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.

Thursday, March 28

12:00 pm Lecture
Exhibit Talk, Travelers Along the Silk Roads: 10th Century to the Present
Hillman Library, Ground Floor Lobby
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with University Library System (ULS) and Year of Pitt Global
See Details

Join us for an Exhibit Talk on the current Hillman Library exhibit, Travelers Along the Silk Roads: 10th Century to the Present. This talk is part of a series of events including faculty and guest speakers and films. The Exhibit Talk will begin in the Ground Floor Lobby of Hillman Library then move to the Second Floor.

12:00 pm Career Counselling
Career Talk: Working at the World Bank and Other International Organizations
3610 Posvar
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
See Details

Dina Elnaggar is the World Bank communications lead for the Finance, Competitiveness Innovation (FCI) Global Practice. Dina has more than 20 years’ experience in advocacy, strategic communications, risk management, media CSO relations. She joined the World Bank Group in 2007 as Senior Communications Officer in the MNA and then moved to the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) as its communications lead. Prior to joining the World Bank, Dina was a UNDP project manager responsible for the design and implementation of projects related to the environment and child rights. She also worked as a technical advisor to the Danida-funded environmental portfolio in Egypt and as a consultant for USAID, DFID and the World Bank in the environment, health and social protection sectors. Lunch will be provided and space is limited, so please RSVP by Monday, 3/25 in writing to Stephen Lund at

1:00 pm Lecture
Let's Talk Africa: Why Peacekeeping Fails: Experiences from Angola & Mozambique
4130 WWPH
Sponsored by:
Center for African Studies
See Details

Dr. Dennis Jett will give a presentation on why peacekeeping succeeded in Mozambique at the same time it failed in Angola. He will go over perspectives on how conflict has evolved, how peacekeeping has changed as a result and why in most cases today peacekeeping is making no contribution to peace.

Dr. Jett served as the Ambassador to Mozambique, the Senior Director for African Affairs on the National Security Council, and the Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d'Affaires in Malawi and Liberia.

3:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
From Komsomol to NGO: Experts, Activists, and Changing Paradigms of Development in Central Asia and Beyond
Hillman Library, First Floor - Thornburgh Room
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with University Library System (ULS) and Year of Pitt Global
See Details

Presented by Artemy Kalinovsky, Senior Lecturer, East European Studies, University of Amsterdam.

This event is a part of the Guest Speaker Series of Silk Roads Rising: Globalization and Exchange from the 10th Century to the Present

3:30 pm Reading Group
Women's History Month Faculty Book Discussion
Mount Aloysius College Library
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center along with CERIS
4:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
Peering Under the Rug: Sources of Information about Russia
4130 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Department of Political Science and Department of History
See Details

Mark Galeotti, Senior Associate Fellow at Royal United Services Institute

Maxim Trudolyubov, Vedomosti, Kennan Institute

Kevin Rothrock, Meduza

A popular meme about Russian politics is that it’s like “bulldogs fighting under a rug.” Namely, it’s opaque, shadowy, full of rumors, and driven by conspiracies. This image have become more common in the West over Putin’s long reign, and intensified since Russia’s interference in the 2016 US Presidential election. Where can we turn for clearer vision given the supposed murkiness of Russian politics? This moderated roundtable discussion with Mark Galeotti, Maxim Trudolubov, and Kevin Rothrock will explore media and human sources of information about contemporary Russia and its many promises and roadblocks.

6:00 pm Reading Group
Four Evenings: Min Jin Lee, Pachinko
Hillman Library 171B (Latin American Lecture Room)
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center along with National Consortium for Teaching About Asia - University of Pittsburgh, University Library System and Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures
See Details

Min Jin Lee, Pachinko

March 28 | 6-7pm | Hillman Library 171B
Conversation with Seung-hwan Shin, Assistant Professor in East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Pittsburgh

April 1 | 7:30pm | Carnegie Music Hall
Lecture by Min Jin Lee

In conjunctions with the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures program's "Ten Evenings" series, GSC is hosting "Four Evenings," pre-lecture discussions that put prominent world authors and their work in global perspective. Open to series subscribers and the Pitt Community, these evening discussion, conducted by Pitt experts, provide additional insight on prominent writers and engaging issues. A limited number of tickets to the author's lectures are available.

Co-sponsored by the Global Studies Center, National Consortium for Teaching About Asia - University of Pittsburgh, University Library System, and Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures

7:00 pm Film
FACES OF WO/MEN Film Screening: Working Woman
McConomy Auditorium, CMU
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center along with Jewish Studies Program, Pitt Film and Media Studies, Pitt Film Talk, Pitt's German Film Fund, Department of English, Student Office of Sustainability and Several Community Sponsors
See Details

Orna is the mother of three young children with a husband struggling to start his own restaurant. To help support her family she returns to the workplace, landing a job with a former army superior, Benny, who is now a successful real estate developer. While Orna embraces her new position and tries to balance its demands with her home life, she begins to experience escalating sexual harassment from her boss. WORKING WOMAN is a strikingly relevant and global tale in the midst of today’s #MeToo movement, all of which comes out through the empowering performance of Liron Ben Shlush and calculated direction of Michal Aviad. More information and tickets can be found at