Tuesday, June 25, 2013

GlobalPittsburgh Hosting Delegation of Environmental Leaders from Kazakhstan Through Open World Leadership Center at Library of Congress

GlobalPittsburgh is hosting a group of five environmental leaders from Kazakhstan through an exchange program sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress.

The energetic and highly enthusiastic group is in the Pittsburgh region between June 21-29 to meet their peers to learn more about environmental education, water issues, alternative fuels, ecotourism, conservation, and the impact of environmental protection and regulation on the economy and business, among other topics.

The environmental leaders participating in the program are:
- Ms. Zauresh Alimbetova, Director of the Republican State Institution “Barsakelmes State Nature Reserve” in Aralsk;
- Mr. Kuat Bakirov is the Manager of Environmental Projects, Public Association Karaganda Regional Environmental Center “ECOCENTER” in Karaganda;
- Mr. Mukhtar Ibrayev is the Chairman, Youth Public Association “Korkyt Eli Karmakshy" in Zhosaly;
- Mr. Aydar Kapasov is an Expert in Transport and Communications for the Public Association, “Consumer League” in Astana;
- Ms. Mariya Savitskaya is an Assistant to the Director, Project Coordinator, and Project Assistant for the Public Association, Center for Coordination and Information on Environmental Education, “EcoObraz ” in Karaganda.
-  Mr. Viktor Frolov is the facilitator accompanying the group from Kazakhstan.

Highlights of the first portion of the group’s program  included kayaking around Point State Park, a meeting with Jackie Erickson, Southwestern PA Regional Director for Sen. Bob Casey (see photo), and a discussion about Chatham University’s School of Sustainability and the Environment with Dr. Crystal Fortwangler and Ida Mansourian.

"This group is very committed to bringing new ideas to Kazakhstan and in developing future exchanges of information and research opportunities," said Gail Shrott, GlobalPittsburgh's Director, International Leaders Program. "This group is definitely one of the best Open World groups that our organization has hosted."

The three host families who are providing homestays for the visitors are integral to the project and have made their guests feel especially welcome in our community.

The Open World program enables emerging Eurasian political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at the local level. After the entire program is completed, it is hoped that the five environmental leaders will continue to nurture the linkages that they forged during their stay in the region. READ FULL ARTICLE

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dinner With Visiting Russian Delegation Reminds GlobalPittsburgh Host How Small The World Can Be

GlobalPittsburgh hosts Renate and Greg Overstreet recently hosted a visiting Russian delegation for dinner in their home. Greg wrote this account of their experience.

On Saturday, June 8, we were slightly apprehensive about hosting a dinner for a delegation of three Russian visitors and their translator.

After checking websites listed on their business cards and reading some brochures they gave us before they left, I now have a better understanding of their objective for visiting various U.S. cities. They represent both governmental and non-profit groups that wish to increase eco-tourism to areas in the Southern Urals and the Udmurt Republic areas of Russia which have had very little tourism in the past. The responsible tourism results in financial gain that can be used to help conserve local cultural sites as well as to boost the welfare of local residents. Their visit is funded by the U.S. State Department and the translator traveling with them is an employee of the U.S. State Department in New York City.

The comments and reactions of the foreign visitors were very interesting. One unique moment came when I showed them an old 1970-era standard rotary dial phone that we store upstairs. As I picked it up expecting to generate a surprised reaction, I said, "I bet you haven't seen one of these in a long time." Alexander then said a few words which the translator conveyed to my own surprise: "Alexander says he was on a waiting list for years to get such a land line phone before the recent advent of cell phones and he was never able to get a connection from the State utility agency." Wow! Now I know first-hand how the President has to be careful to not put his foot in his mouth over cultural differences. But I also now appreciate more fully our own access to technology that we take for granted.

My wife, Renate, and I feel that our home is average and far from upper class, but these visitors were amazed at things like the amount of wood paneling we have upstairs, the amount of property around the house, the privacy from neighbors, the absence of traffic and city noise, the presence of so many flowers and trees, the occasional visits by ground squirrels, deer, rabbits, etc., and Alexander was even interested in checking out the heating, air conditioning, and sanitation systems. I think he also probably wondered why a single house needs not just one, but three bathrooms. My guess is that they probably live in apartments in crowded urban areas.

Guzel took a photo of me barbecuing and she said that although people in Russia also grill food outdoors with wood or charcoal, they do not have access to propane fueled grills like the one I use. But they do have access to American TV programs. Nadezhda (we called her Nadia) said the show "House" is very popular in Russia and many people even have t-shirts with the image of the star of the show. She said that I look like him, but I had to apologize that I have only heard of the show because I am a non-typical American TV viewer: I only watch certain occasional special programs on TV and no series programs.

The visitors were very warm and friendly and eager to use their limited English to compliment our home and to describe details of their own homeland and culture. We found a connection with Alexander who said that our local Penguins Hockey player, Evgeni Malkin, is a native of his hometown. Guszel explained that Tchaikovsky was from their region and also the world famous weapons designer, M.T. Kalashnikov, still lives in her hometown where there is a weapons museum that bears his name. She said he used to take regular strolls around town (like ex-President Harry Truman did in Independence, MO) until he was intercepted one day by a news reporter.

The visit was a good mutual cultural exchange and one that left me with not only a better understanding of their world, but also a better appreciation for the many American technological and cultural benefits that we tend to take for granted. "What a country!" as Soviet immigrant comedian Yakov Smirnoff used to say. And I hope you will understand when I say that I am happy that some of my tax money funds this cultural exchange and economy boosting program. How else could I have met my close neighbors ... from that distant land.

- Greg Overstreet

For information about how to become a GlobalPittsburgh host member, go to www.globalpittsburgh.org/membership.


U.S Students Who Interact With International Students on Campus More Likely to Achieve Success After Graduation, According to Scientific Study

As the number of international students on U.S. college campuses continues to grow, their American classmates who actively interact with them are not only learning about foreign cultures but also increasing their chances of success by enhancing their own self-confidence, leadership, quantitative skills and other abilities long after they graduate, according to a new Duke University study of alumni from several universities.

International students at
La Roche College near Pittsburgh.
© Thomas Buell, Jr.

Americans who engaged with international students while on campus are more likely in later life to appreciate art and literature, place current problems in historical perspective and read or speak a foreign language. They also are more likely to reexamine their political and religious viewpoints and their beliefs about other races or ethnicities, according to the research. The findings apply to U.S. students who actively interacted with international students in classes, dorms or elsewhere, as opposed to just sharing the campus with them.

"Examining the Educational Benefits of Interacting with International Students" appears in the June issue of the Journal of International Students. Authors Jiali Luo and David Jamieson-Drake, the assistant director and director of Duke's institutional research office, analyzed surveys of 5,676 alumni from the 1985, 1995 and 2000 graduating classes of four highly selective private research universities, administered roughly 5, 10 and 20 years after graduation.

U.S. students at these universities interacted more with international students than they did in the past, they found, with 79 percent of the 2000 graduates reporting "substantial" interactions compared with 67 percent among 1985 graduates. In part, this reflected the growing presence of international students on their and other campuses. According to another study cited in the report, the number of international students in the United States reached an all-time high of 764,495 in the 2011-12 academic year, rising 31 percent over the previous decade.

"Several studies have shown how international students benefit from their time on American campuses, and also how they contribute financially to the schools and the U.S. economy," Luo said. "However, our study is among the first to provide statistically significant data showing how they also enhance the intellectual and cultural environment for domestic students who interact with them, many of whom go on to graduate with a richer world view and set of life skills."

Luo and Jamieson-Drake say the data highlight the value to U.S. universities and students of welcoming international students and encouraging their interaction with the wider student body. "A larger number of international students on campus could provide more opportunities for domestic students to interact across cultures and challenge their existing belief and value systems," they write. "Institutional initiatives and structures that foster higher levels of international interaction and serious questioning of beliefs and values could ultimately influence students' intellectual growth and skill development not only substantially but also consistently."

Jamieson-Drake said he and Luo are now "extending the study longitudinally to track alumni for up to 20 years after graduation to see how their interactions with international students while in college may have affected their careers, public service and priorities in the long run." They also hope to analyze how these outcomes compare with those for U.S. students who participate in "study abroad" programs.

Source: Duke University

CITATION: "Examining the Educational Benefits of Interacting with International Students," Jiali Luo, David Jamieson-Drake. Journal of International Students, June 2013.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Multi-State Manufacturing Power Network Proposed to Develop Economic Opportunities Through Energy Production and Availability to Manufacturers

In an example of interstate cooperation to create jobs and spur investment, 20 organizations from Southwestern Pennsylvania, Southeastern Ohio and Central-Northern West Virginia recently submitted a proposal to develop opportunities created by energy production and efficient delivery to end users.

Prepared in response to the Make it in America Challenge, the proposed Manufacturing Power Network (MPN) focuses on two industry sectors:
- Energy production and delivery, with opportunities presented by shale gas in a pursuit of energy independence, which is also opening up new opportunities in the Chemical sector.
- Advanced Manufacturing, which has been jump-started in the region through the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute and the region's emerging strength in the Robotics sector.

Led by Catalyst Connection, the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, and the West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the $4.1 million proposal outlined the creation of the Manufacturing Power Network, which grew out of efforts by the Power of 32 project, a recent three-year initiative that identified ways to encourage regional cooperation and development.

The MPN has been developed with the goal of providing a seamless and responsive network for manufacturers to access a host of services as they contemplate on-shoring and domestic retention of manufacturing activities.

According to Petra Mitchell, President and CEO of the Catalyst Connection, regional interstate economic development is very important.

"The Manufacturing Power Network is unique because it crosses state lines," Mitchell said. "Integrating three states, particularly around energy, makes sense. We have an energy economy with the Shale Gas production. Manufacturers aren't looking at state lines, they are looking for customers that need what they have." We want to expand that geography, which would be good for everybody in the region."

The Manufacturing Partner Network has submitted a compelling proposal, and whether or not the team receives grant funding, the P32+ region has already benefited, she said.

"The concept of the partnership is going to live with or without the grant funding," claims Mitchell. "We have already convened and discussed strategies for supporting manufacturing in the region. There is going to be a lot of benefit from the process; the interaction will continue and the region will benefit from our efforts." The Make it in America Challenge was jointly issued by the Economic Development Administration, the Employment and Training Administration, and the National Institute for Standards and Testing.

"The conversation on regional interstate economic development is becoming more robust, deeper and more collaborative," says David Satterfield, Interim Director, West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership. "We are seeing that many of our challenges and opportunities are similar. The Power of 32 is changing some of the systemic thinking and the ways we are acting and interacting. We have a greater value and greater leverage as a region."

According to Satterfield, the MPN "will identify partners and suppliers that could move closer together to save costs in the supply chain; take advantage of an inventory of regional "switch ready" buildings; and provide comprehensive workforce training, including custom OJT for high-demand occupations."

Source: Power of 32


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Canada to Open Trade Office in Pittsburgh, Continue to Grow Relationship as Region's Largest Trading Partner

The Government of Canada will open a trade office in Pittsburgh and seek ways to grow exports and imports in southwestern Pennsylvania. The move will expand on Canada's representation for the past nine years by Honorary Consul Roger Cranville, who said he has stepped down from his position, effective March 31.

Roger Cranville
"Western Pennsylvania continues to be important to the Government of Canada, particularly on the key issues of border cooperation and economic development," Cranville wrote in a message to friends and business associates announcing the change. "The Canadian Consulate General in New York will continue to work through its new Trade Commissioner representative in Pittsburgh to build on the strong links that have been developed here over the past several years. This continued Canadian presence in Western Pennsylvania will ensure that Canada remains engaged with businesses and stakeholders in this region, and that Canada's ties to this important region remain firmly entrenched."

A date for the opening of the new trade office was not announced.


Monday, June 3, 2013

GlobalPittsburgh and Vibrant Pittsburgh Join New Global Great Lakes Network; Attend Convening Meeting in Detroit

GlobalPittsburgh and Vibrant Pittsburgh are among the founding members of a new Global Great Lakes initiative designed to enhance regional efforts to attract, welcome and retain international newcomers, and to share best practices among immigrant economic development initiatives across the Midwest and beyond.  

Representatives of the two Pittsburgh non-profits will attend a convening session in Detroit on June 6, 2013 with other Great Lakes-metropolitan global initiatives from Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis and Lansing in partnership with a national group called WelcomingAmerica.

The convening session will include an open conference to share ideas and best practices from immigrant economic development initiatives across the Midwest and beyond. The day’s events will include national keynote speakers and examples of work underway in partner cities. For more information about the Global Great Lakes initiative, go to http://www.globalgl.org.

“Growing the diversity of the Pittsburgh region including its New American population is a critical component of our work and mission,” said Melanie Harrington, CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh. “Our participation in the Global Great Lakes Network provides our region with an opportunity to join neighboring regions that share a common goal to exchange promising practices and advance our common cause.”

Thomas Buell, Jr., Director of GlobalPittsburgh’s Study Pittsburgh and Marketing initiatives, said GlobalPittsburgh looks forward to learning from the experience of other cities in the Great Lakes Region in attracting and welcoming international newcomers, and to sharing the Pittsburgh story.

 “We have formed strong and growing partnerships with Vibrant Pittsburgh and other organizations here in the Pittsburgh area,” he said. “And we welcome the chance to expand that to include the larger region and carry our collective message of the importance and value of immigrants and international awareness.”

Since 2010, the participating Great Lakes metropolitan regions have developed independent local economic development initiatives to emphasize diversity and immigration as an economic development opportunity.  These cities share a legacy of heavy industry and problems resulting from industry’s decline, including substantial urban population loss. 

The Global Detroit and Global Michigan initiatives – the latter started by Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder – have focused economic development efforts on attracting and retaining immigrants, who are statistically more than twice as likely as native-born residents to start businesses and create jobs.

“We want to create culture change by fostering immigrant economic development strategies to help internationalize the region and capitalize on immigration as an economic catalyst,” said Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit Director and a former state representative and former Michigan House Majority Floor Leader. “This is a first step in building a Global Great Lakes Network.  It can be a game changer for the Midwest’s global economic competitiveness.”

A keynote speaker at the Global Great Lakes convening conference will be Richard Herman, an immigration attorney based in Cleveland and co-author of the book Immigrant, Inc., which describes the accomplishments of foreign-born entrepreneurs and their impact on the U.S. economy.

 “While Washington continues to struggle with this issue, our Rust Belt cities are embracing a more global future, seizing their own destinies by welcoming immigrant talent, international investment, and international trade that will create jobs and a higher standard of living in inner-city neighborhoods and across the metro region,” Herman said.

GlobalPittsburgh coordinates a year-round series of activities and events to welcome international students, professionals and families, connecting them with the local community through its GlobalPittsburghCONNECT membership program. Formerly known as the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors, GlobalPittsburgh also has worked for more than 50 years with the U.S. Department of State  to host delegations of government, business and community leaders from around the world to meet with their counterparts in the local community. And its Study Pittsburgh initiative has formed a growing consortium of the region’s colleges, universities and English Language Programs to attract and engage more international students. For more information, go to www.globalpittsburgh.org.

Vibrant Pittsburgh, in collaboration with employers, colleges and universities, civic organizations and Affinity Groups, has mounted an ambitious strategy to ensure the Pittsburgh region’s economic competitiveness by attracting, retaining and elevating diverse talent for the region’s workforce. For more information, go to www.vibrantpittsburgh.org.

The Global Great Lakes Convening will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.


Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts Scheduled for Sept. 27 to Oct. 26, 2013; Four Weeks of U.S. Premieres

For four dizzying weeks in the fall, Pittsburgh will set the stage for international companies and artists premiering works never before seen in the United States. They will capture your imagination, challenge you to think BIG, and leave you seeing the world in an entirely new way. Theater, dance, music, performance, visual arts, the real and the surreal merge. Deep breath. Get ready. Everyone remembers their first.


September 26, 2013 - October 27, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts
Venue: 943 Liberty Avenue
Read more | Driving Directions


September 27, 2013 - December 31, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts
Venue: Wood Street Galleries
Read more | Driving Directions
Granular Synthesis


September 27, 2013 - October 20, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts
Venue: SPACE
Read more | Driving Directions
The Rubber Duck


September 27, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts
Venue: See Event Description
Read more
Compagnie Marie Chouinard


September 28, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh Dance Council
Venue: Byham Theater
Read more | Driving Directions
Kiss & Cry


October 2, 2013 - October 4, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts
Venue: New Hazlett Theater
Read more | Driving Directions
The Pigeoning


October 9, 2013 - October 12, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts
Venue: 937 Liberty
Read more | Driving Directions
It's Dark Outside


October 9, 2013 - October 12, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts
Venue: Trust Arts Education Center
Read more | Driving Directions
Zimmermann & de Perrot


October 18, 2013 - October 19, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh Dance Council
Venue: Byham Theater
Read more | Driving Directions
Measure Back


October 22, 2013 - October 26, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts
Venue: See Event Description
Read more
The God That Comes


October 24, 2013 - October 26, 2013
Presented By: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts
Venue: Cabaret at Theater Square
Read more | Driving Directions
Tickets for all festival performances are $25.  Purchase online by selecting events above, call 412-456-6666 or visit the Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue (located at the intersection of Penn Avenue and Seventh Street in Downtown Pittsburgh). Visual arts programming is free and open to the public.
The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts is supported by an anonymous donor, the Buhl Foundation, the Carol R. Brown Performance Fund, The Heinz Endowments, the Hillman Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, the Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation, and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Source: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust