November Newsletter

A Message From the Council

As the country and the world follow with close attention to the first signs of the incoming administration, the Council remains steadfast in its mission to facilitate the Pittsburgh community’s understanding of international issues and foster the city’s global connections and local international communities.

At this time, programs that give students, teachers, and the community access to expert analysis of international affairs as they unfold are critically important.

And now more than ever, we are committed to promoting global understanding and to making Pittsburgh a welcoming and inclusive city. Thank you for your support.

Save the Date for Giving Tuesday


Tuesday, November 29th will kick-off the season of giving. All donations made to the Council on Giving Tuesday will be matched thanks to generous support from The Benter Foundation and members of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Board of Directors. Your contribution will help bring international understanding and engagement opportunities to the Pittsburgh community. Please support our work by making a donation here.

Education Program Highlights

Global Travel Scholarship Welcome Home Session

2016 World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Global Travel Scholars

Our 2016 Global Travel Scholars shared their insights on cultural exchange and leadership development they experienced while on their summer trips abroad at the annual Global Travel Scholarship Welcome Home Session.

The students discussed their trips in a TED-talk style format, followed by a moderated discussion and a Q&A session with the audience. The Scholars’ maturity, poise, and heightened global awareness were evident throughout their presentations and responses. We are so proud of the Scholars and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for each of them!

Global Terrorism Situation Report

In October, Tom Sanderson, Senior Fellow and Director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), gave a Global Terrorism Situation Report to a group of nearly 200 high school students at Thomas Jefferson High School and an additional 60 students participating via video conference from Affiliated High School of Chung-Hsing University (Taiwan), Northwestern High School (Albion, PA), Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, and Quaker Valley High School.

Mr. Sanderson provided a brief overview of the history of terrorism, discussed the strategies and tactics of ISIS and al-Qaeda, and shared how the U.S. and countries impacted by terrorism can address the push and pull factors that lead people into terrorism.

World Affairs Institute on Foreign Policy Challenges

Our 46th Annual World Affairs Institute brought together hundreds of high school student leaders, Rotarians, and teachers throughout Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio to discuss foreign policy challenges facing the new administration.

Dr. Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, addressed the most pressing global concerns facing the next President of the United States. Panelists Mr. William Adams, Vice President and Senior International Economist for the PNC Financial Services Group, and Mr. Mike Staresinic, President of City50 and Member of The Change Leaders UK, continued the discussion with the guidance of moderator Dr. Allyson Lowe, Dean of Carlow University College of Leadership & Social Change.

The World Affairs Institute would not be possible without the Council’s partnership with Rotary International, which provided scholarships for students to participate in this thought provoking event. Thank you to the Heinz History Center for the fantastic venue!

Fall’s Featured Events

A New Grand Strategy for America

The Council partnered with Duquesne University’s Department of Political Science for an engaging discussion on foreign policy titled, A New Grand Strategy for America.

Dr. Stephen Walt, the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University spoke to more than 75 students, faculty, and community guests about the notion of “offshore balancing” and other aspects in U.S. foreign policy.

Diversity Through the Eyes of Women
– Asian Community Panel Discussion

Through a panel discussion featuring community leaders of Bhutanese, Chinese, Indian, and Iraqi backgrounds, the Council explored just how vast the Asian community can be.

As part of the Diversity Through the Eyes of Women series, this panel of Asian migrants and refugees addressed their varying experiences moving to Pittsburgh, differences in cultures and beliefs, and the ways in which we can all make Pittsburgh a more welcoming region.

Is China the Next Global Power?

meltzerWill China rival the West? Dr. Allan Meltzer, world-renowned economist and professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University, argues against this claim. Through a moderated luncheon discussion with Augustine (Gus) Faucher, Deputy Chief Economist of The PNC Financial Services Group, Dr. Meltzer addressed the political and economic policies he argues are holding China back. For a brief insight into Dr. Meltzer’s view on the future of China, click here.

Meeting with Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya

Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya, Founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence, was joined by Dr. Audrey J. Murrell, Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, for a heartening discussion about Dr. Ntaiya’s work to educate and empower young girls to break the cycle of destructive cultural practices in Kenya.

Exploring Cybersecurity Through a Legal Lens

The Council launched its 2016 cybersecurity discussion series with a panel of local legal experts representing the United States Attorney’s Office, the National Cyber Forensics & Training Alliance, and the FBI – Pittsburgh Field Office.

Through a moderated round table discussion, the panel addressed key areas including how to build a case against hackers domestically and abroad, as well as new and growing cyber-vulnerabilities.

Diversity Through the Eyes of Women – African Community

Race, gender, and community engagement were themes addressed during our fifth Diversity Through the Eyes of Women panel discussion, featuring women leaders from Pittsburgh’s South African, Zimbabwean, Nigerian, and Kenyan communities. Watch as panelist Lois Mufuka Martin of the United Way of Southwestern PA discussed her experience as a Zimbabwean immigrant returning to Pittsburgh after living in South Carolina.

Our final closing event, a multicultural dialogue, will bring together leaders, partners, past participants, as well as general supporters of the series for an interactive discussion on diversity and inclusion in Pittsburgh. The discussion will feature Mary Montague, a Peace Builder and Conflict Resolution Expert. Read about her important work and accolades here.

This free event, sponsored by the UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion, will take place on Tuesday, December 6th from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Point Park University. You can register here.


This month, the Council hosted its 13th annual WorldQuest international trivia competition with hosts Sally Wiggin of WTAE-TV and Paul Guggenheimer of 90.5 WESA FM. Held at the Cabaret at Theater Square, this annual event welcomed 26 teams from across the Pittsburgh region for eight exciting rounds of internationally-themed trivia, with questions addressing geography, international politics, and the global economy.

Congratulations to The Circumnavigators who came in first place, the University Center for International Studies at Pitt who placed second, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette team who came in third, as well as all of the participating teams.

Don’t Miss Our Upcoming Events!

New Threats to Cybersecurity
Chris Valasek, Uber Advanced Technologies Center
Bar Marco
November 22, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.
Sponsored by Highmark Health

Transatlantic Business Panel: Industry 4.0 – Considerations for American Industry
625 Liberty Avenue, Floor 5
November 28, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.

This event is being organized by the European Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh in cooperation with the Pittsburgh Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

Diversity Through the Eyes of Women: Multicultural Dialogue
Mary Montague, International Peace Negotiator
Point Park University
December 6, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.
Sponsored by the UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion

Save the Date!

John T. Ryan Jr. Memorial Lecture – Details to follow!
on the occasion of the Council’s 85th Annual Member Meeting
The Duquesne Club
December 13, 2016 at 12:00 p.m.
Supported by Council Board member, Mr. John T. Ryan III and family

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: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 broadcasts, you can catch up here:

Inside the Council

This month, the Council is proud to introduce a new member to the team:

Aileen St. Leger, Public Program Intern

Aileen joins the Council as a Public Program intern for the fall 2016 semester. Aileen is currently in her second year at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, where she majors in Security and Intelligence Studies.

She says, “After spending a year in the classroom, joining the Council has been a perfect complement to my studies in international affairs and foreign policy. It has been incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to inform and educate the citizens of Pittsburgh about the global events happening around them.”

Council in the News

Excerpts of Council Events and Programs Covered by Local News Sources

“If even a refrigerator gets hacked, that’s a federal crime,” said James Kitchen, a national security cyber specialist in the office of the U.S. attorney for Western Pennsylvania. “That idea once seemed absurd, but federal prosecutors have a broad definition of what constitutes a computer, and it includes many everyday gadgets” Read the full Tribune Review article here.

“… Sanderson has led a study of emerging trends in terrorism covering the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Having conducted field research in more than 60 countries, his resulting perspective tends to mix optimism with more than a hint of pessimism.” Read The Almanac article here.

Must Reads From Our Region

Recently, P4 held its second annual conference in an effort to develop a new model of urban growth and development in the Pittsburgh region.

More than 3,000 local leaders gathered in Pittsburgh for the League of Cities Summit, which is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities.

Council Board member, Dr. Lalit Chordia, was recently featured in Next UP, NEXTpittsburgh’s series highlighting dynamic people in the Pittsburgh community.

Thank You to Our Supporters!


Did You Know?

Members of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh share a common interest in understanding the global challenges of the 21st century, as well as the international issues facing our region?

Membership offers a unique opportunity to participate in informed dialogue with experts on a range of global issues. If you are not already a member, don’t miss out. Sign up today!