Thursday, July 25, 2013

GlobalPittsburgh Seeking Partners, Sponsors, Investors in Connecting Programs and Activities; Inquiries Welcome

Would you or your organization like to get involved with GlobalPittsburgh?

We are always seeking partners, sponsors and investors in our connecting programs and activities. In addition to individual and corporate membership programs, GlobalPittsburgh welcomes other forms of participation and support (both financial and in-kind) for things like our First Thursdays monthly happy hour for globally-minded people, welcoming activities for new international students and professionals, and for our annual community event (coming up in October -- stay tuned for details), and much more.

Partnerships are available for single events and long-term programs. We also welcome vendors at our events, which are attended by a wide range of people from many different backgrounds.

For more information about partnership opportunities, please contact Nadya Kessler, Assistant Director, GlobalPittsburghCONNECT and Operations, at 412-392-4513 or


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Real Estate Developer From Nigeria Builds Success, Creates Jobs and Economic Growth in Pittsburgh Region

Emeka Carter visits one of the houses in Lawrenceville undergoing
renovation  by his company, E Properties & Development, which
has created jobs and other economic benefits in the Pittsburgh region.

By Thomas Buell, Jr.

Many real estate developers can only dream of selling properties before construction has been completed. In Pittsburgh, Emeka Carter has built a successful business model around that concept, and made it look easy.

His company, E Properties & Development, currently has 10 properties under development throughout the City of Pittsburgh, and every one of them is already under contract for sale. In fact, most of the 16 properties the company has developed in its four-year history have been sold either before groundbreaking or while construction crews were still at work.

Carter, a native of Nigeria who moved to Pittsburgh seven years ago, attributes his success to a philosophy that it’s important to allow buyers to choose finishes and design touches they want rather than settling for the more generic choices often used in spec homes. And he prices his properties to include a wide range of higher-end options so that buyers know the finished cost of the project.

“Our approach of providing the owners with flexibility in determining the final design of the property has been very well received,” he said. “They are involved in the design process from the early stages, and that allows them to participate in the creative process.”

Carter came to the United States and earned his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering at Penn State, and came to Pittsburgh seven years ago to work for MEDRAD Inc, and later obtained an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. In 2009 he founded E Properties & Development.

Since then the company has developed more than $5 million in real estate. The projects are split between high-end renovations of existing homes and  new construction properties. E Properties houses sell for $235,000 to $450,000, with the average price just over $300,000, Carter said.
Croghan's Edge

His company now employs 18 people, about one-third of them full time construction crews, and the rest regular sub-contractors. E Properties has an office staff of three at its office on Butler Street. The company also purchases tens of thousands of dollars in building materials and supplies, and works regularly with real estate agents from RE/MAX, who also benefit when the properties sell.

His success story is an example of the entrepreneurial spirit possessed by many immigrants, and symboizes the benefits they bring to the regional economy.

For those who work with him, Carter’s success has meant more work, and steadier work.

“It has been good, since we have several projects going at the same time, I have been able to stay busy,” said Bill Welsh, Sr., carpenter and handyman. “Emeka has been good to work with. He tells us what he wants and then he lets us do it.”

Croghan's Edge Interior
Matthew Galluzzo, Executive Director of the Lawrenceville Corp., said Carter has earned a good reputation among buyers for quality projects and innovative design, including the Croghan’s Edge development, located in the 3600 block of Penn Avenue, which won a 2012 Merit Award from the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. It was designed by Pittsburgh-based mossArchitects.

“We didn’t have anything like that in Lawrenceville,” Galluzzo said.

As neighborhoods like Lawrenceville have become more popular among younger, more affluent homeowners, developers like E Properties have been well positioned to achieve success, Galluzzo said. And Carter has made a good name for himself by connecting with the community.

“As it relates to the community, Emeka has made himself more than available to make sure that the projects he’s doing comport with the neighborhood,” Galluzzo said. “He has done a pretty good job of liaising with the community. It’s good to have developers thinking along those lines and minimizing the community impact.”

One example of the ways E Properties connects with the community is the naming of the Penn Avenue project. After conducting a community contest to find a name for the development, it was named after George Croghan who was a settler in the area in the 1760s.

Carter's active and innovative approach to development has caught the attention community leaders.

“When I first met Emeka I was impressed,” said Charles Powell, director of Diversity Affairs and Community Outreach at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of the City of Pittsburgh in an interview with the New Pittsburgh Courier. “I like the quality of his work and his creativity and willingness to do what it takes to make a project work, even if it means using his own resources to move it forward.”

Carter said Pittsburgh presents many opportunities for those who are willing to work hard and think in new and different ways.

“Pittsburgh is in its third renaissance and this is a good time to be here,” he said. “Great things are happening here. Being on the ground you can see that. People are moving back into the city. It is exciting to see that.”

The New American Entrepreneurs is an occasional series on the GlobalPittsburghNEWS blog featuring foreign-born entrepreneurs who are making their mark in the Pittsburgh region.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Touring Carpatho-Rusyn Singing Legend Maria Macoskova to Perform in Pittsburgh September 8

Europe’s best-known Carpatho-Rusyn folk singer will be joined by another prominent Rusyn singer for their first-ever tour of major American cities, including a stop in Pittsburgh on Sept. 8, 2013.

Maria Macoskova, viewed as the “grand dame” of Carpatho-Rusyn folk singers internationally, will be performing the folk songs of the Carpatho-Rusyn people along with Beata Begeniova-Fedoriouk, herself a prominent Carpatho-Rusyn folk singer in both Europe and North America. They will be accompanied by noted accordionist Jozef Piroh of Presov, Slovakia.

“This is a very exciting event for us,” said Maria Silvestri, president of the John & Helen Timo Foundation, which is sponsoring the tour. “These are major Carpatho-Rusyn performers coming to expose Americans of all backgrounds to the richness of Carpatho-Rusyn culture through its beautiful folk music.”

It will be the first time the two singers have appeared together in almost 20 years, having sung at various cultural events in their native Slovakia previously, Silvestri said. Never before have the two appeared together in the United States.

Tickets and more information for all performances are available at or by calling 1-888-71-TICKETS. Information is also available on Facebook at

Macoskova, Begeniova-Fedoriouk and Piroh all hail from Presov, Slovakia, which is one of Pittsburgh’s sister cities. In Pittsburgh, they will perform Sunday, September 8 at 3 p.m. at the New Hazlett Theatre on the North Side.

Carpatho-Rusyns are an East Slavic group from the Carpathian Mountain chain of East Central Europe. They have never had a country of their own, but have maintained their vibrant culture. Today the Carpatho-Rusyn homeland is divided between Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and Romania, with large settlements of Carpatho-Rusyns in Serbia, Croatia and the United States. They are recognized by all of these nations as an official minority except for Ukraine. More than 600,000 Americans are estimated to be of Carpatho-Rusyn heritage.

Macoskova, born in the Carpatho-Rusyn village of Potocky in present-day Slovakia, is both an accomplished professional singer and Carpatho-Rusyn cultural activist. She has dedicated her life to using Carpatho-Rusyn song to help people understand the beauty and depth of Carpatho-Rusyn  culture. She performed for over four decades with the Dukla Ensemble of Presov, now known as PUL’S – Slovakia’s premier professional Carpatho-Rusyn performing ensemble. She also performed with the Brno State Radio Folk Orchestra and the Janosko Cimbalom Orchestra in Prague, both today in the Czech Republic. She has done more than anyone else to popularize Carpatho-Rusyn folk music throughout all of the former Czechoslovakia and especially in present-day Slovakia. In 1985, she was named an Artist of Merit by the Czechoslovak government.

Begeniova-Fedoriouk has performed Carpatho-Rusyn folk music since her youth in Slovakia. Born in Presov, she is known in both Europe and America for her talents. Currently, she performs Central and East European folk music with the Cleveland-based ensemble Harmonia, a group that has been called “a musical gem” by National Public Radio and “obscenely talented” by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, D.C.

Titled Maria Macoskova in Concert, the tour also includes stops in Washington D.C., Cleveland, New York City and Minneapolis. Scheduled performances are:
Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. – Slovak Embassy, Washington, DC
Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. – Edison High School, Minneapolis, MN
Sunday, Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. – Mixon Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music
Sunday, Sept. 22 at 3 p.m. – St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, New York, NY

The tour is being coordinated by the John & Helen Timo Foundation, a new foundation based in Pittsburgh, dedicated to the propagation and development of Carpatho-Rusyn culture. It is achieving this tour with the cooperation of organizations throughout the North American Carpatho-Rusyn and Slavic communities, including the Carpatho-Rusyn Society, the Rusin Association of Minnesota and the Slovak American Society of Washington, D.C, as well as the Embassy of the Slovak Republic.

Monday, July 22, 2013

GlobalPittsburgh Sponsoring Soccer Team for Aug. 4 Tournament Supporting African Youth Programs

GlobalPittsburgh is seeking soccer players to play on a 6-aside team at the Play for a Purpose Summer Soccer Tournament on Sunday, Aug. 4 on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The event is hosted by the Cameroon Football Development Program. Entry fees for the 10-member team will be paid by GlobalPittsburgh, and each player will receive a GlobalPittsburgh t-shirt/jersey.

Participation on the team is open to adults (above high school age) of all nationalities. All ages are welcome. Player selection will be made by GlobalPittsburgh based partly on playing experience and conditioning, and those responding early will be given special consideration. Players don't need to be GlobalPittsburgh members, but membership will be encouraged. Players also will need to sign a release saying they will not hold GlobalPittsburgh responsible for accidents or injuries.

The tournament will start at 1 p.m. on August 4th at the Cathedral Lawn of the University of Pittsburgh. It  will be a 6v6 tournament with 4 games guaranteed. Games will be 20 minutes long with unlimited substitutions and referees. Fields are 24x40 meters. There will be small goals with no goalkeepers. There will be prizes for the winners and runners-up, as well as African food for sale.

If you or someone you know would like to play on the team, or if you have questions, please send an email (no calls please) to Thomas Buell, Jr., Director of Marketing at GlobalPittsburgh, at

The mission of the Pittsburgh-based Cameroon Football Development Program (CFDP) is to "use the game of football (soccer) to improve kids’ lives in Cameroon. Transforming the soccer field into a classroom creates an environment for experiential education where youth are free to learn and grow. This sport-centric approach has been proven to retain high youth participation and effect meaningful community-wide change."

For more information about the CFDP, go to


Friday, July 19, 2013

Pittsburgh's Growing International Diversity Provides Pleasant Surprise to GlobalPittsburgh Intern

By Alex Bailor

“Global City” is not a term that many people would use to describe Pittsburgh, the former steel town USA.  Yet I am finding more and more that this term accurately describes the city and everything within it, despite what many people think may think.

GlobalPittsburgh Intern Alex Bailor
As an intern at GlobalPittsburgh, an organization which promotes Pittsburgh to the world, creates global ties with international leaders, thinkers, and influencers, and engages in citizen diplomacy for the United States, I am increasingly learning that Pittsburgh is truly global.

Through the many activities of GlobalPittsburgh -- the educational programming for international visitors that we create, the homestays for international students and professionals that we arrange, and the monthly events we hold for all Pittsburgh residents -- I have discovered that our city holds a wealth of globally concerned businesses, organizations, and citizens.  I am reminded of this on a daily basis through my daily activities and tasks at the office, but I get to see the actual representation of all of this at our events we sponsor, most specifically at our GlobalPittsburgh First Thursdays networking event.

As an intern, I have the unique opportunity to experience a little bit of everything at GlobalPittsburgh.  While it would be great to experience everything in full that GlobalPittsburgh does, because the organization holds multiple events every month it is impossible to see and do everything.  But I was told by everyone in the office that if I was to attend one GlobalPittsburgh event, it should be First Thursdays. I kept hearing “Just go!  I promise you won’t be disappointed,” or “You will have a great time.  You will be surprised who you meet.”  I have since attended two First Thursdays events and was pleasantly surprised by both.  My co-workers could not have been more correct in their sentiments.

At both events I met people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from all over the US and the world. People from California, Washington state, New Jersey, D.C., and other states.  People from Saudi Arabia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia, Mexico, and other countries.  People who are academics, students, business professionals, fashion designers, state-champion chess players, small-business owners, stay-at-home parents, and so many more.  Everyone has a different story to tell and has something different to offer.

Whether it is career advice, life advice, a suggestion for a new restaurant to try, a new neighborhood to explore, or a new book to read, there is something to take away from everyone in attendance.  Further, all of this information isn’t difficult to come by as it is extremely easy to talk to people at First Thursdays.  And while it may be a networking event, it is so informal that it feels as though you are at a friendly coffee shop talking with good friends.  The event has no dress code and no requirements, except that you have a good time and make some new friends.  Both times I have attended, I felt as though I had spent an evening talking with some of the most interesting and friendly people who live and work in Pittsburgh.  There is such an amalgam of people, viewpoints, and nationalities at these events, it is almost overwhelming.  To be honest, I never thought that Pittsburgh could hold such a diversity of people.

As a non-native Pittsburgher, I must admit that my old impressions of Pittsburgh were from the heyday of the industrial city.  I had images of steel mills, black skies, coal smoke -- all of the things that made Pittsburgh an industrial powerhouse.  And as a lover of history, I knew that Pittsburgh was a magnet for immigrants in the 20th Century, which resulted in ethnic neighborhoods that held strong ties to the home countries.  But I also knew that many of these neighborhoods had become less ethnic as the city lost population and that the diverse ethnic populations had long since assimilated.

My impressions, I have since learned after living here for three years, were wrong.  Attending the First Thursdays event was further confirmation that my perceptions were incorrect and reinforced in my mind that this city is truly global.

I will definitely continue to attend these events in the future and I plan to bring along friends.  As a rising senior at Pitt, I know that events such as these will be invaluable in my future, both professionally and personally.  It is always important to meet new people because you never know what they have to offer to you.  In some cases, it may be a job or a professional reference.  In other cases, these people may teach you something about the world and about yourself.

When you meet people who may or may not be like you, it broadens your beliefs and challenges you to think about issues in a way that you may not have before.  It is citizen diplomacy at its finest.  And what better way to meet new people than at an informal networking event?  Pittsburgh is truly a global- city and there is so much that it has to offer to its residents and visitors.  We only have to have the courage to get out there and take advantage of it.

The First Thursdays networking event is a great way to take advantage of everything this global- city has to offer and I sincerely hope that you will attend.  I know I will in the future, and I certainly hope to see you there.

Alex Bailor will be a senior at the University of Pittsburgh. He is originally from Lebanon, PA.


GlobalPittsburgh Promotes Pittsburgh Universities at EducationUSA International Forum in Washington, DC

GlobalPittsburgh's Thomas Buell, Jr. (left) participates in a
panel discussion during the 2013 EducationUSA Forum

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- GlobalPittsburgh promoted Pittsburgh-area colleges, universities and English Language programs at the U.S. Department of State's 4th Annual EducationUSA Forum in Washington, D.C. in June.

The three-day Forum brought together education advisers from dozens of countries to learn more about education resources in the United States for prospective students in their countries. The Study Pittsburgh initiative represents a growing consortium of educational institutions in the Pittsburgh region.

In addition to meeting advisers from many countries, Thomas Buell, Jr., Director of GlobalPittsburgh's Study Pittsburgh initiative, was invited to participated in a panel discussion during the Forum presenting information about GlobalPittsburgh's selection as a host for training program for EducationUSA advisers in December. He also met with leaders of other education consortia in the United States.

"This was another great opportunity to promote the many outstanding graduate and undergraduate programs in the Pittsburgh region," Buell said. "Many of the representatives were impressed by the variety of programs available in the greater Pittsburgh area, the level of cooperation between them, and the quality of life that students would enjoy here. It was a very productive event."

Countries represented at the Forum included Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cote D'Ivoire, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Libya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Syria, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, United Kingdom, Ukraine and Vietnam.

RELATED STORY - International Students Bring $462 Million into Western Pennsylvania

Learn more at


Thursday, July 18, 2013

International Students Brought $462 Million Into Western Pennsylvania During 2011-12 School Year, Report Says; GlobalPittsburgh Enhances Recruitment Efforts

International students brought $461.6 million into the Western Pennsylvania economy during the 2011-12 academic year in tuition, housing, food, shopping and other expenditures, creating thousands of jobs in the region and making education one of the region's biggest exports, according to a new report by NAFSA, an organization representing international educators.

International students at a
at GlobalPittsburgh activity.
Across the state of Pennsylvania, international students were responsible for $1.1 billion in economic stimulus, and for sustaining nearly 5,700 jobs in higher education and another 12,000 jobs indirectly related to higher education through their spending during the school year, NAFSA reported. In total, international students brought $21.8 billion into the U.S. economy during the 2011-12 school year.

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

NAFSA reported the economic impact of international students by dividing data into U.S. Congressional Districts. The Western Pennsylvania region includes Congressional Districts 3, 5, 9, 12, 14 and 18. For more details, see the NAFSA map at

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

"This report confirms once again the motivation behind our efforts at GlobalPittsburgh to bring more international students to the Pittsburgh region, and then to engage them in activities and help them feel welcome so that they will have a positive experience," said Thomas Buell, Jr., Director of the Study Pittsburgh initiative, which represents a growing consortium of colleges, universities and English Language programs in the region called the GlobalPittsburgh Education Partnership (GPEP).

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

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

In the coming year, Study Pittsburgh will undertake numerous activities, including:
 Expanding the Study Pittsburgh website (
 Conducting a social network advertising campaign to increase traffic to website and Facebook fan page to promote Study Pittsburgh initiative and connect with an important demographic around the world.
 Connecting international students from GPEP members institutions with area corporations for internships and Optional Practical Training (OPT) opportunities.

RELATED STORY - GlobalPittsburgh Promotes Pittsburgh Universities at EducationUSA International Forum in Washington, DC

To view the full NAFSA report, go to