Events in UCIS

Thursday, October 25 until Wednesday, May 1

8:30 am Exhibit
Travelers Along the Silk Roads: 10th Century to the Present
Ground and Second Floors, Hillman Library
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Year of PittGlobal and Hillman Library
See Details

Free and Open to the Public during Hillman Library Hours

The term Silk Road, coined by 19th century German explorer Ferdinand von Richthofen, refers to a loose network of overland trade routes stretching from the Mediterranean to East Asia. Textiles, gems, spices, animals and even religions were all exchanged along this vast expanse, starting around 1,000 B.C. and continuing for millennia. For much of this time, most Silk Road traders coming from western Eurasia were Muslim, and they brought their beliefs and rich culture to millions of people.

A Crossroads of Ideas

While the Silk Road was a two-way route, most of its movement was eastward, carrying Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and later, Islam.

By the 8th century, Muslims stopped thinking of religion geographically and began seeking converts along the Silk Road. The benefits of conversion to such a widespread religion were many, as Muslims preferred trading with other Muslims.

Islamic scientific and medical advancements also had significant impact on Silk Road travelers. Chinese Buddhist traders adopted Islamic medical knowledge in wound healing and urinalysis. Muslims brought India their insights on astronomy, including a skepticism of the geocentric universe.

Cultural Exchange Along the Route

Influences from Buddhist China and other regions also affected radical changes in Islam. In the 12th century, abstract Islamic art suddenly started depicting human figures, long considered forbidden in Islam. Murals showing Buddhist statues and Indian narrative artwork started appearing in mosques, and Islamic art exploded with new techniques and figures. Chinese technologies, such as paper production and gunpowder, were transmitted to the West. Iran’s art in the Mongol period (13th and 14th centuries) is dramatically influenced by Chinese artistic traditions.

The Exhibit Design

The ground floor cases in Hillman Library feature a map of the Silk Road from its Eastern terminus in the Chinese city of Xian to its western terminus in Constantinople. They also display the late-14th century Catalan Atlas, the most detailed world map of its time, showing key places along and major figures who traveled the overland route of the Silk Road. The exhibit continues on the second floor of Hillman Library in five thematic display cases:

*Horses and Dynasties: Cartography and Painting in China, 10th-14th Centuries,
*Alexander the Great, Kublai Khan, and Marco Polo: Confluences of Power and Exchange in Assia,
*Musical Encounters in the Deserts and Mountains of Central Asia,
*Explorations in Turkestan: Aurel Stein and Bamiyan, and
*New World Exploitation and the China Trade with Europe.

Friday, February 15 until Thursday, March 21

(All day) Exhibit
Africans in India Exhibition
University Art Gallery, Frick Fine Arts Building
Announced by:
Director's Office on behalf of the Year of Pitt Global
See Details

Over the centuries, East Africans have greatly distinguished themselves in India as generals, commanders, admirals, architects, prime ministers, and rulers. They have written a story unparalleled in the rest of the world: that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority.

Known as Habshis (Abyssinians) and Sidis, they have left an impressive historical and architectural legacy that attest to their determination, skills, and intellectual, cultural, military and political savvy.

This exhibition retraces—in over 100 photographic reproductions of paintings and contemporary photographs—the lives and achievements of a few of the many talented and prominent Sidis of yesterday.

The gallery at Frick Fine Arts is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays up to 7 p.m. It is closed on weekends.

Thursday, February 21 until Sunday, February 24

(All day) Conference
2019 International Model African Union Conference
Howard University, Washington, D.C.
Sponsored by:
Center for African Studies
See Details

The Model African Union is a simulation of the proceedings of the African Union, amplified by pre-conference study at home institutions and Embassy briefings in Washington, D.C. at Howard University in collaboration with the African Union Mission in Washington, D.C. and Member State Embassies sponsors this annual simulation of the African Union, the regional organization of African states, in the form of a Model African Union Conference. This is an opportunity for university and college students to study the role, structure, and activities of the African Union as well as the economic, social, and political-security issues facing African countries. Through simulation, students gain a better and clearer understanding of the capabilities and constraints that shape the policies of African Union member states in the arena of intra-African diplomacy on issues of mutual concern.

Friday, February 22

(All day) Information Session
Roadmap to Model African Union
4130 WWPH
Sponsored by:
Center for African Studies
See Details

Begin drafting a 1-2 page policy brief on behalf of your country in response to agenda items 1 and 2 that you will use when working with other Member States in drafting the final conference resolution in April.

11:00 am Conference
Symposium on African diasporas in the Indian Ocean
602 Cathedral of Learning
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center along with Year of PittGlobal and and Humanities Center
See Details

11 am -12:30 pm : Dwight A. Carey
12:30 pm-1:30 pm: Lunch
1:30 pm-3:15 pm: Roundtable with Yolanda Covington-Ward, RA Judy, Idrissou Mora-Kpai, Imani Owens, Nico Slate
3:30 pm-5 pm: Indrani Chatterjee

12:00 pm Career Counselling
Career Toolkit Series: Careers in Global Health
Posvar 4217
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
See Details

Guest speakers Sarah Markwardt from UPMC, Sandhya Subramanian from Deloitte Consulting, and Sarah Sullivan from The Task Force for Global Health Inc., will provide their expertise, knowledge, and advice. Our panelists will discuss their pathways in achieving a career in global health and what you can do right now as a student.

1:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
The 'Security Trap' in Latin America
4217 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Center for Latin American Studies along with Panoramas (CLAS)
See Details

Join Panoramas in a discussion on the 'Security Trap' in Latin America: Using the State to Fight Violence with Violence

Friday, February 22, 2019
4217 Posvar Hall
1:00 p.m.

Pizza provided! Free & open to the public!

Panoramas provides a web-based venue for thoughtful dialogue of Latin American and Caribbean issues. By enabling a voice for scholars, students, policy makers and others to engage in constructive commentary on relevant current and historical topics, the forum also serves as an academic resource to worldwide educational audiences. Housed at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, and maintained by CLAS faculty, students and alumni, Panoramas strives to be at the forefront of scholarly analysis of affairs in the Latin American region.

For more information and to join the conversation, visit:

For more information on the Center for Latin American Studies, visit:

6:00 pm Lecture
North Korea in Transition Speaker Series Opening Lecture
3911 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center along with Year of Pitt Global and Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures
See Details

The thaw in the US-North Korea relations last year, however uncertain, was certainly a welcome change from the previous year’s bellicose rhetoric, for both sides. Yet is change really around the corner? Doubts on Kim Jong Un’s sincerity persist. Many still believe he will never denuclearize and his gestures toward opening are just another ploy to buy time. Are we just seeing more of the same? Or do we have a historic opportunity to make real change on the peninsula? What are the issues at stake in 2019? “North Korea in Transition” in-vites distinguished experts in the fields of policymaking and international relations to probe those questions and put the current situation in a broader historical context. Reaching beyond politics, this speaker series also brings together scholars who have led academic and cultural engagements with North Korea to discuss how non-political exchanges can help improve North Korea’s relations with the rest of the world.

Scott A. Snyder is senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). His program examines South Korea’s efforts to contribute on the international stage; its potential influence and contributions as a middle power in East Asia; and the peninsular, regional, and global implications of North Korean instability. Mr. Snyder is the author of South Korea at the Crossroads: Autonomy and Alliance in an Era of Rival Powers (January 2018) and coauthor of The Japan-South Korea Identity Clash: East Asian Security and the United States (May 2015) with Brad Glosserman. He is also the coeditor of North Korea in Transition: Politics, Economy, and Society (October 2012), and the editor of Global Korea: South Korea’s Contributions to International Security (October 2012) and The U.S.-South Korea Alliance: Meeting New Security Challenges (March 2012). Mr. Snyder served as the project director for CFR’s Independent Task Force on policy toward the Korean Peninsula. He currently writes for the blog Asia Unbound.