Catching up with the Council

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Chinese Vice Premier Visits Summer Seminar

Last week, Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong visited with students at the World Affairs Council’s Summer Seminar on Global Issues, where students have been learning Mandarin Chinese as part of their broader global issues course. Ms. Liu was in Pittsburgh during a three-city tour to the United States.

The Summer Seminar on Global Issues exposes students to a critical foreign language (Mandarin Chinese or Arabic) alongside a global issues course focusing on the themes of global health, human rights, and the environment. Students also engage in a range of experiential learning opportunities designed to strengthen their knowledge of international issues. This program is held in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Global Studies Center.​

Students participating in the Council’s Summer Seminar on Global Issues formally welcome the Chinese Vice Premier to the University of Pittsburgh.

The Vice Premier congratulates the students on their tremendous progress learning Mandarin Chinese during the first week of the Summer Seminar on Global Issues.

Congratulations to Our Outstanding Teacher and Student!
Student awardee Teresa Leatherow (left) and teacher awardee Lisa Sydeski (right) pose for a photo with featured luncheon speaker Thomas M. Sanderson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

At a luncheon at the Duquesne Club on June 16, the Council recognized this year’s recipients of the George C. Oehmler and Donald E. Farr Awards for exemplary performance in connection with the Council’s education programs.

Lisa Sydeski, a social studies teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School, was presented with the Oehmler Award for her dedication and commitment to broadening her students’ global perspective and knowledge of international issues. Lisa has been an active supporter of the Council’s programming efforts, providing innovative learning opportunities for her students, and strengthening her own professional development. She has utilized many of the resources and programs provided by the Council to develop a new course at her school that provides students with the global knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century.

Teresa Leatherow, a senior from Seneca Valley Senior High School, received the Farr Award for her dedication to, and passion for, world affairs education. Teresa, an alum of both the Council’s 2013 Summer Seminar on World Affairs and the 2014 Summer Seminar on Global Issues, has always been an avid student of global issues. This interest in world affairs influenced Teresa’s graduation project, which focused on education reform and the need for more 21st century global skills. Teresa will be attending the University of Pittsburgh in the fall.

Global Travel Scholars Embark on Life Changing Journeys

GTS_400Eight local high school students will soon board a plane (some of them for the first time ever), destined for exciting, new adventures in Costa Rica, France, Japan, Jordan, Peru, Spain, or Thailand. These students are part of the World Affairs Council’s Global Travel Scholarship Program, a needs-based scholarship initiative launched in 2004 to provide local students with an opportunity to immerse themselves in a foreign country. To date, the Council has sent nearly 120 students overseas.

For more information about our 2015 Scholars, see below and in future newsletters where we will be highlighting this year’s group throughout the summer.

For more information about our Global Travel Scholarship Program, check out our website.

Meet Two of Our Global Travel Scholars!

Taylor_350Desmond Taylor, who just completed his junior year at Pittsburgh Brashear High School, is headed for Thailand, where he will spend five weeks immersed in the contemporary culture and Buddhist traditions of Thailand. Desmond chose to visit Thailand because he has several friends who are Thai, and because the country is “so different” than Pittsburgh. He is excited about “meeting lots of new people” and learning how people on the other side of the world live. Desmond says that he is a little nervous about meeting his host family and figuring out how to communicate with people who don’t speak English.

Isabella Olive, who will be a senior at Quaker Valley High School this fall, is spending three weeks in France. While there, she will learn about the many regional cultures that make up the country. Isabella has been “studying French since preschool” and is “fascinated by French culture.” She is eager to take her passions for language, history, politics, and culture out of the classroom and into the real world. Her only concern about the trip is “not embarrassing myself in front of my host family by doing something that only Americans do.”