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UCIS Remembers Glema Burke

It is with great sadness that the University Center for International Studies announces the death of Glema Burke, a former UCIS administrator. Burke retired in 2006 as UCIS director of management. She was hired by then director Burkart Holzner in 1979 as a finance assistant (after serving in the Graduate School of Public Health for nine years) and moved through UCIS administration as assistant to the director, then assistant director of management and finally director of management.

Burke played a vital role in helping to build UCIS into what it is today. During her tenure, she managed the successful Title VI funding for the Asian Studies Center, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the European Studies Center. She also helped establish many of the endowments that UCIS has today including the Malmberg Fellowship, Heinz Fellowship, International Studies Fund, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fund for International Studies.  She was an integral part of launching the Global Studies Program, now the Global Studies Center, and helped plan the Fifth General Chautauqua Conference on U.S.-Soviet Relations hosted at Pitt in 1989. 

In 1997, Burke was one of the inaugural recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Staff, which honors Pitt staff who have demonstrated dedication to the University beyond the responsibilities of their jobs.

“Glema was a leader, mentor, and inspiration for anyone who had the pleasure to work with her both at Pitt and in the community,” said Rose Wooten, the current UCIS business manager who worked with Burke over the years. “She managed the day-to-day financial and human resources of this University-wide center during a time when Pitt was still developing study and research abroad and attracting international students, scholars, and faculty to campus.

“One minute she would be working on some high-level policy or grant and the next minute she would be helping a center clean a Posvar Hall suite,” Wooten continued. “She was so knowledgeable and a remarkable resource for anyone who needed help.  She cared deeply about people. Pitt was so fortunate that she chose to spend her career here.”  

Burke’s dedicated service will long remain an important part of the history of UCIS. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019, 11 a.m., at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Ligonier.
Two University Leaders Discuss Community-based Research

A discussion of the role of universities in an urban environment occurred during “Our Place in Changing Cities: A Conversation with the Leaders of the University of Pittsburgh and Newcastle University” at the University Club the afternoon of March 20. Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher welcomed Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Chris Day as a follow-up to the visit the Chancellor paid to the Newcastle campus on the east coast of England last year.

The two institutions have had an undergraduate student exchange program for several years and there have been exchanges of faculty and graduate students who have conducted research in areas ranging from Latin American studies to shale policy.

In this discussion, both leaders agreed that the typical business model of research is sometimes replaced by large-scale community-based projects.

“Studying problems in the context of a real-life situation is a frontier in research,” noted Gallagher.

Day says his institution is also trying to move to a challenge-based approach and to bring some of his city’s poorer residents into some of the discussions. However, he said his university doesn’t have something similar to Pitt’s Community Engagement Center (CEC), which is a hub for collaborations between Pitt staff and the Homewood neighborhood. While Day says his researchers focus on national and global problems, community problems make research more relevant. Gallagher said a university-community relationship is hard work, one that has to be built on integrity, trust, and a long-term commitment.

Day also said he observed how well the Pitt community comingles with Pittsburgh residents and business people. “I could see it just from walking from one building to another,” he said.

It was a busy three-day schedule for the team from Newcastle, which included meetings at Pitt Law, the Center for Energy, and the Shale Gas Governance Center, as well as tours of the Nationality Rooms and the CEC.

Photo album of the event.

New Research Co-authored European Studies Center Director Jae-Jae Spoon Examines Mainstream Party Decline in Europe

European Studies Director Jae-Jae Spoon and co-author Heike Klüver of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin recently published research examining the decline of mainstream political parties across Europe and the rise of extremist parties to fill the vaccuum. Read an article by the authors summarizing the research.

Sheth Awards Winners Honored for Work in Global Health

(Note: This article first appeared in Pittwire, November 26, 2018.)

When Tushar Singh (GSPH ’14) was tending to feverishly ill patients during the 2014 Ebola epidemic in the rainy tropics of Sierra Leone, Pitt Professor of Medicine P.S. Reddy was never very far from his mind.

The relationship between the two men began in 2010 when Singh was a PhD student in epidemiology at Pitt. Singh was managing a study examining cardiovascular disease among a rural population in India, funded through Science Health Allied Research Education(SHARE), a charitable foundation founded by Reddy and dedicated to promoting scientific exchange between the U.S. and developing nations.

Reddy, a renowned cardiologist who joined the Pitt faculty in 1971, had established the MediCiti Hospital in Hyderabad, India, where Singh was doing his work with elderly patients.

As the two men worked on the project, both in Pittsburgh and in India, Singh flourished under Reddy’s mentoring and guidance.

The two men met again recently on a stage at Pitt’s William Pitt Union. They both accepted the 2018 Sheth International Achievement Award, which is given every year to a Pitt faculty member and a Pitt alumnus who are increasing Pitt’s global footprint with their work.

The Sheth Awards were established in 2012 by the Sheth Family Foundation, founded by Jagdish N. Sheth (KATZ ’62, ’66) and his wife Madhu, who were in attendance at this year’s ceremony. The foundation, based in Georgia, fosters education, wellness and sustainability in the United States and India.

Also in attendance was Pitt Chancellor Emeritus Mark A. Nordenberg, who has traveled extensively in India. During his remarks, Nordenberg noted that he is well-acquainted with Reddy and the work being done at the MediCiti Institute of Medical Sciences, which now includes a city and rural hospital, medical school and a nursing school.

Nordenberg said the hospitals have made progress in cancer prevention, AIDS prevention and prenatal and postnatal care.

“When you see all that has been accomplished, as well as the work still underway, it takes your breath away,” he said. “Dr. Reddy’s work is driven by a desire to bring world class medical care to rural areas.”

Singh at the CDC

Singh’s work beyond India has also had a profound impact — it brought him to the villages of Sierra Leone, where the Ebola epidemic was claiming thousands of lives.

As an epidemic intelligence service officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Singh trained staffers in infection control practices. He said he used his skills from that earlier Pitt cardiovascular study to develop a team, manage the field workers and supervise their work.

The CDC efforts to manage and curb the outbreak of the rare and deadly Ebola virus throughout West Africa were its largest and longest response to a public health hazard to date. Due to his work during the epidemic, in January, Singh was named the CDC’s country director for Sierra Leone, where he leads all strategic planning and development of CDC activities.

In his remarks at the award ceremony, Singh referred to Anne Newman, chair of epidemiology in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, who is a close friend and mentor. Singh admitted lacking confidence in himself in early years, but said that Newman always encouraged him.

Later, Newman said: “When you’re a teacher, you have students who come along and you can see who is particularly bright and capable of working with others. His personality ... his way of interacting with people. ... Tushar is such a light.”

Dr. Belkys Torres and Dr. Macrina Lelei Quoted in @Pitt Item About Mentoring and Advising Summit

Dr. Belkys Torres, Executive Director of Global Engagement for the University Center for International Studies, and Dr. Macrina Lelei, Associate Director of the African Studies Program, were quoted in a recent @Pitt article about the university's Mentoring and Advising Summit that took place Thursday, March 7. Read the article here.

Sean's Russia Blog Podcast - Live Recording With University of Warwick Fellow

Sean Guillory, Digital Scholarships Coordinator for the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, hosts Sean's Russia Blog, a podcast dedicated to Eurasian history, politics, and society.

On March 7, Sean will conduct a live interview with Natalia Telepneva of the University of Warwick.

The Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact satellites were ideologically, materially, and geopolitically committed to aiding national liberation struggles in Africa during the Cold War. Communist states gave economic aid, provided weapons, and sent spies and military advisors. This live interview with Natalia Telepneva will explore the relationship between Soviet and Warsaw Pact policy and activities in African anti-colonial struggles, the role of espionage in the Cold War and the influence of Soviet and Warsaw Pact secret services on the development of state security in post-independent Africa.

You can listen to the podcast and read Sean's work at https://seansrussiablog.org/.

From Pittwire: U.S. Ambassador to Moldova Credits Pitt Education for Broad Worldview

As reported in Pittwire: "Today, as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Moldova — a country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania — Hogan credits the unconventional major and support he received at the Honors College for adding fuel to his passion for international studies. He also credits Honors College administration for steering him toward the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, a competitive program with the goal of guiding students toward careers in foreign service, which financed the last two years of his undergraduate degree and a two-year master’s program. He is the first Pickering Fellow from the University to receive an ambassadorship.

"Hogan went on to earn a Master of Public Affairs from Princeton University but always remembered lessons learned in Pittsburgh."

Read the full story here.

Pitt Named Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students

The University of Pittsburgh has been named one of the nation’s top institutions for producing Fulbright students for the 2018-2019 academic year, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and other professionals—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding
solutions to shared international concerns.

This is the eighth time in nine years that Pitt has been ranked in the U.S. Student Program category. The competitive Fulbright U.S. Student Program supplies grants for individually-designed study and research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs around the world.

“This designation reflects highly on the University of Pittsburgh’s commitment to advancing educational excellence,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “We could not be prouder of our alumni who are participating in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. They truly epitomize our goal of embracing the world.”

Eleven students from Pitt earned the U.S. Student Program award this year, as noted in the Chronicle of Higher Education on Sunday.

“We are particularly proud to receive this honor in this Year of Pitt Global,” said Brian Primack, Dean of the University Honors College. “We are delighted that our students are consistently interested in and successful with pursuing these international awards. And we are more committed than ever to supporting them in these endeavors.”

Nine Pitt undergraduate alumni, one graduate alumna and one current PhD candidate are currently abroad in the Fulbright U.S. Student
Program. They are:

  • Katherine Andrews, of York, Pa., who graduated in 2018 with a degree in Political Science, and certificates in Latin American Studies and Global Studies, is conducting research in Uruguay.
    • Study Abroad Programs:
      • CIEE Rio de Janeiro - Spring 2018
      • CIEE Rio de Janeiro - Summer, 2018
      • Center for Latin American Studies: Valladolid, Mexico - Summer 2017
      • ISA Meknes Spring, 2016
      • Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) Field Trip / Seminar – Summer 2015
  • Alessandro Conway of Pittsburgh, Pa., who graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Philosophy in Economics and International and Area Studies, and a certificate in West European Studies, is studying at the Institut d’études politiques (Sciences Po) in France.
    • Study Abroad Program: Sciences Po - Spring 2017
  • Rachel Di Cicco of El Dorado Hills, Ca., a PhD candidate in History of Art and Architecture, is conducting research in Austria.
  • Soukaina Eljamri of East Stroudsburg, Pa., who graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, a minor in Chemistry, and a certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine, is teaching English in Malaysia.
  • Lauren Manning of Annapolis, Md., who graduated in 2018 with a degree in Chinese, a minor in Legal Studies and a certificate in Global Studies, is teaching English in Taiwan.
    • Study Abroad Program: CET Shanghai - Summer 2014
  • Monica Merante of Pittsburgh, Pa., who graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Philosophy in Anthropology and a minor in Classics, is teaching English in Malaysia.
    • Study Abroad Program:
      • Pitt in the Pacific - Spring 2016
      • OUR Borders and Belonging: London Field Studies - Summer 2017
  • Kimberly Muth of Bangor, Pa., who graduated in 2018 with a Master of Education, is teaching English in the Czech Republic.
  • Juliette Rihl of Langhorne, Pa., who graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing and Political Science and a minor in Italian, is teaching English in Tawian.
    • Study Abroad Program: Pitt in Florence - Spring 2016
  • Logan Tuite of Bethel Park, Pa., who graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a certificate in Applied Simulation in Engineering Design, is pursuing a graduate degree in the Netherlands.
  • Neelam Vohra of Langhorne, Pa., who graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, is teaching English in Indonesia.
    • Study Abroad Program: Comparative Healthcare in Graz - Summer 2016
  • Stephanie Washington of Moon Township, Pa., who graduated in 2018 with a degree in Biology, minors in Spanish and Chemistry and certificates in American Sign Language and West European Studies, is conducting research in Spain.
    • Study Abroad Programs:
      • OUR Borders and Belonging: London Field Studies - Summer 2016
      • Pitt in Alcala - Summer 2016

Additionally, three Pitt affiliates received the Fulbright U.S. Scholar award, which offers awards for teaching, research or both in over 125 countries to faculty and other professionals. They are:

  • David Berman of the School of Education will be in in Bosnia & Herzegovina working on a research project called School Days in Srebrenica: A Case Study of Schooling in the Extreme from Feb. through June 2019.
  • Denis Sharapov (A&S ’17G) with the Department of Anthropology within the Dietrich
    School
     is lecturing within a project called Introducing Four-Field Anthropology to Western Siberia in Russia through June 2019.
  • Colter Harper (A&S ’06G,’11G) with the Department of Music within the Dietrich School is lecturing and researching a project called Building a Recording Studio and Music Production Curriculum within the University of Ghana’s Department of Music through June 2019.
Pitt Student Films to Be Screened at BFI Future Film Festival

Several student film essays from the London Film Programme are slated to be screened at the BFI Future Film Festival in London. To read more about the festival and this exciting opportunity for Pitt students, read this article.

Japanese Coming of Age Ceremony Covered in Post-Gazette

The recent Japanese Coming of Age Ceremony hosted by the University of Pittsburgh in collaboration with Hiroshima's Yasuda University was covered in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Read the column here.