Friday, March 4, 2011

GlobalPittsburgh Hosting Group of Environmental Policymakers From Kazakhstan Studying Pittsburgh Region's Environmental Revitalization

GlobalPittsburgh recently hosted a group of environmental policy makers from Kazakhstan who came to study environmental programs and projects in the Pittsburgh region. The five Kazakh leaders arrived Feb. 26 and stayed to March 6.

The group came to Pittsburgh through the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, which enables emerging Eurasian political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at the local level.

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

The delegates, who included municipal and federal ministry officials, shared with their U.S. Counterparts environmental initiatives in Kazakhstan aimed at promoting cleaner air and water, brownfield remediation, cleaning up chemical and industrial waste, and how they’re dealing with environmental challenges.

Through the Open World program, the delegates and their U.S. Counterparts were able to learn new ways to protect the environment while benefiting the local and national economies. The program will lead to new collaborations between Pittsburgh organizations and organizations in Kazakhstan to help protect people’s health and the environment, and help better the economy of the United States and Kazakhstan.

The visiting delegates were Mr. Bolat Dalabayevich Beldebekov, Deputy Mayor of Tekeli, Almaty Province, Ms. Aliya Altayevna Sadvokasova, Expert on the Committee of Ecological Regulation and Control, Ministry of Environmental Protection in Astana, Ms. Asel Sagyndykovna Tokzhanova, Expert on the Committee of Ecological Regulation and Control, the Ministry of Environmental Protection in Astana, Ms. Yekaterina Georgiyevna Strikeleva, Manager of Programs of Environmental Policy and Management and the Coordinator of Programs in support of water initiatives for the Central Asian Regional Environmental Center, and Ms. Nazgul Yesmukhanovna Zhabasova, Deputy Head, Department of Natural Resources and Nature Management, West Kazakhstan province in Uralsk. Ms. Nadezhda Mikhailovna Polchenko from Stepnogorsk, Kazakhstan accompanied them as a facilitator.

In Pittsburgh, the delegation met with Ms. Jackie Erickson, Southwestern PA Regional Director, U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr.’s Office, and Mr. Brad Harrison, District Director, Office of U.S. Representative Tim Murphy. The delegation also met with Councilman Bill Peduto, District 8, Pittsburgh City Council, Mr. George Jugovic, Regional Director, Southwest Regional Office of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Dr. Matthew Mehalik, Program Manager of Sustainable Pittsburgh, Mr. Richard Piacentini, Executive Director, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden, Mr. Jim Thompson, Air Program Mananger, Allegheny County Health Department, Ms. Rachel Filippini, Executive Director, Group Against Smog and Pollution, Ms. Danielle Crumrine, Executive Director, Tree Pittsburgh, Mr. John Riley, General Manager, Moon Township Municipal Authority, and Mr. William J. Bates Jr., Vice President of Real Estate, Eat N’ Park Group, Inc.

The delegation also traveled to West Virginia University for a half day of meetings with Dr. Gerald R. Iwan, Director, National Environmental Services Center, and Mr. Patrick Kirby, Director of North West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at the West Virginia Water and Research Institute.

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

Homestays with local GlobalPittsburgh host member families allowed the delegates to experience American family life. They also took take part in several cultural and community activities, including a visit to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Museum of Art and a performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

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

For more information, please contact Gail Shrott, GlobalPittsburgh’s Vice-President of Program Services, at 412-392-4513. For more information on GlobalPittsburgh, visit For more information on Open World, visit


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