Pitt in India

Chancellor Gallagher will lead a University of Pittsburgh delegation to India May 6-13, 2019, to meet with leaders of private industry, government, cultural organizations, and academic institutions. The visit is supported by the Pennsylvania Trade and Investment Office-India. The trip will strengthen existing relationships and establish new links across the country.

On May 8, Chancellor Gallagher spoke at the prestigious Asiatic Society of Mumbai. The chancellor was introduced by Aditya Vikram R. Somani, KGSB’97, a member of the Chancellor's Global Advisory Council, and presented on the topic of cyber security in an information age.

On May 9 the chancellor had the opportunity to meet with officials from Institute of Technology in Hyderabad and the Telangana State Council of Higher Education.

See photos and more updates from the trip on our Facebook page.

Student Spotlight: Alexa Tignall, Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Alexa Tignall has “things to say,” and it is no wonder she does. Tignall graduates Pitt with a bachelor’s degree in social science, Africana studies, and an anthropology minor in addition to a certificate in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. She’s a student, an ambassador for the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES), and a critical language fellowship recipient – but the sum of her accomplishments is only one small part of the powerhouse that she is.

Tignall talks about her life in terms of themes, analyzing herself the way she would a Langston Hughes work. Yet she’s nonchalant in her claim that she “fell into” her interest in Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe back when she was living in Brighton Beach, where she learned to speak Russian to communicate with her roommate and neighbors.

At Pitt, Tignall continued this learning with the guidance of professors Gabby M.H. Yearwood of the Anthropology Department, Imani Owens of the Africana Studies Department, and Dawn Seckler and Sean Guillory of REEES. Tignall studied in Moscow in 2018 through REEES’s Summer Language Institute. As a REEES student ambassador, she has helped other students build networks, secure funding, and study abroad. To her, involvement in international studies means, “becoming a global citizen.”

If Tignall were to deliver to TED Talk, she would speak about the experience of Central Asian students in American high schools, and how notions of race, racism, and masculinity inform their identities. She believes that, “when we start speaking the truth, then we can solve problems.” It comes as no surprise that her favorite classes and involvements at Pitt were those that changed her worldview and encouraged her perspective as a black woman in otherwise white and male spaces.

During summer 2019, Tignall will conduct research in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, through the Critical Language Scholarship awarded by the United States Department of Education.

Pitt Professor Profiled in Chronicle of Higher Education for Her Work in Serving Latinx Community

Pitt professor Gina Ann Garcia was recently profiled in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Dr. Garcia is an assistant professor in the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies, where she teaches master’s and doctoral students pursuing degrees in higher education and student affairs.

The article focuses on Dr. Garcia's work in Hispanic-serving institutions of higher learning and providing better access and service to the Latinx community. The article quotes Dr. Garcia as saying she favors institutions that "provide a culturally engaging environment for students and enhance their sense of belonging, engagement, and racial or ethnic identity while also maximizing their academic attainment" (Peter Monaghan, "What It Means, Politically, to Serve Hispanics," April 21, 2019).

Dr. Garcia is author of a book titled Becoming Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Opportunities for Colleges and Universities published by Johns Hopkins Press.

Year of Pitt Global Showcase

Wednesday, April 24, we will celebrate the success of the Year of Pitt Global as we near its end. The Showcase offers the Pitt community and general public an overview of the amazing Year of Pitt Global and a look at many of the projects and programs supported with matching funds from the Office of the Provost.

Provost Ann E. Cudd, Vice Provost for Global Affairs Ariel C. Armony, and Distinguished Professor Randall Halle, Co-Chair of the Year of Pitt Global, will welcome guests and offer brief remarks. We will celebrate at 4 p.m. on the first floor of Wesley W. Posvar Hall.

UCIS Graduation Ceremony 2019

The University Center for International Studies cordially invites students graduating in Spring and Summer 2019 to celebrate their academic achievements and receive their credentials at the University Center for International Studies’ Graduation Ceremony on Friday, April 26, 3-4 p.m., followed by a reception 4-5 p.m., in the O'Hara Student Center.

Samir Lakhani, A&S ‘14, will give brief remarks before UCIS certificates are conferred. Lakhani is the founder and executive director of Eco-Soap Bank, a global soap-recycling organization that operates in 10 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. To date, Eco-Soap Bank has reached over 1.1 million people with recycled soap and free hygiene education. In 2017, Lakhani received a CNN Hero Award for his work with global hygiene. 

Graduating students should look for their personal email invitations from the University Center for International Studies to RSVP and contact their UCIS academic advisor with any questions about the event.

American Hungarian Educators Association Conference

April 4-6, 2019, the University of Pittsburgh hosted the American Hungarian Educators Association Conference, sponsored by the Hungarian Nationality Room Committee and the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Center.

The conference featured keynote speaker János Kenyeres of Eötvös Loránd University, who presented "Manifestations of Hungarian Identity in Literature." Look through an album of photos from the event.

UCIS Director Ariel Armony Quoted in Bloomberg Article on China's Latin American Ambitions

From the article by journalist Daniela Guzman: "'Where there is instability and corruption, there are often easier openings for infrastructure development,' said Ariel Armony, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for International Studies and the co-author of a book on China’s evolving role in Latin America. 'Getting involved in infrastructure in Chile is a new level of maturity and developing expertise for the Chinese'" (

University of Miami Hosting Event Surrounding Vice Provost's Book

On Monday, April 15, the University of Miami will host a panel discussion on The Global Edge: Miami in the Twenty-First Century, the new book by University of Pittsburgh Vice Provost for Global Affairs and director of the University Center for International Studies, Ariel Armony. Dr. Armony and his co-author, University of Miami and Princeton University professor Alejandro Portes, will provide commentary on the discussion between Sallie Hughes, associate professor at the University of Miami, and Philip Kasinitz, professor at the City University of New York.

The event will be held at the Kislak Center at the University of Miami from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., with a reception to follow. RSVP.

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.