging from Voice of America broadcasts to the live Web chats sponsored by the State Department's Alumni Affairs Office. It also includes a panoply of international exchange programs, ranging from the Department of Defense International Military Education Training Program to the Fulbright Program sponsored by the US Department of State. Some State Department programs are dependent on public-private sector partnerships and the unique combination of public and private funding, manpower -- including essential volunteer labor -- and collaboration that characterize this creative administrative arrangement.

A Congressional appropriation funds the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). The State Department selects and orients the foreign leaders who participate in the IVLP, but department officials work closely with their private-sector partners -- NCIV members -- to design national itineraries and custom tailor each program to the group or individual's professional and cultural interests.

The overarching goals of the IVLP are to enable visitors to develop more nuanced and realistic views of the American people, our history and heritage, and to facilitate professional dialogues among foreign leaders and their US counterparts.

Through a cooperative agreement with the US Department of State's Office of International Visitors, NCIV administers a grant program enabling its community-based members to carry out these activities. For each federal dollar received, NCIV members raise six dollars locally to support their work with the IVLP. This does not include the in-kind contributions or the value of volunteer efforts; it is estimated that more than 80,000 volunteers are involved in NCIV network activities each year. They serve as professional resources, board members, home hosts, drivers, volunteer programmers, financial contributors, and office volunteers.

While the numbers are impressive they are only part of the story. The high caliber of these volunteer citizen diplomats is key to the program's long-term success. Ambassador Andrew Young volunteers for the Georgia Council for International Visitors; Dr. Joseph Shirley, President of the Navajo Nation, is a volunteer for the Albuquerque Council for International Visitors. Ambassador Mary Kramer, recently inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame and a member of the Council of American Ambassadors, serves on the board of the Iowa Council for International Understanding (ICIU), NCIV's member in Des Moines. Ambassador Kramer and her husband served as home hosts before her tenure as ambassador, and now continue to do so. Reflecting on service as both an official diplomat and a citizen diplomat, Ambassador Kramer remarked:

"After living overseas, you come to understand that people have an important role in diplomacy, whether they are aware of it or not. Organizations such as the ICIU and NCIV are an essential part of US public diplomacy. I saw firsthand how visitors returned home with much greater appreciation of the United States and its ethnic, geographic, and political diversity---as well as its democratic institutions."

Firsthand encounters with citizen diplomats trump grim headlines and stereotypical sound bites. An Albany volunteer offered this description of his family's experience hosting a delegation from Uganda capturing the impact of citizen diplomacy:

"These visits are worth gold to US public diplomacy. Not only do they allow for visitors to meet their peers in the United States (and hopefully remain in touch with many of them) and gather important professionally relevant information they can take home, the IVLP is also an important way for Americans to meet people from parts of the world they are unlikely to visit themselves. The US population remains woefully uninformed about international affairs and this has serious implications for foreign policy and funding for foreign assistance---as well as the ability of Americans to appreciate and participate in globalization.

The IVLP makes these issues less a matter for The New York Times and more a conversation over a dinner table, a small meeting in an office, and a friendship begun that might last for decades. Yes, high-level diplomacy has its place and it requires trained professionals to carry it out. But it must be buttressed by the engagement of non-professionals who can meet and exchange views in informal settings that defuse the intense politics that often dominate official meetings. US foreign policy cannot live on Track II diplomacy alone, but it also can't live without it. As the conversations over my dinner table last week proved, serious issues can be addressed in informal venues and all involved are the better for it. Citizen diplomacy is good for diplomacy---and for the citizens who engage in it. This is quiet and unheralded work but it deserves the continued (and increased) support of the US government."
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GlobalPittsburgh Expanding Into New Downtown Offices

GlobalPittsburgh will expand its presence in Downtown Pittsburgh when it moves into new offices in Centre City Tower at 650 Smithfield Street, effective Jan. 1, 2010.

Formerly known as the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors, GlobalPittsburgh will relocate to larger quarters to accommodate a larger staff and expanded mission to host international delegations to the Region, as well as welcome international students, professionals and short-term residents with a regular schedule of programs and activities, according to Roger Cranville, GlobalPittsburgh's Chairman and President.

"Our goal is to serve companies and organizations in the Pittsburgh Region by hosting foreign delegations and facilitating introductions and channels of communication that we believe will enhance the opportunity for professional, commercial and academic partnerships and economic growth," Cranville said.

Pittsburgh has been rapidly gaining a positive international reputation as a leader in economic and environmental revitalization, and is well positioned to show off its centers of excellence in a wide variety of fields, he said.

"Since the announcement of the G-20 Summit earlier this year and the hosting of World Environment Day on June 5, 2010, Pittsburgh is brightly visible on the radar screens of decision makers around the world, especially in Europe and Asia," Cranville said. "It is now up to Pittsburgh to make the most of this worldwide interest, and GlobalPittsburgh is on the leading edge of that effort."

GlobalPittsburgh works with the U.S. Department of State and other international organizations to arrange and coordinate visits by foreign individuals and delegations interested in learning more about Pittsburgh’s centers of excellence, including energy, technology, health sciences, green design and education, and in studying the region’s economic and environmental transformation.

GlobalPittsburgh will vacate its current offices in the Regional Enterprise Tower at 425 Sixth Avenue at the end of December, Cranville said.

GlobalPittsburgh's new address:
GlobalPittsburgh
Centre City Tower
650 Smithfield Street, Suite 1180
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

For more information, go to www.globalpittsburgh.org.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Former British Trade Minister Believes Pittsburgh Region Well Positioned to Lead Growth in Global Economy, Asian Expansion

The Pittsburgh Region is in a prime position to capitalize on an increasingly global economy, growth in Asia, and other current developments around the world, due in large part to its success in reinventing itself and emerging as an international competitor, according to Lord Digby Jones, former British Trade Minister, who will speak in Pittsburgh Dec. 15.

“I’ve been coming to Pittsburgh two or three times a year since 1989, and I have seen it grow and develop and change,” he said in a recent telephone interview with Thomas Buell, Jr. of GlobalPittsburgh. “It is now a global exemplar of reconstruction and restructuring. It’s one of those cities in the world that have just shown the world how it can be done.

“I think if you’re an exporting city, if you’re open to investment, and if you understand globalization, a getting-richer developing world can only benefit America and especially Pittsburgh,” he said.

Lord Jones served as Minister for Trade and Investment at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and at the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory from June 2007 to October 2008, and as Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry, the UK’s "Voice of Business," from 2000 to 2006.

He will speak in Pittsburgh on the topic of "Global Innovation: Building Synergies in Tough Economic Times" at the luncheon meeting of the Economic Club of Pittsburgh in cooperation with the British American Business Council - Pittsburgh Chapter.

The Dec. 15 event will be held at the Omni William Penn Hotel, 530 William Penn Place, Downtown, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Tickets are $30 for members, $40 for non-members and $20 for students. Tables of eight are $220. Reservations are required. For reservations, send email to reservations@econclubpgh.org.

During the interview excerpted here, Lord Jones also touched on several other topics.

On Pittsburgh’s economic transformation:

“It was this enormous steel manufacturing entity and it’s now an exemplar for health care, universities, for tomorrow’s knowledge-based economy, and so many other developing world cities, and quite a few in America actually, don’t do it – they don’t put the ball in the net. They don’t actually get there.”

The importance of the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit:

“I think hosting the G-20 Summit could be nothing but good. People didn’t talk about the G-20 being held in America, they talked about the G-20 being held in Pittsburgh. That means that sadly some people said ‘Where’s that?’ but that’s great because it means you’ve converted more people to knowing where it is - that’s good. And secondly to those who know Pittsburgh, they can say that’s changed and that’s excellent. And to the citizens of Pittsburgh, now they think, ‘Hey, we matter,’ and you can’t effect change without basic morale. You need the citizens of the city to think, ‘Hey, this is mine,’ and I think it did that big time.”

On the benefits of a global economy:

“America got richer after she was no longer a colony, and turned out to be the U.K.’s biggest investor and our biggest consumer (after it became a global economic power). There is no reason whatsoever that an India or a Brazil or a China can’t be same for America and for Pittsburgh. What you need is courageous leadership.”

On opportunities created by the green movement:

“Once America starts to solve that issue by the use of knowledge and funded research, the world had better watch out because she’s the one that can solve this. It puts the gantlet down to China and India and says we got rich polluting the world, and we’re going to help you get rich without polluting the world, and Pittsburgh has set the way. It’s the sort of city that has said ‘You can do it.’

“I was in Wuhan, China, which is a city of 12 million people, and it’s terribly polluted. I said we’ve got to enable you to become rich by being clean, so watch a city that’s done it, and that’s Pittsburgh. I didn’t even know that (Wuhan was Pittsburgh’s sister city). How’s that for an unsolicited endorsement?”

(Parts of this interview appeared in the Pittsburgh Business Times on Dec. 4, 2009)
READ FULL ARTICLE

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Corporate-Academic Alliance Formed to Promote Pittsburgh Region as Global Energy Leader

The newly formed Energy Alliance of Southwestern Pennsylvania will advance a regional energy strategy by coordinating with existing activities and organizations to improve the climate for energy industry success and job creation.

Guided by CEOs of 14 energy-related firms and universities, and staffed primarily by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Innovation Works, the Alliance will be a virtual organization focused on developing and executing a strategy for Pittsburgh regional energy industry growth.

The Alliance was announced at the Dec. 1 Annual Meeting of the Allegheny Conference.

Through shared policy, advocacy, project coordination, company funding as well as communications and marketing efforts, the Alliance will position the southwestern Pennsylvania region as a global leader in energy innovation, production and related manufacturing.

In so doing, it will assist the growth of the energy industry in the region's economy - retaining existing jobs, creating new ones and enabling prosperity for all residents.

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Economy League conducted an analysis of the energy industry in southwestern Pennsylvania and identified seven sectors in which the region's strengths are already greater than other regions around the country.

The Energy Alliance will include activity in all seven:
- Traditional Energy
- Coal
- Natural Gas
- Nuclear
- Alternative Energy
- Solar Wind
- Conservation and Distribution Systems
- Transmission & Distribution
- Intelligent Building Technologies

"With strengths across a diversified energy industry, our region is in an excellent position to execute a comprehensive strategy of economic growth and job creation," said Allegheny Conference Chair John P. Surma.

"We’re proud to join with the Conference in creating the Alliance and offering guidance, support and funding for the latest innovations in energy," said Innovation Works CEO Rich Lunak. "Our energy sector holds great promise for the commercialization of technologies that will help meet the world’s energy challenges. Innovation Works has a strong track record in developing start-up companies and bringing products to market. We’re looking forward to the contributions we can make to growing our region’s energy economy."

The announcement follows on an open letter issued earlier this year as G-20 leaders convened here to discuss the global economy. On Wednesday, September 23, 2009, an unprecedented group of Pittsburgh-based energy companies and universities stepped forward to share their commitment to our growing energy economy.

In an open letter in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the leadership from all seven sectors and the universities acknowledged the growing global energy demand and pledged to find the solutions to the world’s energy challenges together. “We believe that Pittsburgh will play a leading role in creating the new energy economy,” they said.

(CLICK HERE to read the open letter.)


The formation of the Energy Alliance demonstrates the commitment of business leaders across the seven components of the energy sector to work together to provide sustainable energy solutions, said Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky.

"Pittsburgh’s historic spirit of collaboration, diversity of energy resources and innovation know-how uniquely positions our region to create and implement a 21st century energy economy," he said.

"Energy companies, universities and organizations within our region bring two critical abilities to helping meet the world’s energy challenges. Our expertise in materials science, engineering, and nuclear energy can make the extraction and use of traditional energy sources cleaner and more efficient. Our historic strength in innovation holds great potential for developing distributed energy generation and delivery models, pioneering intelligent building systems, and finding cost-effective alternative technology solutions," Yablonsky said.

The energy sector in the Pittsburgh region is responsible for:
- A $13.7 billion contribution to our regional Gross Domestic Product
- Ten percent of our regional economy 105,000 direct/indirect jobs
- One-fourth of 2009 business expansion projects and
- More than $1 billion in public and private R&D annually

Southwestern Pennsylvania sits atop extensive energy industry resources including coal and the natural gas from within the Marcellus Shale.

According to a recent Penn State University report (CLICK HERE to view report), the Marcellus Shale is the largest unconventional natural gas reserve in the world with recoverable reserves estimated to be at least 489 trillion cubic feet.

In 2008, the Marcellus gas industry in Pennsylvania generated $2.3 billion in total value added and more than 29,000 jobs. The pace of development and extraction is expected to increase and by 2020, the Marcellus Shale activity is forecast to be generating $13.5 billion in value added and almost 175,000 jobs.

The region is also well positioned in its innovation resources as they include the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), one of a handful of federal Department of Energy research centers nationwide and the only one devoted to fossil fuel research including the future of carbon capture and sequestration.

READ FULL ARTICLE

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

British-Owned Conveyor Belt Maker Relocates Corporate Headquarters to Pittsburgh from Atlanta - Boosts Region's Energy Sector

Fenner Dunlop Americas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fenner PLC, a UK public company, has moved its corporate headquarters to the Pittsburgh area from suburban Atlanta.

The company said it wanted to be close to its North American belting product manufacturing facilities in both Ohio and Canada, as well as to key locations in newly acquired service businesses – including Conveyor Service Corporation in Blairsville, Indiana County, which it acquired last year – and major customer regions.

"Operating from Pittsburgh puts Fenner Dunlop at the heart of its North American business, allowing for optimal business management," said Cassandra Pan, president of Fenner Dunlop Americas. "We’re close to where it’s all happening and closer to our customers."

The headquarters relocation is expected to create approximately 40 jobs including several executives relocating from Atlanta and several new local hires. In addition to the efforts of the local commercial real estate firm NAI Pittsburgh, other development partners including the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Allegheny County Economic Development and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance worked collaboratively in support of this business investment win.

The company plans to lease 15,000 square feet of office space in the Omega Corporate Center in Robinson Township.

Founded in 1861 in the UK, the company primarily manufactured leather belting. Today, Fenner Dunlop has operations across Europe, North and South America, Australia, China, India and South Africa and attributes much of its substantial growth to a number of major acquisitions over the last 30 years.

Fenner Dunlop provides total conveyor belt solutions to the coal and hard rock mining industry for surface and underground mines worldwide. As such a provider, the company is now integrated into the Pittsburgh region’s energy economy, which comprises innovation leadership and supply chain expertise across traditional and alternative energy sectors.

One of these sectors is coal — a fossil fuel found in ample supply in the Pittsburgh region, where public and private R&D abounds to advance clean coal technology. CONSOL Energy Inc., world-headquartered in Washington County, is the largest producer of high-Btu bituminous coal in the United States and a major customer of Fenner Dunlop.

"Fenner Dunlop conveyor belts and the steel structures on which the belts ride are the principal ways that CONSOL moves coal from its mines. We have literally hundreds of miles of Fenner Dunlop belting in our mines, as well as overland belts. These allow CONSOL to meet its customers’ demands for coal - a fuel staple now and for the future," said CONSOL Energy CEO Brett Harvey, who also chairs the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance Partnership.

"CONSOL Energy is pleased that one of its major vendors has made the decision to join the almost 800 energy-related companies that call the Pittsburgh region home," he said.

"During the recent Pittsburgh [G-20] Summit, President Obama hailed Pittsburgh for its transformation to a model 21st-century economy. That economy includes leadership related to energy—both traditional and alternative," said Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

"Our innovative edge, coupled with a historic expertise in manufacturing, is amassing a diverse and robust energy supply chain in the region. For that and other reasons, companies like Fenner Dunlop have strategically selected southwestern Pennsylvania – a place gaining recognition as the nation’s new energy capital. From Pittsburgh, these companies are operating to supply the resources, products and components that will ultimately influence the delivery of energy – not only domestically, but globally – in efficient and more sustainable ways," he said.

With the mining industry as a primary customer, Fenner Dunlop also recognizes that the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Pittsburgh Safety and Health Technology Center in Bruceton, PA – just south of Pittsburgh – played a part in the company’s relocation decision.

"Nationally and internationally, conveyor belt fire safety in underground mines is a critical concern," Pan said. "Fenner Denlop is at the forefront of belt fire safety and believes it’s strategic to be close to the organization that is uniquely influencing standards compliance around our core business."

While Fenner Dunlop’s conveyor belting operations are largely reliant on the mining industry, the company has also developed a range of belting-related products including moving walkways, parcel handling, plasterboard forming belts, stable matting and agricultural equipment.

More information is available at www.fennerdunlopamericas.com.
READ FULL ARTICLE

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lord Digby Jones, Former British Trade Minister, to Speak Dec. 15 on "Global Innovation: Building Synergies in Tough Economic Times"

Lord Digby Jones, former British Trade Minister, will speak Dec. 15 on the topic of "Global Innovation: Building Synergies in Tough Economic Times" at the luncheon meeting of the Economic Club of Pittsburgh in cooperation with the British American Business Council - Pittsburgh Chapter.

Lord Jones was formerly Minister for Trade and Investment at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and at the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory from June 2007 to October 2008.

He served as Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the UK’s "Voice of Business," from 2000 to 2006, where he regularly visited businesses in the UK and worldwide, taking their views back to those who make the rules.

The Dec. 15 event will be held at the Omni William Penn Hotel, 530 William Penn Place, Downtown, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Tickets are $30 for members, $40 for non-members and $20 for students. Tables of eight are $220. Reservations are required. For reservations, send email to reservations@econclubpgh.org.

During his appointment he took the British business message to 70 different countries. He met on a regular basis political, business and media figures in the United Kingdom and around the world. From 2006-2007 he advised Deloitte, Jaguar, JCB, Barclays Capital and CSC. In addition he was a private adviser to HRH the Duke of York and was the UK Government's Skills Envoy.

In 1998 Lord Jones joined KPMG as vice chairman of Corporate Finance, acting as close adviser to many public companies across the United Kingdom and in KPMG’s global markets. He is a Corporate Ambassador for the Cancer Research UK Corporate Ambassadors and is a Fellow of UNICEF. He is also a non Executive Director of Leicester Tigers Rugby Club.

Lord Jones is married to Pat and they divide their time between homes in Warwickshire and London. In his spare time he takes a keen interest in military history, having visited the sites of many famous battles throughout the world.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Pittsburgh-Area Preschool Readies Children for a Diverse World; Staff Researching Conflict Management in Chinese, U.S. Classrooms

A growing preschool in the Pittsburgh region is preparing youngsters to live and learn in a global society. The Heart Prints Center for Early Education in Cranberry emphasizes cultural awareness and conflict management in a program designed to ready children for a lifetime of learning.

Heart Prints, located in the Regional Learning Alliance in the Cranberry Woods Office Park, stands apart from other early childhood education programs in that it embraces and celebrates diversity each and every day -- diversity in race and nationality; in special needs; and in the individual talents and interests of the children.

Teachers support each child’s individuality while also introducing the class to art techniques from around the world, music and literature of different cultures, foreign language and other experiences from the world beyond their front doors.

"At Heart Prints, we focus on more than the requirements for Kindergarten," says Heart Prints Executive Director Ellen Homitsky. "We believe in creating lifelong learners who enjoy learning, who are supported as they begin to learn how to express their needs and ideas while respecting the needs and ideas of others."

In support of their mission to support cultural awareness and conflict management, the Heart Prints staff are involved in an ongoing research project in conjunction with Carlow University and the All-China Women’s Federation to study conflict management in early childhood settings in the United States and China.

The All-China Women’s Federation is an organization that educates and serves women and families throughout China. Homitsky, who is an Adjunct Professor of Early Education at Carlow University, says researchers are preparing the study’s findings for publication and hope they will lead to a greater understanding of how to help children prepare to manage conflict as adults, especially conflicts between people of different cultures.

The Heart Prints staff traveled to China in October 2008 to visit schools and meet with their Chinese counterparts involved in the study. Students are already benefitting from what their teachers learned about China, through classroom explorations of art, language, music and literature. The research trip also supported a week-long summer camp where children studied several traditional forms of Chinese art and learned Chinese words and children’s games.

The Heart Prints school promotes early literacy and numeracy learning as well as the social and emotional aspects of early childhood development. The program incorporates several highly respected approaches to early childhood education that support and encourage creativity, imagination and problem-solving through the arts, sensory experiences and large and small motor activities.

Heart Prints opened in 2005 and quickly grew to its present enrollment of over 60 students. The school expanded into new space for the 2009-10 school year and is now offering a new K-Plus class for Kindergarten age students to enrich more traditional curriculum, as well as a Come Play With Me class for toddlers and their caregivers. Heart Prints offers full and half-day preschool, after-school enrichment classes and summer camps for children ages 3 to 6.

An open house and curriculum night are scheduled for Wednesday Dec. 2, 6-9 p.m. at the school, 850 Cranberry Woods Drive, Suite 1227, Cranberry Township, PA 16066. More information is available by calling 724-741-1008 or visiting www.cranberryheartprints.com.

- Kimberly Capozzi

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Canonsburg-Based Aquatech Awarded Seawater Desalination and Industrial Water Reuse Projects in Egypt

Canonsburg-based Aquatech has been awarded a contract to design and supply a seawater desalination system for the Abu Qir Thermal Power Plant in Egypt.

The client, West Delta Electricity Production Co., specified Aquatech’s Multiple Effect Distillation (MED) technology for uninterrupted water supply to boilers after carefully studying all available desalination technology options, the company said.

The desalination facility at Abu Qir comprises two MED units, each with a capacity of 5,000 cubic meters per day, and will supply 10,000 cubic meters of fresh water a day to the power station's boilers and other users, the company said.

Aquatech’s MED technology has been developed and improved over decades of in-house research and onsite experience worldwide and will provide an environmentally friendly solution keeping in mind a reduced carbon footprint.

Located near Alexandria, Egypt, the plant will use seawater from the Mediterranean Sea to produce fresh water, and will use plant steam to provide energy to operate the desalination units.

Earlier this year Aquatech was awarded an industrial wastewater reuse project for a chemical facility by TCI Sanmar Chemicals LLC, located at Port Said, also in Egypt. The system will be for the treatment and reuse of various wastewater streams generated from the process units.

The reuse system consists of the patented High Efficiency Reverse Osmosis (HERO™) process which can withstand various impurities such as oil, grease, and organic constituents. The system will have a capacity of 8,500 cubic meters per day, and will recover over 90 percent of the water suitable for use within the complex for various processes.

Aquatech has previously demonstrated the advantages of its HERO™ technology in projects for the recycle and reuse of water from effluents of refineries, power plants, petrochemical complexes, oil field produced water, and treated sewage, with recoveries exceeding 94 percent in some installations.

Aquatech is a global leader in water purification technology for industrial and infrastructure markets with a focus on desalination, water reuse, and zero liquid discharge. The company is headquartered in Canonsburg and has offices throughout North America and significant presence worldwide through subsidiaries in Europe, the Middle East, India, and China.

Go to the company's website at www.aquatech.com.


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Vietnam Ambassador Hails Universities, Sustainability Lessons Among Pittsburgh's Most Valuable Exports

Pittsburgh's colleges and universities, and the intellectual force behind them, represent one of the region's most valuable assets and most desirable export commodities, in the opinion of Michael W. Michalak, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, who visited the city recently to meet with leaders of the academic, energy and technology communities.

"I was very impressed with the (city's) educational platform, with the whole educational park (in the Oakland area), where you have a number of universities, all with cross-registration programs and very strong international commitments," he said at the end of his visit earlier this month, which was hosted by GlobalPittsburgh. "That could represent a great export opportunity for Pittsburgh."

Vietnam is suffering from a lack of high-quality education programs, Michalak said, and is seeking to develop western-style university programs to improve economic and social opportunities for its citizens.

The Ambassador said he has encouraged representatives of local higher learning institutions to send a small delegation to an education conference in Vietnam scheduled for mid-January. Several local universities already are working to develop partnerships with universities in Vietnam.

Also of interest to Vietnam are Pittsburgh's lessons on environmental transformation, Michalak said.

"There would be short-term and long-term opportunities to take Vietnam down a more sustainable path," he said. "Vietnam's environmental consciousness is in the process of being raised. We have seen more citizen protests, and they are looking at how to tighten up their own regulatory frameworks to stem the tide of pollution and become more sustainable."

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ADDITIONAL PHOTOS


GlobalPittsburgh arranged numerous meetings for Ambassador Michalak, including sessions with top leaders from key corporations and research institutions, as well as with heads of many of Pittsburgh’s colleges and universities, according to GlobalPittsburgh President Roger Cranville.

"Vietnam is interested in creating partnerships with and learning lessons from Pittsburgh in the field of education, as well as in the energy and technology sectors," Cranville said. "Welcoming Ambassador Michalak to Pittsburgh is a very important step in developing these partnerships, which will be of great benefit to the Pittsburgh region."

Ambassador Michalak started his visit with a morning session at Chatham University with regional academic leaders to discuss the Ambassador's focus on education in Vietnam, including opportunities to build bridges between Vietnamese and American institutions of higher learning, and to explore opportunities for student recruiting and exchanges, cooperation and collaboration. Vietnam is now the fastest-growing foreign student market in the United States and currently ranks 20th among all countries sending students to the United States.

Later in the day, the Ambassador delivered a lecture titled “U.S.-Vietnam Relationships, Education Links, and Technology Opportunities” at the University of Pittsburgh. The lecture was presented by the Asian Studies Center of the University of Pittsburgh in conjunction with numerous other campus departments.

Ambassador Michalak offered his ideas on the U.S.- Vietnam political and economic relationship, as well as the importance of educational links between the U.S and Vietnam. He discussed faculty & student exchange, executive training, and university collaboration. Other topics will include priority technologies, products and service needs in Vietnam, including intellectual property security.

A career foreign service officer with extensive knowledge and experience in Asia, Michalak was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam on August 10, 2007. Prior to that, he served as the U.S. Senior Official to APEC, Bureau of East Asia Pacific Affairs.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Ambassador Michalak received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Physics from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., and Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., respectively. He received a second Master's degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. He speaks Chinese and Japanese.

GlobalPittsburgh works with the U.S. Department of State and other international organizations to arrange and coordinate visits by foreign individuals and delegations interested in learning more about Pittsburgh’s centers of excellence, including energy, technology, health sciences, green design and education, and in studying the region’s economic and environmental transformation.

For 50 years, GlobalPittsburgh (formerly the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors) has welcomed volunteers and hosts to act as tour guides, dinner hosts, home stay hosts and drivers for visiting delegations and individuals. For more information about GlobalPittsburgh programs, visit www.GlobalPittsburgh.org, call 412-392-4513 or send email to info@pciv.org.

For further information about Ambassador Michalak’s visit, contact Thomas Buell, Jr., VP-Communications, at 412-720-2218 or tcbuell@versopartners.com.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration for GlobalPittsburgh, Formerly Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors - Dec. 21, 2009 at LeMont Restaurant

Please join us for the 50th Anniversary celebration for the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors, now called GlobalPittsburgh, on Monday, December 21, 2009 at LeMont Restaurant on Mt. Washington.

This event will look back at the rich history of the organization and provide an evening of music and cultural entertainment. We will celebrate PCIV’s 50 years of hosting international visitors and its new expanded role as GlobalPittsburgh. You will be able to catch up with old friends and meet many new ones, all with a grand view of the city skyline and a delicious dinner. This will be a great networking opportunity!

This will be a very special evening for our host families, International Bridge Award winners, supporters, donors, and guests as we celebrate together the first 50 years of global civic engagement and community connections. Tickets for the 50th at LeMont will be $50 per person with a cash bar.

You won’t want to miss it, so please act now since seating is limited. Please see the attached flyer for details and ticket information, and call Gail Shrott if you have any questions at 412-392-4513.

CLICK HERE for printable reservation form (PDF) READ FULL ARTICLE

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama Meets Students in Shanghai; Says World Urgently Watching US-China Talks

SHANGHAI - President Barack Obama declared Monday the world is urgently watching for a "meeting of the minds" between the U.S. and China as he meets with President Hu Jintao on the globe's biggest issues — climate change, economic recession, nuclear proliferation and more, the Associated Press reported.

Obama also prodded China about Internet controls and free speech, but his message was not widely heard in the country because his words were drastically limited online and shown on just one regional television channel.

In his first visit here, Obama is strongly suggesting that China, now a giant in economic impact as well as territory, must take a bigger role on the world stage — part of "burden of leadership" it shares with the United States.

"I will tell you, other countries around the world will be waiting for us," Obama said in an American-style town-hall discussion with Chinese university students in Shanghai, where he spent a day before flying to China's capital for a state visit with President Hu.

"I believe cooperation must go beyond our government. It must be rooted in our people — in the studies we share, in the business that we do, the knowledge that we gain, and even in the sports that we play," the U.S. president said.

Obama said the United States is not seeking to impose any system of government on any other nation, "but we also don't believe that the principles we stand for are unique to our nation."

"These freedoms of expression and worship, of access to information, and political participation, we believe are universal rights," he said. "They should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any other nation."

The town hall meeting showed how difficult it is for the governments to work together. The U.S. initially requested a larger venue and a live broadcast on a major network. In the end, Chinese officials put the event on the eastern fringes of the city. Only local Shanghai TV carried it live, though it was streamed on two popular Internet portals and on the White House's Web site, which is not censored.

Eager to achieve a successful summit, the two leaders were likely to avoid public spats on economic issues. With America's budget deficit soaring to a yearly record of $1.42 trillion, China is the No. 1 lender to Washington and has expressed concern that the falling price of the dollar threatens the value of its U.S. holdings.
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Monday, November 9, 2009

New Canadian Consul General Visiting Pittsburgh This Week, Highlighting Key Relationships With Region

Marta Moszczenska, Canada's new Consul General for the region including Pittsburgh, will travel to the city this week to visit local officials, companies and organizations with interests in Canada.

Moszczenska replaces Consul General Steve Brereton, who has assumed a new post as Canadian Consul General in Atlanta. She has most recently served as Ambassador of Canada to Romania, with concurrent accreditation to Bulgaria and Moldova, and High Commissioner to Cyprus.

"We are honored to have Consul General Moszczenska coming to Pittsburgh," said Roger Cranville, Honorary Consul to Canada for Western Pennsylvania. "The relationship between Canada and the Greater Pittsburgh region is a very significant one, and one that provides great benefits in terms of jobs and economic impact."

This area exports more than $2.1 billion worth of goods and services to Canada every year, which results in tens of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in related business activity, Cranville said.

Recent trade figures show that Canada remained by far the largest customer for Pennsylvania exports, with more than $9.2 billion worth of goods shipped north of the border each year.

Exports from Pennsylvania to Canada exceeded shipments to the next seven countries combined – Mexico, China, Japan, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany and The Netherlands.

Some other recent trade facts:
- 295,250 Pennsylvania jobs are supported by Canada–U.S. trade
- Canada buys more than a third of Pennsylvania’s exports
- Canadians made more than 696,900 visits to the state, spending $118 million

Moszczenska is based in the Canadian Consulate General in Buffalo, which administers immigration, trade, consular and public affairs programs across Upstate New York, western and central Pennsylvania and West Virginia. CLICK HERE to visit the Consulate's website.

She joined the Canadian Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce in 1977 as a Commercial Officer. In 1985, she became a Foreign Service officer with the Department of External Affairs and International Trade and later served abroad in Milan and in Boston as a Trade Commissioner.

In Ottawa, she had several assignments in trade policy and with the Program for Export Market Development. She also served as Departmental Assistant to the Minister for International Trade and as Deputy Director, Trade Development Liaison and Special Projects Division.

From 1994 to 1996, Moszczenska was Director, Rotational Administrative Personnel Division. Between 1996 and 1999, she served as Counsellor (Commercial) and Consul at the Embassy of Canada in Indonesia. From 1999 to 2002, she served as Canada’s Ambassador to Hungary, with concurrent accreditation to Slovenia. From 2002 to 2006, she was Director of the Central European, Baltic and Eastern Mediterranean Division.
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Friday, November 6, 2009

GlobalPittsburgh® Coordinating Local Visit of U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Nov. 10-11

GlobalPittsburgh® will host the Honorable Michael W. Michalak, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, for a two-day visit to Pittsburgh Nov. 10-11, 2009, highlighted by meetings with leaders of the academic, energy and technology communities.

GlobalPittsburgh has arranged numerous meetings for Ambassador Michalak, including sessions with top leaders from key corporations and research institutions, as well as with heads of many of Pittsburgh’s colleges and universities, according to GlobalPittsburgh President Roger Cranville.

"Vietnam is interested in creating partnerships with and learning lessons from Pittsburgh in the field of education, as well as in the energy and technology sectors," Cranville said. "Welcoming Ambassador Michalak to Pittsburgh is a very important step in developing these partnerships, which will be of great benefit to the Pittsburgh region."

Ambassador Michalak will start his visit with a morning session at Chatham University with regional academic leaders to discuss the Ambassador's focus on education in Vietnam, including opportunities to build bridges between Vietnamese and American institutions of higher learning, and to explore opportunities for student recruiting and exchanges, cooperation and collaboration. Vietnam is now the fastest-growing foreign student market in the United States and currently ranks 20th among all countries sending students to the United States.

Later in the day, the Ambassador will deliver a lecture titled “U.S.-Vietnam Relationships, Education Links, and Technology Opportunities” at the University of Pittsburgh. The lecture is presented by the Asian Studies Center of the University of Pittsburgh in conjunction with numerous other campus departments.

Ambassador Michalak will offer his ideas on the U.S.- Vietnam political and economic relationship, as well as the importance of educational links between the U.S and Vietnam. He will discuss faculty & student exchange, executive training, and university collaboration. Other topics will include priority technologies, products and service needs in Vietnam, including intellectual property security.

A career foreign service officer with extensive knowledge and experience in Asia, Michalak was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam on August 10, 2007. Prior to that, he served as the U.S. Senior Official to APEC, Bureau of East Asia Pacific Affairs.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Ambassador Michalak received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Physics from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., and Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., respectively. He received a second Master's degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. He speaks Chinese and Japanese.

GlobalPittsburgh works with the U.S. Department of State and other international organizations to arrange and coordinate visits by foreign individuals and delegations interested in learning more about Pittsburgh’s centers of excellence, including energy, technology, health sciences, green design and education, and in studying the region’s economic and environmental transformation.

For 50 years, GlobalPittsburgh (formerly the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors) has welcomed volunteers and hosts to act as tour guides, dinner hosts, home stay hosts and drivers for visiting delegations and individuals. For more information about GlobalPittsburgh programs, visit www.GlobalPittsburgh.org, call 412-392-4513 or send email to info@pciv.org.

For further information about Ambassador Michalak’s visit, contact Thomas Buell, Jr., VP-Communications, at 412-720-2218 or tcbuell@versopartners.com.

READ FULL ARTICLE

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Town Meeting Tonight to Cover Health Care Issues in U.S. and Other Countries; Free, but Registration Required

Seldom has a national debate so captured the public's attention as the Washington maneuverings on health care, which comprises about one-seventh of the nation's economy. The effort to overhaul the country's health-care system reaches into every home, with potentially profound effects on businesses, hospitals and families.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's fourth town meeting is designed to shine a light onto not only how Americans finance their health care but also how other countries do so. With a top-level panel of experts and writers, this evening's event will be informative--and provocative.

Wednesday, November 4 • 6:30 - 8:00 PM

Heinz History Center
Free Admission • Registration is Required
Call 412-263-3850 to Register



Introduction by Jim Rohr, Chairman & CEO, PNC


Moderator: David Shribman
Executive Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Executive editor since 2003. Former assistant managing editor, columnist and Washington bureau chief at the Boston Globe. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1995.

Panelists:


T.R. Reid
Author, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care

Washington Post correspondent and New York Times bestselling author T. R. Reid explores health-care systems around the world in an effort to understand why the U.S. remains the only first world nation to refuse its citizens universal health care. His book dissects the rhetoric surrounding the health care debate and finds models around the world that Americans can borrow.
Robert Kormos, M.D.
Director, UPMC Artificial Heart Program
Co-Director, UPMC Heart Transplant Program

A native of Canada, Dr. Kormos completed residencies in neurosurgery, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at Toronto General Hospital and provides Canadian health care perspective. In addition to director of UPMC's heart transplant program, he is professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and medical director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Leslie C. Davis
President, Magee-Womens Hospital

Provides national perspective as president of Magee and as an executive at medical centers including Mt. Sinai Medical Center (NY), Thomas Jefferson University, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Tenet Pennsylvania. She also serves as Vice President of Women’s Health Services at UPMC and is UPMC's representative to the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania.
Mark Roth
Staff Writer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Returned to full-time writing in 2005 after 20 years as an editor at the Post-Gazette. Was the newspaper's first science editor, and 1988-2005, served as city editor, assistant managing editor for news, and as an editor in charge of special issues, investigative stories and long-term projects. His monthly series The Thinkers focuses on the region's brightest researchers and progressive leaders.

PARKING:
Alco lot with entrance at 12th and Smallman across from the restaurant Eleven. Parking: $4

EVENT LOCATION:
Mueller Education Center, 5th floor

QUESTIONS:
Question cards will be distributed to attendees and collected during the program. PG editors will select questions to be asked of panelists.

REGISTRATION:
Attendance is free but registration is required. Call 412-263-3850 to register.

TOWN MEETING SERIES:
PNC and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will host a series of five town meetings this year. This series will examine the new era and its promise in the Pittsburgh region across a wide range of areas, from politics to the economy, from the arts to education, from health care to technology, from demographics to diversity. This yearlong series of free town meetings will help shape the conversation of Pittsburgh as we move into a new age. Whether it's called an exercise in community education or participatory democracy, the Post-Gazette hopes readers will call each Town meeting a date to circle on their calendars as each is announced.

Presented By:


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Friday, October 30, 2009

Support GlobalPittsburgh With Your Holiday Shopping Purchases - Merchants Donate a Percentage of Your Online Orders - No Cost to You!

With the holiday season approaching, we have a tremendous opportunity to raise additional funds for GlobalPittsburgh — but it requires your help. It won’t cost you a penny.

We've partnered with We-Care.com to offer the We-Care Reminder. It allows us to receive a donation whenever you shop online at hundreds of participating merchants — at no extra cost to you. Whenever you visit a participating merchant, you’ll be given the option to have a donation made.

The Reminder is a browser extension for Internet Explorer and Firefox. It takes less than a minute to install on your computer. It's a breeze to download, and it works great!

There are three things you can do to help:

* Go to http://globalpittsburgh.We-Care.com/Start, take a minute to register, and then download the We-Care Reminder for Firefox or Internet Explorer. Make sure it loads correctly (it will ask to restart your browser) and then forget about it. It works automatically.
* Ask your friends and family to do the same, even if it's only forwarding this email.
* If you blog, tweet, use Facebook, or are involved in any form of social media, use it to spread the word!

Together, we can turn money already being spent on gifts into support for our work.

It only takes a few clicks, so please do it before you close this blog post. To get started, just visit http://globalpittsburgh.We-Care.com/Start.

P.S. If you’re reading this at work, please forward it to your personal email account to make sure you install the Reminder at home.

For access to more merchants; exclusive, money-saving offers; and the ability to track your donations, you can visit our Online Mall at http://globalpittsburgh.we-care.com.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cuban Pediatric Transplant Team Hosted by Pittsburgh-Based Global Links in First U.S. Visit

In a first-ever visit to the United States, a team of pediatric transplant surgeons from Cuba is spending a week in Pittsburgh meeting with and observing transplant surgeons and medical staff at the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

The historic visit extends through Oct. 31 and is being hosted by Global Links, a nonprofit organization that works to improve health in developing countries through collaboration with hospitals and health institutions in our region to recover and redirect surplus materials to medical facilities in developing countries.

The team will spend several days at Children’s Hospital, observing procedures, making rounds, meeting with specialists and nurses, and discussing techniques and protocols. The team will also be the guest of honor at a luncheon hosted by Senator Jim Ferlo.

The visiting team includes Dr. Ramon Villamil, transplant surgeon, and director of the transplant center at William Soler Hospital in Havana, the national Cuban reference hospital for pediatrics.

"At a meeting in Cuba last May, Dr. Villamil shared that he decided to become a transplant surgeon after reading Dr. Thomas Starzl’s autobiography, and that he and the rest of the team had long wanted to visit with transplant surgeons in Pittsburgh, which has an international reputation for leadership and excellence in this field," says Global Links Executive Director Kathleen Hower. "That visit sparked our efforts to bring the team here, and they are very much looking forward to the opportunity to meet with surgical teams and observe activities at the transplant center at Children’s."

In addition to Dr. Villamil, the visiting delegation includes Dr. Luis Orlando Rodríguez, MD, Urologist and General Director of Hospital Pediátrico William Soler, and members of the hospital’s transplant team, Dr. Cesar Silverio García, MD, hepatologist and gastroenterologist; Dr. Alioth Fernández Valle, MD, anesthesiologist and Chief of Anesthesia; and Daisy García Gutiérrez, surgical nurse.

Children’s Hospital established the nation’s first comprehensive pediatric transplant center in 1981 under the guidance of transplant pioneer Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD. The hospital has performed more pediatric transplants than any other pediatric center and Children’s transplant team, under the leadership of George V. Mazariegos, MD, achieves patient survival rates that are among the highest in the world. Children’s Hospital is also recognized as a leader in transplantation-related research.

Global Links provides more medical aid to Cuba than any other aid organization in the United States, and this year marks the 15th year of their Cuba Medical Aid Program. In the 15 years since Global Links began it historic program in Cuba, more than $83 million of materials and 90 sea container shipments have been delivered to Cuba.

In 2008, Global Links mounted a major Cuban hurricane relief effort raising $600,000 and providing more than 15 containers that were dispersed to some of the most severely affected provinces of Cuba. Global Links is continuing disaster relief efforts into 2010.

Global Links credits the Pan American Health Organizations/World Health Organization for assistance in acquiring permission to travel and U.S. Visas for the surgical team.

For more information on Global Links, call 412.361.3424 or go to www.globallinks.org.

For more information about the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation, go to www.chp.edu/CHP/transplant.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Support GlobalPittsburgh on Match Day TODAY - Pittsburgh Foundation Will Match Donations 50 Cents on the Dollar - PRE-REGISTER NOW!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Wednesday, Oct. 28 to visit www.PittsburghGives.org – a Day of Giving organized by the Pittsburgh Foundation where any gift $50 - $2,500 will be matched 50 cents to the dollar!

Please consider making a gift to GlobalPittsburgh (formerly Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors) and secure that match! Please also forward this to your family and friends to encourage their participation. Through the Day of Giving, the Pittsburgh Foundation has dedicated $300,000 to this project. This is a fantastic opportunity for GlobalPittsburgh/PCIV to raise some much needed funds! Please be aware that this match will end when those funds run out, and it could happen in the first half-hour! That's why it's so important to register ahead of time, and to act quickly on the 28th.

How to Participate:
Make sure to register BEFORE Oct. 28th to allow your giving process to be as easy as possible. The $300,000 available in matching funds is expected to go VERY quickly.
1. Go to http://www.PittsburghGives.org.
2. Click "Login" on top right-hand side of page.
3. Click "Create Login." Fill in information and click "Register."
4. Fill in the appropriate information and then write down your username and password so you can easily find it on Oct 28th.
5. Set a reminder for yourself for October 28th at 10 a.m.

On October 28 at 10 a.m. SHARP (and not before):
1. Use your username and password to login to PittsburghGives.org.
2. Type in "Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors" where it says "Organization Name."
3. Click "Donate Now" and follow the instructions to complete your secure online donation. Contributions of $50 or more will be matched 50 cents for every dollar. If the match funds are exhausted, you will be notified and asked if you wish to proceed. Yes, you can still say YES!
4. You will receive a confirmation email that will serve as your tax receipt.
5. Every $50 you donate will entitle you to a ticket to GlobalPittsburgh's 50th Anniversary Celebration on Dec. 21, 2009 at LeMont Restaurant on Mt. Washington. More details about that later.
Thanks! READ FULL ARTICLE

Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween Party With International Flavor Oct. 30 at the New Hazlett Theater - Dias de los Muertos

The New Hazlett Theater on Pittsburgh's North Side will hold a Halloween @ the Hazlett fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 30. The six-hour event will be themed to offer a modern take on the sacred holidays of Days of the Dead.

A VIP Fiesta from 8-10 p.m. will be followed by an All Souls Party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

El Dias de los Muertos is a festival of "welcome" for the souls of the dead. The celebration is prepared and enjoyed by the living and honors those who have passed. The customs surrounding this celebration are based on ancient traditions traced to the Aztec civilization in Mexico. The belief is that the souls of the deceased return each year to enjoy, for a few brief hours, the pleasures they once knew in life.

The night will feature all the rituals of traditional Days of the Dead celebrations, a dead celebrity contest judged by local celebrities, a day-glo art exhibit, and live performances by Attack Theatre, AWC Dance Ensemble, NAKA Entertainment, Vanessa German and Greer Reed-Jones.

Guests will be tempted with delicious delights by Bob Sendall's All in Good Taste Productions and many local favorite restaurants accompanied by thirst-quenching libations and a signature drink.

Tickets for the VIP Fiesta are $75 in advance/$100 at the door, and include admission to the All Souls Party. Tickets for the All Souls Party are $25 in advance/$35 at the door. All proceeds benefit the New Hazlett Theater's charitable mission to cultivate the arts and serve as a world-class venue for performance. FREE parking at the Children's Museum.

More information at www.newhazletttheater.org. READ FULL ARTICLE