Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs

Ariel C. Armony, Ph.D., leads the University of Pittsburgh’s global engagement as the Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs and directs the University Center for International Studies, home to the University’s top-ranked thematic and area studies centers. He also holds faculty appointments in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Department of Political Science in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

Armony’s work has been published in leading journals in the United States, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and China. He has published nearly 20 books and special issues. His book, The Dubious Link: Civil Engagement and Democratization (Stanford University Press, 2004), was a university press bestseller. Armony’s latest book is The Global Edge: Miami in the Twenty First Century, (University of California Press, 2018), co-authored with Alejandro Portes.

Armony is a frequent commentator for U.S. and international media, most recently on the topics of the changing role of China in Latin America, the globalization of cities, and innovation in international education. His research areas also include democratization, civil society, and human rights topics.

Before arriving at Pitt, Armony led the University of Miami’s Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas. He has been a Fulbright scholar, Rockefeller Foundation scholar, and residential fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Armony earned a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Political Science and a Certificate in Latin American Studies from one of the Pitt centers that he now directs.

Under Armony’s leadership, the University Center for International Studies received the “Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization” in 2017 from NAFSA: The Association of International Educators. His personal honors include being named one of the U.S. “Top Argentine Professional and Business Leaders” by Negocios Magazine in 2017, as well as serving as program co-chair of the Latin American Studies Association International Congress in 2016.

News About the Vice Chancellor

1970 GSPIA Alumnus Earns Inaugural International Achievement Award

Carl Ware (GSPIA’ 70), one of the most influential business leaders of his generation, received the inaugural University of Pittsburgh Center for International Studies International Achievement Award last week.

The award recognizes individuals for their outstanding personal and professional accomplishments outside the United States. It celebrates the University’s ongoing efforts to improve lives and communities at every scale taking on some of society’s greatest and most pressing challenges.

Ware rose from the son of a Georgia sharecropper to head Coca-Cola Company operations in Africa. He retired as Coca-Cola Company’s Executive Vice President, Global Public Affairs and Administration. Ware used his leadership position with Coca-Cola to shape the company’s anti-apartheid strategy toward economic inclusion and untold improvements in the lives of Black Africans.

New Title Reflects Vice Chancellor Armony's University-Wide Responsibilities

Beginning July 1st, an adjustment in his title names Ariel Armony the Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs. Vice Chancellor Armony's new role reflects his university-wide responsibilities, and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann Cudd wrote that in his work at Pitt, Ariel has "steered the University's global engagement initiatives to grow international partnerships and foster real-world impact through global learning and research." Read the full statement here:

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.


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.

Vice Provost for Global Affairs to Speak at Newcastle Summit

Ariel C. Armony, vice provost for global affairs, will be a keynote speaker at the North East Local Industrial Strategy Summit in Newcastle, England this month. The conference is being presented by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, a public-private partnership developing economic growth in the North East region of England. The group is one of 38 key partnerships working throughout the country.

Armony is presenting lessons from the Pittsburgh region’s economic transformation and current challenges being addressed by public-private partnerships that include the University of Pittsburgh.

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.

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. 

A Message from Vice Provost Armony

This weekend’s shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue has shaken many of us to the core, as it shook our university and our city. It is truly painful to see a hate crime committed here in Pittsburgh, one of the most progressive, accepting communities that I have had the privilege to be a part of.

Yet it is already clear that Pittsburgh will persevere in the face of this tragedy. We are resilient, and we are united, as Mayor Bill Peduto so aptly says of the Pittsburgh community.

Here at the University of Pittsburgh, we have resources available to students, faculty, and staff impacted in any way by the tragic events. We are a family, and we support each other. Please take a look to the helpful University and community resources that are available to you anytime. And please know that my door is always open to you if you wish to talk.

Most Sincerely,

Ariel C. Armony