Friday, June 27, 2014

Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan Starts June 28; Local Groups Offer Public Interfaith Dinners to Raise Awareness

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims in Pittsburgh and around the world fast during daylight hours, begins June 28. Several local organizations will hold public interfaith dinners, known as Iftars, to raise awareness of their faith and Ramadan traditions.

On the evenings of June 30 and July 1-2, the Turkish Cultural Center of Pittsburgh and the Intercultural Dialogue Group of University of Pittsburgh will host Iftar Dinner Tent gatherings at 8:54 p.m. (sunset) on the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., in Oakland. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited to 200 people each night.

On July 13, the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh will host its annual Humanity Day Celebration to honor members of the Pittsburgh community who are working to initiate dialogue and build bridges, thereby strengthening our bonds of humanity. The 6:30 p.m. event is open to people of all faiths, and will be followed by a complimentary Iftar banquet. More information is available at The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh is located at 4100 Bigelow Blvd. in Oakland.

One of the five pillars of Islam, Ramadan is a time when the principles of generosity and hospitality become especially important. The breaking of the fast every evening, the Iftar, is an event where people traditionally host their neighbors and friends for dinner.

Several local restaurants also are serving Iftar dinners, including Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District, and Palmyra, which is located downtown. For more information, go to for the article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

International Newcomers in Pittsburgh Urged to Sign Up for Mayor Peduto's Free Evening Civic Leadership Academy

Fall class designed to bring together 
U.S. born residents and new Americans

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is urging international newcomers and business owners living in the city to participate in the Fall 2014 Civic Leadership Academy (CLA), a free 10-week evening course to learn about city government and its departments. This season, the CLA will designate half of its available slots for new Americans and recent immigrants as part of the City’s Welcoming Pittsburgh initiative.

"The Civic Leadership Academy has empowered countless Pittsburgh residents to improve their communities and play an active role in local government," Peduto said. "By aligning with Welcoming Pittsburgh, we are opening the halls of government to all who contribute to the fabric of our community and fuel our economy.'

The Academy gives participants an opportunity to interact one-on-one with city department directors and staff members through tours, interactive presentations, and hands-on demonstrations. Program topics include city planning, urban redevelopment, public works, park services, protection of our waterways and rivers, public safety and more. To date, the City has held 11 classes with nearly 200 graduates.

The Academy will meet every Wednesday evening from September 10 to November 12; sessions run from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Applications are available online at and must be submitted by July 11th.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old, live within city limits or be a business owner who operates within city limits.

To apply to the Civic Leadership Academy, go to

For more information on the Civic Leadership Academy, go to

For more information on Welcoming Pittsburgh, go to

Since 2011, servePGH has led the Civic Leadership Academy. This year, servePGH is excited to announce a partnership with the Office of Community Affairs which will take a leading role for this initiative. Please call Community Affairs at 412-255-4773 or email for more information about the Civic Leadership Academy.

Welcoming Pittsburgh is a citywide initiative to celebrate the city’s immigrant past and build a more welcoming future. Through heightened inclusivity, the city strives to boost the quality of life and economic prosperity for all. Welcoming Pittsburgh is part of Welcoming America, a national and grassroots-driven collaborative that promotes cooperation between foreign-born and U.S.-born Americans.

In an effort to respond to the needs of all of our 90 neighborhoods, Mayor Peduto created the Office of Community Affairs. The Community Affairs team has visited dozens of neighborhoods already, attending community meetings, responding to constituent needs, and assisting City Council in addressing ongoing challenges. The Office of Community Affairs is another example of Mayor Peduto’s commitment to serving all of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.

The Civic Leadership Academy is one of eight volunteer-fueled initiatives of the city’s servePGH initiative. Through these eight initiatives, citizens have been engaged in service to revitalize City blocks, restore homes of vulnerable residents, help middle-school youth navigate life’s challenges and more. To date, over 9,000 volunteers have committed over 57,000 hours of service through servePGH. Additional information is available at

Friday, June 20, 2014

Google Shopping Still Looking for Fluent Speakers in French, German, Japanese, Portuguese or British English in Pittsburgh for $25/hour Product Specialist/Market Research Contract

Google Shopping ( is looking for candidates with fluency in French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and British English for product specialist/market research positions in Pittsburgh to work on a contract basis for $25 per hour.

Successful applicants will be working with Product and Engineering teams in a fast-paced environment. You will work to enhance the online shopping experience by performing in-depth research, analyzing product specification data, and generating category-specific feature lists for products using highly technical internal tools and processes.

Specifically, hirees will be working with key word searches and writing rules to parse text for meaningful product attributes, researching products and matching features, and writing texts for user-facing materials. A background in Linguistics, Science or Computer Science is desired. Will be working on proprietary tools. Must be able to read, write and speak French, German, Japanese, Portuguese or British English.

The candidate should have a Bachelor's degree with a strong academic record. Master’s degree a plus.
Duration: 12-month contract
Pay Rate: $25 hour
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

If you are interested or know somebody who might be, please contact Jeanne Sharpe at and tell her you saw this GlobalPittsburgh posting.  READ FULL ARTICLE

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

GlobalPittsburgh to Represent Region's Educational Opportunities at International Forum in Washington, D.C.

GlobalPittsburgh will represent the Greater Pittsburgh Region's educational opportunities and quality of life for international students at the fifth annual EducationUSA Forum in Washington D.C. from June 23-25, 2014. 

Thomas Buell, Jr., Director of GlobalPittsburgh's Study Pittsburgh Initiative, will participate in two sessions on regional educational consortia, and also meet with EducationUSA advisers from around the world to increase awareness of the many higher education assets in the region.

The Study Pittsburgh Initiative was developed by the GlobalPittsburgh Education Partnership (GPEP), a growing consortium of 17 colleges, universities and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in the Greater Pittsburgh Region to augment international student recruitment and outreach efforts, and to foster global talent retention through welcoming and connecting activities, programs and networking events.

EducationUSA is the U.S. Department of State-supported network of hundreds of advising centers around the world. Each year, EducationUSA advisers provide millions of international students with accurate, comprehensive, and current information about how to apply to U.S. colleges and universities. 

The EducationUSA Forum will bring together 550 university representatives with over 60 EducationUSA regional educational experts and advisers from around the world to discuss strategies for helping international students to study in the United States, and promoting U.S. Study abroad.   

Workshop sessions presented by international education experts, U.S. higher education representatives, and government officials present unique and valuable information on recruiting international students and supporting diversity in international education.

As the premiere study destination for international students, the U.S. education sector represents the fifth largest U.S. services export, and added nearly $25 billion to the U.S. economy in the most recent academic year. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Senator Ferlo Introduces Bill Creating State Office of New Americans to Serve Immigrant & Refugee Community

State Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Highland Park) announced the introduction of new legislation that would create a state Office of New Americans to serve as a liaison between the Commonwealth and Pennsylvania’s immigrant community.

"Immigrants provide an important source of energy, innovation, and entrepreneurial activity and I believe that Pennsylvania can do more to be competitive in attracting and keeping this pool of talent," Ferlo said in a press release. "Immigrants face many challenges when they move to a new country, and many of those challenges can be addressed through coordination between state government, local immigrant assistance organizations, and the immigrants themselves."

Ferlo noted that Pennsylvania ranked 42nd among the 50 United States in population growth from April 2010 to July 2013, and that in 2012 Pennsylvania’s immigrants comprised 6 percent of the Commonwealth’s population. Despite slow population growth, Pennsylvania’s increase in residents has a strong immigrant component, and these individuals and families need services that the Commonwealth can provide in order to assist in their transition.

"Nearly 800,000 immigrants live within our borders," Ferlo said. "Immigrants are a vital part of not only our Commonwealth’s history, but also its future. These individuals fill skilled positions throughout our economy. When looking ahead, finding a way to assimilate and welcome immigrants into Pennsylvania’s social and cultural foundation will bring untold benefits."

The proposed legislation will create the Office of New Americans under the Department of Community and Economic Development. The office's role would be to provide internal coordination of services that commonly affect the lives of immigrants, to promote the state abroad to attract skilled workers, and once here, to help integrate immigrants into their local communities.

Ferlo’s bill requests an appropriation of $200,000 for four full-time staff members who will be responsible for the operation and services provided by the Office of New Americans.

"Senator Ferlo’s vision for Pennsylvania recognizes that immigrants bring significant economic and social benefits to our Commonwealth," said Peter Gonzales, President and CEO of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians. "Equally important, his proposal recognizes that lifelong Pennsylvanians also benefit when newcomers are effectively incorporated into our communities."

The legislation will also create the Advisory Board to the Office of New Americans that will provide advice to the Governor and the office on how to best attract, retain, and integrate immigrants. The office will be composed of key department secretaries, or their designees, and individuals from several non-governmental sectors with expertise on immigration policy. The Board will be composed of 20 members appointed by the Governor.

"The proposed legislation creating an Office for New Americans in Pennsylvania is critical to growing a diverse workforce and an economically competitive region and state," said Melanie Harrington, President and CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh.

"We provide a broad array of new arrival services to immigrants, internationals, and other diverse individuals through our Welcome Center and this important legislation will provide us with a partner and champion at the state level helping to increase the talent pool, strengthen the social and cultural environment of the region, and ensure our future economic prosperity.

Ferlo made the announcement in conjunction with the Global Great Lakes Convening held in Pittsburgh today. The event attracted representatives of more than 20 cities and organizations in the upper midwest and northeast regions working on immigration-related economic development issues.

A complete and detailed list of the responsibilities of the Office of New Americans is available in the Senator’s co-sponsorship memo. Click here to download the co-sponsorship memo. Once introduced, the bill will await referral to the appropriate Senate committee.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

City of Asylum/Pittsburgh to Present World Premiere of New Musical by Czech Performance Group

Pittsburgh-based City of Asylum (COA) will present the world premiere of LOST/FOUND: Finding Refuge in Pittsburgh, an original work by the directors of the Prague-based theatrical collective Archa Theatre and Allstar Refugee Band, artists-in-residence at City of Asylum during June, who have been working with local refugee communities.

Performances will take place on June 28 and 29 in open-air spaces near the Alphabet City™ Tent, COA’s pop-up event space at 318 Sampsonia Way; performances begin at 6 p.m. and the event will culminate in an 8 p.m. concert by the Allstar Refugee Band.  Both the play and the concert are free, but reservations are recommended and may be made online at

LOST/FOUND: Finding Refuge in Pittsburgh is the work of Jana Svobodová, artistic director of the Archa Theatre, along with director Phillippe Schenker, based on stories gathered from within Pittsburgh’s refugee communities. Original music is by Michael Romanyshyn and the Allstar Refugee Band.  Members of Pittsburgh’s refugee communities, as well as actors, musicians, and performers from the wider community, will also participate in the event.

The project is part of the collective’s Community-based Artist Residency at City of Asylum, a program that embeds international artists, writers, and musicians in the community to create an original project that tells the community’s story in a unique way.  A number of residencies are planned for 2014 and 2015.  The program is underwritten by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, ARTPlace America, and The Trust for Mutual Understanding.

The LOST/FOUND project commenced in February with a two-week story-gathering phase in which Svoboda, Schenker, and Romanyshyn worked directly with individuals from war-torn areas such as Iraq, Congo, and Bhutan, identified with the assistance of area resettlement agencies. During the month of June, the full 10-member collective is in residency, rehearsing and refining the production. As part of the residency, the Allstar Refugee Band will appear at the annual U.N. World Refugee Day celebration, to be held on Friday, June 20 at Pittsburgh’s Market Square.

About Archa Theatre/Allstar Refugee Band
A collective of musicians and actors from Prague, a number of whom are refugees from Kurdistan, China, and other countries, Archa Theatre and the Allstar Refugee Band explore ways to resolve social problems through music and theater. Their work in European refugee camps and minority communities includes the acclaimed “Dance through the Fence” (2008) and “Jesters, Spies, and Presidents” (2010). This is their first appearance in the U.S.A.
“With this project Archa Theatre has crossed the boundary of pure artistic theatre towards social and documentary drama. It is a worthwhile and important theatrical enterprise.”—Vladimír Hulec, Reflex/exonline
“The likeable purpose of the authors was to give freedom to disparate acting
temperaments and talents, which created a chemical ‘supra-theatrical’ fusion, which at times crackles and sizzles in fascinating ways.” — Jiří Peňás, Lidové noviny
About City of Asylum
Founded in 2004, City of Asylum is a model for arts-based community development, bringing writers, readers and neighbors together through global literature and cultural exchange. Located on Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh’s Northside, City of Asylum’s campus of redeveloped houses serve both as homes for exiled writers and as public artworks.  It has presented more than 250 authors and musicians from 42 countries in free readings and concerts. Sampsonia Way, the publishing arm of City of Asylum, specializes in banned books in translation and anthologies of contemporary writing from countries where free speech is under threat;, its online journal of free speech, literature, and justice provides  a virtual home for persecuted writers and serves a growing global audience online.
A full schedule of events is online at