May 2016

Welcome to the Mix

Welcome to the second issue of the Council’s monthly newsletter! We are excited share our updates with you and to announce the launch of our YouTube channel. Here, you can catch clips from our events, watch exclusive interviews from our speakers, and get behind the scenes information on our programs.

As always, we would love to hear from you. Your suggestions, ideas, and feedback are welcome. Please write to to share your thoughts.

We hope you enjoy this issue!whitebox

Angélica Ocampo
President and CEO

This Month’s Featured Events

Culturally Diverse Women Share Unique Experiences

Diversity through the Eyes of Women, the Council’s notable new series, launched on May 4th with an insightful discussion featuring female leaders from Pittsburgh’s Muslim community.

Moderator Nadia Khawaja, provided a background on the roles of Muslim women in society throughout history. Panelists Riffat Chughtai, Sister Sarah Jameela, and Dr. Maliha Kamal candidly shared the positive experiences and the challenges of being Muslim women in the Pittsburgh region as the city has grown more diverse through the years.

Register for the second part of this important series here. The next two discussions will focus on the experiences of women from the  Latino community on May 18th, and women from the African-American community on June 6th.

Civil War Pathways in Syria

Was it inevitable for the crisis in Syria to escalate to the level that it has? It turns out that there were several opportunities, or pathways for varied levels of interventions in the last four years. Ross Harrison, Georgetown University Professor, and expert on Syria, spoke to a captivated audience at the Carnegie Library in East Liberty on April 25th about the most important milestones of the crisis in Syria, and what the future may look like.

The Foreign Policy Challenges to Come

Instability in the Middle East, the rise of a strong economy in China, the Iran nuclear deal, free trade policies, diplomacy, development, and defense were some of the issues identified by Laura Rosenberger, Foreign Policy Advisor for the Hillary for America Campaign, and D. Raja, the Chairman of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County. Both Panelists addressed the potential foreign policy challenges the next President of the United States is likely to face.

U.S. – Cuba Relations: Past, Present, and Future

Dr. Ernesto Domínguez López, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Havana in Cuba, spoke to 30 individuals about the complexity of U.S. – Cuban relations, and his cautiously optimistic outlook for the future.

Thank you to our partner, the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh for co-hosting this event!

Young Professionals Behind the Scenes at Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk

20 young professionals from the Pittsburgh community, ranging from college students to mid-career professionals, gathered at the Carnegie Museum of Art for a behind the scenes look at the Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk exhibit led by curator Rachel Delphia. This event was the first in a series of programs designed for young professionals. Look out for more events that are exclusive to young professionals.

Education Program Highlights

students_33In early April, students studying Spanish at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School had the opportunity to connect via video conference with Dr. Blanca Heredia, a Professor at CIDE in Mexico City and Founding Partner at Sociometrix, a consultancy specializing in education. She is engaged in both applied research and social entrepreneurship in the intersection between education and economic growth. Dr. Heredia and the students discussed education in the United States and Mexico in Spanish. Students asked questions about current controversies in Mexico, including the disappearance of 43 students in 2014.

Global Leadership Certificate students had the opportunity to participate in a Cultural Fluency training presented by the Council with students from Bosnia and Herzegovina in early April. The students are in the United States as part of a State Department Youth Leadership program organized by Magee Women’s International. Students discussed their experiences in Pittsburgh and explored the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required to be successful members of the global workforce. Sonia, a high school senior, describes her experiences during in the Cultural Fluency training. Watch the video.

Don’t Miss Our Upcoming Events!

Diversity through the Eyes of Women
Latino Community Panel Discussion
Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.
Point Park University

Diversity through the Eyes of Women
African-American Community Panel Discussion
Wednesday, June 6th at 5:30 p.m.
Point Park University

The Brexit and the Future of Europe
More details coming soon.

Brazil’s Leap from the BRICS to Economic and Political Turmoil
More details coming soon.

Listen Up: The Council’s Coverage of Global Issues

Each week, the Council hosts a half-hour conversation on global issues. Tune in to the Global Press Conference on 1410 KQV AM radio every Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. If you missed any of our last five broadcasts, you can catch up here.

Our Future Global Leaders. Three Global Leadership Certificate students talk about their experiences in the program.

A discussion on transnational threats from with Tom Sanderson, Co-Director of the Transnational Threats Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Updates in cybersecurity with Andrew Conte from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

A closer look at the reconstruction in Afghanistan with John Spoke, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Meet the Team

Every month, we would like to introduce you to someone from our Board of Directors, staff, interns, or volunteers. In this edition, we would like to introduce you to Amber Makokele, the Council’s new Finance Manager.

“I have lived in the Pittsburgh area my whole life and recently decided to transition my career to the nonprofit sector and work for a philanthropic organization so that I could more effectively have a positive impact on the community.

When I think of Pittsburgh, I think of an interconnected community of hard working people who are passionate about their culture. The World Affairs Council’s programs and initiatives help to expand and enrich that culture, and ultimately position Pittsburgh to become a top global competitor. I’m so excited to now be part of an organization with an energizing mission that is serving as an invaluable resource to the city.”

 Must Reads From Our Region

Duolingo makes language learning fun.

The tech scene in Pittsburgh continues to grow as new companies move in.

What ideal public transportation would like in Pittsburgh.

Thank You to Our Supporters!




 Did You Know?

The World Affairs Council is a United Way Contributor’s Choice Agency, making it easy for you to designate your individual or business contributions to a nonprofit that is making a difference locally. Simply select the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh’s Contributor Choice Agency Code #471 on your pledge form. Questions? Please contact our Development Associate, Nayab Khan at 412-821-1259 or