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
     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.

Asian Studies Center Organizes Himalayan Environmental Conference

The Asian Studies Center and its director, Professor Joseph S. Alter, organized the Himalayan Environmental Education and Policy Conference Nov. 29-Dec. 2, 2018 in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India. The program brought together more than 75 scholars of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to develop a multi-disciplinary understanding of environmental problems in the Himalayan region, as well as to formulate recommendations and increase public understanding and awareness in India and elsewhere in the world.

In addition to the Asian Studies Center, conference sponsors included the Study Abroad Program, the Year of Pitt Global, and Hanifl Centre in Mussoorie, where three PittGlobal study abroad programs are based.

Learn more about the Asian Studies Center.

Institutional Milestones

Pitt ranked seventh among U.S. universities in employing the most international students with Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization in 2017. OPT is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than three months are permitted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to work for one year on a student visa towards getting practical training to complement their education. Notable top employers included Amazon, Intel, and Google. The six universities employing more OPT-authorized individuals than Pitt were the University of Michigan, Arizona State University, Johns Hopkins University, North Carolina State University, Stanford University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The federal government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program published the 2017 data.

Nationality Rooms Recognized in Nat Geo Traveler UK's Cool List 2019

The University of Pittsburgh's Nationality Rooms got a special mention as the the city of Pittsburgh made the #3 spot on National Geographic Traveler UK's 2019 Cool List. Pittsburgh is the only U.S. location to make the list for 2019. See the entire article and the entry here.

Opinion Piece by Vice Provost Ariel Armony Published in La Nación

Vice Provost of Global Affairs and Director of the University Center for International Studies Ariel Armony wrote the following op-ed in the aftermath of the highly publicized meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the recent G20 summit. Originally published in Spanish by Argentinian newspaper La Nación, the following is an English translation.

A “Cold Fight” Defines the Future of an Uncertain Relationship

Ariel C. Armony, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, University of Pittsburgh

December 2, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA--The meeting between President Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires was anticipated by the global press—and especially North American media—with big expectations. The buildup gave the impression of waiting for a historic “Buenos Aires Summit” that would mark the beginning of a new cold war—or prevent it. Even after the meeting, the future of the relationship between the two superpowers is uncertain.  

The excessive emphasis on the results of the meeting between the two leaders—their first face-to-face in more than a year—overshadowed a fundamental aspect of the conclave: Trump came into it in a position of weakness. Specifically, three factors limited his ability to negotiate. 

First was the United States’ decision to negotiate with China on its own. The United States damaged its own interests by not advancing its trade agenda with its allies, especially the European Union, that would have permitted it to go further than the current commercial dispute defined by tariffs and counter-tariffs. We must not forget that just three days after becoming president, Trump gave China a gift by leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

The TPP, which did not include China, included 40 percent of the world economy and established conditions to create an economic superblock that would have affirmed North American leadership in Asia and the Pacific. In his first month in office, Trump closed the United States off from the world, creating a leadership vacancy that China, with pleasure, jumped into. 

Second, the Trump Administration has not succeeded in defining a coherent approach toward China. While experts debate whether Obama’s policy of dialogue and compromise had been a failure or not, they strongly agree that a new strategy is necessary. 

The Trump Administration is divided between those who want a diplomatic approach of compromise and those who want to apply pressure on China. Both positions have their risks, but regardless of the approach, this period of indecision has hurt the United States’ ability to negotiate. 


Finally, we are living in a moment of fundamental transformation of the world order, marked by a regression of democratic values. In this context, the loss of the United States’ outward-facing legitimacy is important. Beyond the serious problems facing U.S. democracy, the North American superpower represents an alternative political model to the autocracy of the People’s Republic of China. Changes in perception toward the two countries on the world stage are worrying. 

Public opinion surveys show international anxiety regarding the role of the United States on global issues and the consensus of China as a much more important global figure than it was a decade ago. A majority of people in the world believe that the U.S. government does not have the interests of other countries in mind when it makes political decisions. More than 50 percent of Europeans believe that the United States does not respect individual rights, substantially more than just five years ago. 

Although a global majority still prefers the United States as a global leader, a higher percentage express more confidence in Xi Jinping than in Trump. 

This positive perception of China is particularly strong in Africa, the Middle East and parts of the Asian continent. In Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, public opinion shows more confidence in the Chinese government than in the United States. Six years ago, only Argentina held this view. 

Perhaps, as Li Xue of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said, these are not the conditions of a new cold war. In his opinion, the United States and China are embroiled in a “cold fight” in that the two powers are competing to establish a new equilibrium. We will see if the United States finds the necessary ability to balance its inconsistent position. 

Nationality Rooms Open House Celebrates Global Customs

(Note: This article originally appeared in Pittwire, November 28. 2018.)

The Nationality Rooms inside the University of Pittsburgh’s iconic Cathedral of Learning are dressed and ready for the holidays. And the annual Holiday Open House, to be held this Sunday, Dec. 2, brings new excitement by revealing the long-awaited Philippine Nationality Room.

Nearly 20 years in the making, the new space marks the 31st Nationality Room. The rooms, which also function as classrooms (except two), are designated Pittsburgh Historic Landmarks that tell the stories of different cultural traditions across the globe, from Poland to Japan, Turkey to Sweden. To celebrate the holidays, each Nationality Room Committee puts on a display of traditional décor.

The Nationality Rooms have hosted the day-long Holiday Open House since 1991. It serves as an “invented holiday” of sorts, said E. Maxine Bruhns, director of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange programs since 1965. Around 4,000 guests attended last year’s festivities filled with performances, room tours and displays from cultures around the world.

Admission to the event is free to the public, with traditional food and ethnic items available for purchase.

Proceeds from the Holiday Open House help fund the Summer Study Abroad Nationality Rooms Scholarships. Last year, a record-breaking 58 undergraduateand graduate students were able to study abroad because of the funds.

“I have a feeling we’re going to break the record again this year,” Bruhns said.

A look at the new room

Although the Philippine Nationality Room will not officially be complete until its dedication ceremony in June 2019, the Philippine Nationality Room Task Force decided to open its doors early, as a sneak peek, for the holiday season.

“We are very proud to have finally accomplished our goal of raising the funds for the room,” said Justina Purpura, fundraising chair of the Philippine Nationality Room Task Force. “We created the room as a legacy for our children. We are proud of our heritage and want to share it,” said Purpura, who immigrated to Pittsburgh from Manila at the age of 27 in 1981. “We are hoping that people come and visit and feel the Filipino hospitality and culture,” she added.

The Philippine Nationality Room Task Force comprises seven members and represents three Pittsburgh-based Filipino community associations: The Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh, the Philippine American Medical Society of Western Pennsylvania and the Philippine American Performing Arts of Greater Pittsburgh.

“Every detail of the room has a story,” Purpura said.

The Philippine Room is modeled after the Bahay na bato tradition, which translates to “house of stone,” reflecting the style of the Philippines’ Spanish colonial period. The room’s paneled bay windows are covered in capiz, or oyster shells, which are widely used in the Philippines for window shutters. For the holidays, star-shaped parol lanterns, all made of capiz, will adorn the room, emanating a warm tropical glow of red, orange, yellow and blue.

Visitors will also feel the warmth of traditional family-oriented Filipino culture. On Sunday, guests will watch an enactment of the Christmas tradition of Mano Po, a hand gesture between a child and an elder to signify respect.

“Christmas is really about family,” said Purpura. “When I was growing up in Manila, it was an open house. It was about food also.”

Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy traditional Filipino food, such as pancit, a traditional noodle dish, lumpianitos, mini eggrolls, and biko, a Filipino dessert made of rice and coconut milk.

All Nationality Rooms will feature special decorations and cultural customs at the weekend event. The beloved Commons Room, too, is all dressed up for the holidays.

“It’s just a place of unity,” said first-year chemistry and biology double major Leila Letica as she spent a snowy day studying in the Cathedral of Learning.  “When I walked in today, it was glowing and super friendly and welcoming.”

Dashboard Shows Global Engagement Through Easy-to-Use Data
With the Year of PittGlobal providing a special focus on Pitt’s international partnerships and research, it’s important for University stakeholders to have access to information documenting these many activities. As a result, the University Center for International Studies and Office of the Provost have partnered to develop and release the Pitt Global Analytics and Insight dashboard.
With this new online tool, faculty and staff will have a high-level overview of the engagement Pitt has around the world, as well as summaries of student-centric data.
Data accessible via the dashboard broadly covers:
  • Citizenship locations of international students
  • Destinations for student experiences abroad
  • Inter-institutional international agreements
  • Language department course offerings and enrollments
“The Embracing the World section of the ‘Plan for Pitt’ uses the phrase ‘Pitt to the World, the World to Pitt.’ That philosophy is at the core of the global dashboard,” said Ariel Armony, vice provost for global affairs. “It’s interesting to see something so simple as students’ home countries or their study abroad destinations laid out on a map, but what’s truly exciting are the insights we can glean from the presentation of the data. It’s easier to 
Robust data for practical use
Faculty and staff members will find the dashboard a valuable resource to support a variety of research prompts — particularly during the Year of PittGlobal — including: 
  • Business units or departments looking for data to demonstrate global partnerships they are engaged in
  • Faculty researchers interested in viewing collaborations already in place and identifying new opportunities
“Through the curation and presentation of international activities at Pitt, we are building the type of foundational strength that will allow members of the Pitt community to leverage data to drive decisions, glean insights, form global partnerships and more,” said Stephen Wisniewski, vice provost for data information.
The dashboard’s data is sourced from core University systems including the University Data Warehouse, the Terra Dotta Software study abroad application and the Contraxx contract management platform for international partnership agreements. The dashboard replaces EnCompass, an older system that had limited interactivity, no report generation capability and modest audience awareness.
For more information or answers to questions about the PittGlobal Insights and Analytics Dashboard, email
Accessing PittGlobal Insights and AnalyticsAccessing the dashboard is simple. Faculty and staff members can follow these step-by-step instructions and start exploring:
  1. Log in to
  2. Type “PittGlobal Analytics” into the AskCathy search bar at the top of the screen.
  3. Click on the “PittGlobal Analytics and Insight” button that shows up in the search results.
The dashboard has been developed for use on desktop computers and currently does not work on tablets or smartphones. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found online.