Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Long-Time GlobalPittsburgh Supporter Herbert Soltman Honored for Many Years of Volunteer Service by Global Ties U.S.

Long-time GlobalPittsburgh supporter Herbert Soltman has been honored for his many years of volunteer service by Global Ties U.S., the national citizen diplomacy organization of which GlobalPittsburgh (formerly Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors) is a charter member.

As a volunteer for more than 50 years, Soltman has hosted an estimated 400 international exchange participants from over 70 countries for dinner and other activities, such as attending Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games.

Soltman, who was described as "the embodiment of a community champion and citizen diplomat" by Gail Shrott, Director of GlobalPittsburgh's International Leaders Program, received the 2015 Lorinne Emery Award for Volunteer Service from Global Ties U.S. at a ceremony May 1 in Washington, D.C.

Herb Soltman receives his
award for volunteer service
in Washington, D.C.
The Lorinne Emery Award for Volunteer Service is given to recognize a Global Ties U.S. community-based organization volunteer who demonstrates exemplary dedication to citizen diplomacy as well as outstanding volunteer spirit.

"When Herb and his family became hospitality hosts in 1962, he filled his dining room with laughter and lively discussions whenever he brought together international guests and local friends," Shrott wrote in her nomination letter. "To this day, he can vividly describe his family's first international dinner guest."

It is loyal volunteers like Herb Soltman who enable GlobalPittsburgh to carry out its work connecting the Pittsburgh region with the world, said GlobalPittsburgh Board Chair John Hindman.

"We are eternally grateful to Herb for the determination and true Pittsburgh spirit that he has brought to his work and to this organization," Hindman said. "It is impossible to measure the value of the good deeds he has done and the positive impact he has made."

Global Ties U.S. President Jennifer Clinton, Ph.D., called Soltman a “consummate citizen diplomat.”

“The one-on-one connections he has made throughout his service as a volunteer have shattered stereotypes and helped build the relationships that lead us to a more peaceful and prosperous world,” she said. “It is thanks to individuals like Herb, who selflessly donate their time, talent, and treasure, that we are able to welcome visitors to our communities and show them who Americans truly are.”

When Soltman retired in 2003, he accelerated his efforts to make international visitors feel welcome in Pittsburgh. For the next decade, he devoted 15-20 hours per month welcoming international guests at the airport and providing personalized tours of Pittsburgh.

Two incidents in particular underscore his exceptional efforts on behalf of our organization. In October 2003, he worked tirelessly to ensure that Milica Kadic Akovic, a participant in the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) from the University of Montenegro, received much-needed medical attention after he realized that she was in acute pain after he drove her to a professional meeting.

Soltman stayed with the visitor and her interpreter from morning until evening, driving her to a hospital for treatment and to secure medications and prescribed supplies. His act of kindness will forever have a positive effect on Ms. Akovic's view of Americans.

Additionally, in 2009, when Japanese IVLP participant Masahide Tanaka suffered minor injuries at a Pittsburgh Pirates ballgame attempting to catch a baseball hit by Chicago Cubs' player Kosuke Fukudome, also from Japan, Soltman saved the day.

He leveraged his baseball contacts to secure a ball signed by Fukudome from a scout for the Cubs. That ball was shipped to Mr. Tanaka in Japan. Soltman successfully transformed a disagreeable experience into a treasured memory of the kindness of an American volunteer.

Global Ties U.S. is a network of over 100 nonprofit organizations across 44 states and 13 countries that connect leaders in U.S. communities with leaders from all around the world. Together these organizations help shape U.S. foreign relations by opening avenues for increased understanding and greater cooperation, security and prosperity. Learn more at www.GlobalTiesUS.org.

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