Monday, July 23, 2012

Iraqi High School Students Experience American Life, Set Goals for Involvement Through State Department Program

From exploring the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh to learning how to line dance from senior citizens, 10 Iraqi high school students and their mentor, participating in the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, gained many distinct cultural experiences during their time in Pittsburgh.

Iraqi students meeting
with Benjamin Walker
of ExperiLearn LLC
GlobalPittsburgh arranged a 10-day program for the group sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The students’ experiences served as inspiration for their ideas about diversity, which led to their conceptualization of problems in their home communities and the development of potential solutions to those challenges.

Common problems in the home communities in Iraq included water safety, quality of infrastructure, literacy rates, lack of electricity, quality of food and agricultural development, activities to occupy youth, littering and dirtiness, quality of pharmacies, health awareness issues, recycling, and lack of hospitals and healthcare.

During a seminar led by Benjamin Walker of ExperiLearn LLC, the students moved from discussing the problems to brainstorming solutions and ways that they could get involved themselves to bring about change in their communities.

The students developed a range of attainable goals, including building public libraries; building youth centers; raising breast cancer awareness; putting in a system to stop children from smoking; improving the quality of pharmacies; starting community clean-up initiatives; campaigning to revitalize the agricultural sector to improve food quality; increasing recycling; and improving healthcare and adding to the number of hospitals.

When the students expressed doubt over whether they had the power to effect these changes, Walker advised them to start small-scale, telling them that they could make a difference by finding organizations and politicians that are trying to achieve their goals and connecting and networking with them.

He also encouraged them to use their differences to their advantage by working together rather than letting differences divide them, and by the end of the discussion, the students felt enthusiastic about going back to Iraq and initiating the changes they want to see in their communities.

CLICK HERE to view more photos (gallery will open in a new window).

The students also met with Adriana Dobrzycka and Melanie Harrington of Vibrant Pittsburgh, toured the Alcoa Foundation Hall of American Indians at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, engaged in an informal discussion with teens facilitated by LeeAnn Anna, Teen Services Coordinator for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, toured Avonworth High School, met with seniors participating in Vintage Senior Services activities (including soul line dancing), made music CDs at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild with Jeff Guerrero, toured Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and met Phipps high school interns, visited the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, went bowling with their host families, enjoyed a potluck picnic with their hosts and GlobalPittsburgh staff members, and spent an evening at Kennywood.  

- Veronica Contin

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pittsburgh Region's World-Class Robotics Sector Getting Boost From Innovation Works Funding Program

Pittsburgh-based Innovation Works has assumed a more active role in supporting the region's world-class robotics sector with the recent transfer of key programs from The Technology Collaborative, which has been phased out.

Small Diameter Pipe Inspection
Robots From RedZone
With the transfer of programs, Innovation Works "will be getting even more involved in the support of these companies and the region's robotics cluster starting with the Technology Commercialization Initiative (TCI)," Innovations Works President & CEO Rich Lunak said in a message to the organization's supporters.

The robotics cluster in the Pittsburgh region "is among the best in the world," Lunak said. "Advancements in commercial, domestic, and military applications are being pioneered within the labs at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, regional firms, and within IW's own portfolio."

Robotics products in the Pittsburgh region are being used to:

*Automate time-consuming tasks in hospitals, freeing clinicians and staff for direct patient care activities (Aethon, McKesson Automation)
*Perform hazardous and unpleasant tasks like the inspection of sewers and the repair of underground pipelines (RedZone Robotics)
*Protect soldiers and first responders with intelligent mobile manipulators (RE2)
*Improve the efficiency and bottom line of warehouse operations with mobile trucks (Seegrid)
*Take the human error out of life-threatening procedures through the assistance of orthopedic surgeons in surgery (BlueBelt Technologies)
*Entertain and engage young minds (Bossa Nova) and delight young parents (4moms)

Made possible through a Discovered in PA, Developed in PA grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the TCI awards up to $100,000 for commercialization efforts in the advanced electronics and robotics technologies space, Lunak said.

The TCI will help to drive rapid and continuing progress in technology development and commercialization so SWPA can continue to create and build more Aethons and RedZones and add to an already robust robotics cluster, he said.

Startups, established companies, and university researchers/groups are all encouraged to apply for the commercialization awards. Draft proposal submissions are due August 3, 2012 with final proposal submissions due September 7, 2012.

More information about TCI and the full request for proposal is available on IW's homepage at

Friday, July 13, 2012

GlobalPittsburgh First Thursdays - August 2 at Little E's With Entrepreneurial Thursdays - Hear Some Great Jazz, Learn About Getting Global-Burgh!

The GlobalPittsburgh First Thursdays international networking event for August will be held Aug. 2 at Little E's jazz club at 949 Liberty Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh on the Second Floor (above Mahoney's Restaurant) from 5:30-8:00 p.m. We will be joining our friends at Entrepreneurial Thursdays for this special event.

We have some surprises in store to celebrate the first anniversary of GlobalPittsburgh First Thursdays. Bring your friends! Meet our visiting international delegations and mingle with many of the region's entrepreneurs and innovators.

The topic for the August event will be "Getting Global-Burgh," highlighting Pittsburgh's Global Connections and Opportunities, particularly in the technology and innovation sector. You will hear a couple of brief presentations along with some great jazz from Jessica Lee. Speakers will include Gail Shrott from GlobalPittsburgh and Steven Murray from the local office of the U.S. Commercial Service.

GlobalPittsburgh First Thursdays is a regular monthly night of networking and socializing with different themes, different activities and different locations - but always with an international flavor - on the first Thursday of every month.

Join us for an evening of friends, interesting conversation and good spirits with an international flair. Meet GlobalPittsburgh members, friends & visitors from many countries, and network with globally-minded people from Pittsburgh and all over. There will be complimentary appetizers, bar specials, raffles, and more.

For this event only, admission is FREE for current GlobalPittsburgh members but only if you pre-register by CLICKING HERE; Admission is $5 at the door for everyone who has not pre-registered. The collection at the door goes to the band. Membership information will be available at the event, but you may also join GlobalPittsburgh now at

Many thanks to support from Vibrant Pittsburgh, whose mini-grant program helps make these events possible, and also to Giant Eagle Market District for in-kind donations.

For more information about Entrepreneurial Thursdays, which is a regular weekly event, go to

If you have questions, please call Nadya at 412-392-4513 or by email at Photos from past First Thursdays and a few other GlobalPittsburgh events, activities, and programs can be viewed at See you there!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

GlobalPittsburgh Receives $5,000 Grant from Vibrant Pittsburgh to Help Support Networking Programs Bringing Together Region’s Diverse Affinity Groups

GlobalPittsburgh has received a $5,000 grant from Vibrant Pittsburgh to support its ongoing efforts to bring together the Greater Pittsburgh Region’s diverse affinity groups and globally minded residents through its monthly GlobalPittsburgh First Thursdays networking events.

Vibrant Pittsburgh's Mini-Grant Initiative was established for non-profit Affinity Groups to support programs and projects designed to help attract and retain multicultural and diverse talent in the region. Affinity Groups are community-based and university student organizations that represent the region’s diverse minority and immigrant communities.

GlobalPittsburgh First Thursdays is a regular monthly night of networking and socializing with different themes, different activities and different locations – but always with an international flavor – on the first Thursday of every month.

Participants enjoy an evening of friends, interesting conversation and good spirits with an international flair. They can mingle with GlobalPittsburgh members, friends & visitors from many countries, and network with globally-minded people from Pittsburgh and all over.

First Thursdays events are open to the public. Admission is free for GlobalPittsburgh members or those who become members; non-members pay $5 at the door. Free appetizers are served, and there is a cash bar.

"GlobalPittsburgh is very grateful for this support from Vibrant Pittsburgh, with whom we share a strong interest in attracting and retaining multicultural and diverse talent in the Pittsburgh region,” said Gail Shrott, GlobalPittsburgh’s Director of International Programs.

GlobalPittsburgh is one of 14 organizations in the region to receive a total of $50,000 in grants from Vibrant Pittsburgh. Other organizations include:
- African American Leadership Association in partnership with the Poise Foundation
- Al Servicio de la Comunidad in partnership with St. Regis Parish
- Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) in partnership with the Hill House Association
- Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh in partnership with South Hills Interfaith Ministries
 - Chinese Association for Science and Technology, Pittsburgh (CAST-P)
- Department of Human Services: Immigrant & Internationals Advisory Council in partnership with CEED
- Hillel Jewish University Center – J’Burgh
- International Advisory Council in partnership with CEED
- Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania
- National Association of Asian American Professionals
- National Society of Black Engineers
- Persad Center
- South Hills Interfaith Ministries
- Union of African Communities in Southwestern PA

"These groups provide a critical network of support to diverse individuals whether they are longtime residents, new to the area or considering a move to the area," said Melanie Harrington, CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh. "Their role in the community and their ability to support and connect people to the interest, cultural, religious, ethnic, disability, veteran, sexual orientation, etc. groups that they need to thrive is crucial to increasing the retention of talent and the region’s economic competitiveness."

Formerly known as the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors, GlobalPittsburgh is a non-profit organization that engages international delegations, groups and individuals by creating itineraries and facilitating introductions through the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and other international programming agencies in many fields, including energy and environment, life sciences and medicine, education, business and technology, clean/green design, advanced manufacturing, arts and culture, government and finance, social services and law, and other areas.

For information about GlobalPittsburgh, contact Thomas Buell, Jr., Director of Marketing, at 412-392-4513 or 412-720-2218, by email at, or go to

Vibrant Pittsburgh is committed to promoting a region of economic growth and cultural vitality and inclusivity. Recruiting, elevating, attracting and promoting diverse and multicultural talent is central to the organization. In hopes of further diversifying the Pittsburgh region and workforce, our organization continues to engage in ongoing outreach and networking opportunities. For more information on Vibrant Pittsburgh, visit or call 412-281-8600.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Former President Bill Clinton Named Keynote Speaker at One Young World 2012 Summit in Pittsburgh in October

Former President Bill Clinton will be keynote speaker at the One Young World Summit of international youth leaders that will be held in Pittsburgh in October, summit organizers have announced.

Clinton joins a growing list of luminaries at this year's Summit, scheduled for Oct. 18-22, including Arianna Huffington, Bob Geldof, Fatima Bhutto, Imran Khan, Jamie Oliver, Jimmy Wales, Joss Stone, Muhammad Yunus, Natalia Vodianova, Oscar Morales, Pete Cashmore, and Rahul Gandhi.

More than 1,500 delegates representing over 190 countries will attend this year's event.

Welcoming the news that President Clinton would address the Summit, co-Founders David Jones and Kate Robertson said: "One Young World Delegates all over the world are honored and thrilled to know that they're going to hear from President Clinton in person. The inspiration and motivation he can deliver is going to be hugely important for these young leaders. We're excited about the impact that his presence will have on candidates and delegates everywhere."

The four-day Summit will serve as a platform for delegates, supported by high-profile counselors, to address and identify solutions to the same issues that world leaders tackle every day – including global business and health, education and sustainable development, unemployment, the role of government versus global business, leadership and governance and social business.

In addition to plenary sessions on these important topics, the Summit will feature several special events, which were part of Pittsburgh's bid to host the event. These include an opening ceremony held in Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, set to the world-famous Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Children's Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh; breakout sessions held at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning Nationality Rooms and in several sites around Pittsburgh, and relaxed evenings dining in Heinz Field and with families all over the city, who will open their doors and hearts to One Young World.

Building on a lifetime of public service, President Bill Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote healthier childhoods, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private citizens to turn good intentions into measurable results.

Since 2001, President Clinton's vision and leadership have resulted in more than 4 million people benefiting from lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment; more than 14,000 U.S. schools building healthier learning environments; more than 26,000 micro-entrepreneurs, small business owners, and smallholder farmers improving their livelihoods and communities; and more than 2 million tons of greenhouse gases cut or abated in some of the world's largest cities.

One Young World is a global youth leadership summit, bringing together 1,300 delegates primarily under 25 from 190 countries worldwide. Unlike any other event in the world, One Young World gives delegates the kind of media platform and forum afforded ordinarily only to those who lead countries and corporations.

For more information, go to