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Pitt ranks 43rd in U.S. News global rankings

Originally published in University Times, Oct. 20, 2020

Pitt is in pretty good company — tied at 43rd with the Sorbonne University in Paris — in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report global universities rankings, which were released this week.

In addition, Pitt ranked in the top 20 in several medical field: Surgery (3); infectious diseases (13); clinical medicine (18); and psychiatry/psychology (20). See the full subject rankings here.

The top five global universities were: Harvard, Massachusetts Institute for Technology, Stanford, University of Oxford and Columbia.

Carnegie Mellon University ranked 94th overall, while Penn State was 75th.

Nearly 1,500 institutions spread across 86 countries were included in the seventh annual rankings. The ranks are based on the schools’ academic research performance and global and regional reputations, according to U.S. News & World Report.

— Susan Jones

Challenges We Must Face - A Message from Vice Provost Ariel Armony to the UCIS Community

As this group knows well, the killing of George Floyd didn’t happen in a vacuum and didn’t reveal anything new. It brutally expressed, once again, the vicious realities of racism, xenophobia, sexism, police violence and the impunity with which it operates, and social injustices that characterize this country’s past and present.

It is important to reiterate our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We also know, however, that there is a wide gulf between words and action. Change is difficult, messy, and often uncomfortable. It requires our willingness to be honest, to keep fighting, and to stand back up in the face of temporary defeat.

The dehumanization of so many based on race/ethnicity, gender/sexual orientation, age, ability, religion, national origin, and socioeconomic status has become a recurrent component of our reality in the United States and around the world. In a chronic, shameful way, we often become numb to this despicable reality; at times, that numbness gives way to rage. Still, I am inspired to see the outpouring of protests and condemnations nationwide and I am hopeful this will pave the way for real and necessary change.

I am proud of all the work we do as a center and as a university. I urge everyone to take the time they need for their own mental well-being and encourage you to keep fighting for what we know to be just and right.

Best,
Ariel

Ariel C. Armony (he, him, his)
Vice Provost for Global Affairs
Director, University Center for International Studies
Professor of Public & International Affairs and Political Science

United States-China: The clock is ticking, but there’s still time to reset the relationship

By Ariel Armony
(Originally published in the Spanish in La Nación, "EE.UU.-China: el reloj corre, pero aún queda un espacio para resetear la relación," July 25, 2020)

Eleven years ago, I taught at the prestigious University of Nankai in China through the Fulbright Scholar Program. In one of my classes, I asked the students if they believed that economic development leads to democracy. My question sparked a rare, lucid, and optimistic debate about the future of China.

Today, the question would not make sense. In the last ten years, China’s political system has become much more authoritarian despite its economic growth.

Furthermore, I would not even be able to ask the question. The Trump Administration abruptly eliminated the Fulbright Scholar Program to China.

My stay in Tianjin, Beijing, and other cities allowed me to build an invaluable network of contacts and collaborators. Nevertheless, in the last year, I’ve had to focus my attention, as the leader of a global university, on developing mechanisms in order to protect our scientific research, intellectual property, and cybersecurity when working with institutions in China.

Has a Cold War started between the U.S. and China?

Whether we call it a Cold War­­—confrontation or continuation­­­­—the reality is that the bilateral relationship between the superpowers is collapsing. The most pressing question is, how intense will the conflict between the two countries become in the coming years?

The areas of conflict are wide-ranging and complicated. To wit: they range from the commercial war to the 5G network, tensions over the coronavirus, accusations of stealing scientific research, the military escalation in the South China Sea, the autonomy of Hong Kong, the deterioration of relations between China and Australia, and all the way to the cooperation and incorporation of China and Russia in Eurasia. Not to mention Taiwan, Iran, India, Venezuela, Africa, Europe, the new Silk Road Initiative, the situation with the Uyghurs, and the Chinese investments in infrastructure all over the world. As if it were not enough, the statements coming from high ranking Trump Administration officials characterize China as the greatest threat to U.S. national security and the economy.

Whether or not China awaits the eventual extinction of western capitalism, as has been said at the highest levels of government in Washington, is less important than whether tensions will heat up quickly, raising anxieties while destroying what’s left of their mutual trust.

The United States accuses China of having abused the open system of global competition created after World War II. China supposedly used its closed internal system to take advantage of their participation in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other multilateral organizations. Simultaneously, for many, the illusion that market democracy could contain Chinese expansionism has disappeared. The combination of both perspectives leads us to the conclusion that we are in a new era of competition between the superpowers.

China and the United States embody two economic models within the capitalist scheme. And yes, they also represent two political models. Competition between a liberal democracy and a one-party system takes on a peculiar significance when the established democracies exhibit characteristics that are increasingly autocratic and the number of new autocracies outpaces new democracies for the first time since 2001.

From this point of view, this moment smells a lot like McCarthyism. The preoccupations about North American universities being threatened by evil agents, the general air of suspicion, the questioning of loyalties to the U.S., and the hostile attitudes toward individuals of Chinese origin have all filtered into North American culture. This context has created an exaggerated sense of vulnerability.

Nevertheless, strident declarations and scenarios that paint images of a future dominated by Chinese communism, China’s nuclear and military capacity, its indisputable expansionism, and the end of the U.S.’s global monopoly (adding to its own profound internal crisis), do not bode well for the future.

When thinking about the future of the conflict between China and the U.S. we must remember three things. First, China cannot be changed. Second, it cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, China must maintain its place in the global commercial order and China needs the U.S. in order to reach the levels of innovation and scientific advancement that will mark their future. This combination of elements suggests that there is apossibility to conceive of a new framework for mutual trust. The clock is ticking, but there’s still time to reset the relationship.

 

The author is the Vice Provost for Global Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

[English translation by Jessica Craft, Center for Latin American Studies]

Colombian Seminar on Latin American-Asian Relations

On November 13, Redintercol and the Program of Studies of the Pacific Alliance (PEAP) at Universidad Icesi hosted a seminar called “The Colombian Pacific and the Asia-Pacific Region: Challenges and Opportunities.”

The seminar focused on the important factors in the bourgeoning, evolving relationships among nations in Asia and Latin America. A multifaceted, sub-national perspective was shared by a panel of international experts.

They keynote speech was presented by Dr. Ariel Armony, Vice Provost of Global Affairs and director of the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Armony’s areas of focus include the changing role of China in Latin America, the globalization of cities, and innovation in international education. He is also a member of the Asia and the Americas section of the Latin American Studies Association. Dr. Armony will be accompanied by Dr. Adriana Roldan, Director of the Asia-Pacific Studies Center of Universidad EAFIT, and Dr. Alejandro Ossa, Director of InvestPacific investment agency. Both participants have extensive experience in the study and practical work between Asian countries and countries in Latin America. The seminar will be moderated by Dr. Vladimir Rouvinski, co-chair of the Asia and Americas Section of the Latin American Studies Association.

University of Pittsburgh Again in Top 50 Global Universities

The following first ran in Pittwire, October 29, 2019:

The University of Pittsburgh was again named among the world’s top 50 universities in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities rankings. Pitt landed at No. 47, tied with University of Minnesota.

In the latest ranking, the magazine evaluated a list of the world’s top 1,500 universities — which includes institutions from the U.S. and more than 80 other countries. The universities were rated based on 13 different indicators measuring their academic research performance and their global and regional reputations.

Several Pitt programs ranked in the top 50 by subject, including Surgery at No. 3, Clinical Medicine at No. 18 and Psychiatry/Psychology at No. 19.

Other programs in the top 50 are:

  • No. 23: Neuroscience and Behavior
  • No. 23: Oncology
  • No. 34: Pharmacology and Toxicology (tied with University of Pennsylvania)
  • No. 36: Arts and Humanities
  • No. 39: Immunology
  • No. 42: Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
  • No. 49: Microbiology (tied with University of Toronto)

Pitt students come from 108 countries and all 50 states, in addition to the U.S. Territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Internationally, most students come from China, India and Korea. The Pitt Study Abroad program sends more than 1,800 students per year across its five campuses to over 350 programs in more than 75 countries on six continents. The university has also ranked among the top producers of Fulbright U.S. Students.

Pitt continues to be recognized as a top university in many areas. Read more about Pitt's achievements.

Study Abroad Office Assistant Director Brice Everett Lynn and Program Manager Nazir Noori are being honored with 2019 Chancellor’s Staff Awards

In a globally oriented office, individual efforts make lasting impacts. The work of two University Center for International Studies (UCIS) staff members is receiving special recognition this year.

Study Abroad Office Assistant Director Brice Everett Lynn and Program Manager Nazir Noori are being honored with 2019 Chancellor’s Staff Awards.

Collectively, Lynn and Noori represent over 15 years of service to Pitt Study Abroad. Each had a unique path to his current responsibilities.

Prior to serving the University of Pittsburgh, Noori worked at the U.S. Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan. The position’s prestige put Noori and his family at risk, so it was recommended by a colleague that they move to Pittsburgh.

The award selection committee, in fact, noted the “tremendous sacrifice…made as an Afghan citizen working for the United States government.”

Noori began working at Pitt in a temporary position. In less than five years, he was hired as a full-time employee and has since received three promotions. During the time, Noori balanced a full-time job with a growing family, received an undergraduate degree, and worked toward a graduate
degree in Public Policy and Management.

Noori has managed a portfolio of 15 study abroad programs for approximately 300 students as a program manager. He has also worked with UCIS to develop a Contract Lifecycle Management solution to help the management of international partnership agreements in order to expand curricular offerings, research collaborations, and intercultural opportunities.

Noori receives the Award in Early Career Achievement, which recognizes staff with three-to-five years of experience who have exceeded the expectations of their assignment. Indeed, the Chancellor highlighted Noori’s “commitment, strength, and courage serve as an inspiration for [his] colleagues and for our
students.”  

Brice Lynn says he wouldn’t have imagined as a Pitt undergraduate student that he would be working at his alma mater a decade later.

After a semester in Granada, Spain in 2009, Lynn joined the Study Abroad Office as a student intern. At the time, the study abroad process was entirely on paper. Accordingly, Lynn generated a nearly paperless study abroad application process (called TerraDotta) that reduces application barriers for students and enhances administrative efficiency.

Other innovations spearheaded by Lynn include a new version of the Pitt Study Abroad website, which features a smarter search tool for students to find classes and scholarships, and redesigned Pitt Study Abroad print materials, which has made it easier for students to discover programs that meet their goals.

Lynn receives the Award in Innovation in Advancing Administrative Operational Efficiency, which recognizes staff members who have made exceptional contributions to efficiency in the workplace. Undoubtedly, “[Lynn’s] work has played an important role in helping the University to further position itself as a leader in offering students to expand their horizons through studying abroad.”

Both Lynn and Noori will be commemorated with Chancellor’s Award plaques in William Pitt Union and will be honored at an event on campus later this year.

Karen Lue Welcomed as New Pitt Global Hub Manager

Karen Lue manages the University of Pittsburgh’s new academic resource center and interactive student space, the Pitt Global Hub. Located on the first floor of Wesley W. Posvar Hall, the hub offers a place for students to learn about international and global opportunities on campus and around the world. Lue brings to the role a background in international education, operations management, event logistics, and exhibit curation.

A 2015 alumna of the University of Pittsburgh, Lue holds a B.A. in History of Art and Architecture and Economics. She is a recipient of a 2015-2016 Fulbright English Teaching assistantship in Taiwan, where she taught and was involved in local exhibition projects and writing workshops for university students. From 2017-2018 she studied Mandarin at National Taiwan Normal University after being awarded a Huayu Enrichment Scholarship.

Her recent experience includes fellowships at the Andy Warhol Museum and Contemporary Craft; a project management position at Indiewalls, a tech-based art consultancy in New York City; and operations and programming management roles at a design-centered coworking space.

The new position of global hub manager combines Lue’s professional skills and personal interest in cross-cultural education. The Pitt Global Hub features interactive experiences for students to discover global coursework and experiential opportunities, space for language conversation groups to meet, areas for student groups and area studies centers to host cultural demonstrations, rooms for drop-in general advising sessions with global program advisors and student mentors, and space for prospective students to view videos that feature locations where Pitt has a presence around the world.

The Center for Latin American Studies Welcomes Manuel Roman-Lacayo

The Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) welcomes Manuel Roman-Lacayo as CLAS associate director. He brings to the role more than 25 years of service in academia, government, and the private sector. Roman-Lacayo returns to Pittsburgh after most recently being based in Washington, D.C., where he served as a project manager and environmental and social consultant for infrastructure, renewable energy, transport, and oil and gas projects located in Latin America and the Caribbean.

A University of Pittsburgh alumnus, Roman-Lacayo earned a CLAS certificate and PhD in anthropology as a Heinz Fellow in Latin American Archaeology at Pitt. He was awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship upon graduating from Harvard University in 1996, and was later appointed director of the National Museum of Nicaragua. After leaving Pittsburgh in 2006, Roman-Lacayo served as country program manager and as the monitoring and evaluation manager for USAID Public Private Partnerships in Nicaragua and Guatemala, while also working at the Universidad Americana in Managua, where he founded and coordinated the master’s program in Latin American Studies.

As associate director of CLAS, Roman-Lacayo manages the CLAS team, works with affiliated faculty and staff, and spearheads development to raise funds for CLAS programming and research in coordination with CLAS Interim Director James Craft.

The University Center for International Studies Welcomes Delo Blough

We are pleased to welcome Delo Blough as the new director of the Office of International Studies.

Blough is an expert in immigration services for international populations at U.S. colleges and universities. She comes to Pitt with more than 25 years of experience, including serving as an attorney in the public and private sector with a specialty in immigration law.

Blough oversees Pitt’s Office of International Services and its comprehensive immigration services for students, faculty researchers, and staff members who study, conduct research, and work at the University. The Pitt community includes more than 6,000 international students, scholars, and employees from more than 110 countries.

Chancellor Gallagher to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Newcastle University

Today, Newcastle University (UK) awards Chancellor Gallagher an honorary Doctor of Science degree, marking the first time in recent record that a University of Pittsburgh Chancellor receives an honorary degree from a distinguished international institution. 

The honor recognizes Chancellor Gallagher’s “significant contribution to higher education policy and leadership…and his work for the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity and directing the National Institute of Standards and Technology.” The Chancellor joins a distinguished family of honorary graduates who have been recognized by Newcastle for their contributions in the fields of physics and computer science, among them Stephen Hawking, Vicki Hanson, and Anthony Hey. 

live stream of the ceremony is available on July 17 between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. EST.