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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, Promotion of International Understanding

Mission: The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting a deeper understanding of key contemporary international issues throughout Western Pennsylvania. Established in 1931, the Council is committed to informing opinion leaders and decision-makers about developments around the world as they unfold – and to educating them about the relevance of such developments to the region. The Council has a special focus on secondary schools throughout the region, and works to give students and teachers a more nuanced understanding of the global issues of our time.

Target demographics: educate the community about current world affairs.

Programs: Through its Education Programs the Council works with students and teachers in secondary schools throughout the region. Each year the Council organizes and hosts over 100 events focused on the foreign policy challenges which lie ahead for the successor generation. These events are tailored to a student audience, and reach a combined total of over 11,000 students and teachers in nearly 300 area schools. As a result of these activities – and through the use of modern technology – students in Western Pennsylvania have had the opportunity to engage each other as well as their counterparts in secondary schools from as far away as Brazil, Italy, the Republic of Georgia, South Africa, and Taiwan. The Council also conducts a range of Public Policy Programs for the professional community. Each year, the Council hosts approximately 10 luncheon discussions with major international leaders. Past speakers have included Condoleezza Rice, Thomas Friedman, Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan, and Former Prime Minister of South Korea, Ambassador Han Duk-Soo. The Council also uses other formats – such as breakfast briefings and evening discussion programs – to attract more younger and mid-career professionals to its events and engage them in a discussion of these issues.

Community Stories

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I started attending World Affairs Council events when I was a student in high school outside of Pittsburgh. Early on, this organization provided spaces and opportunities for students to be active participants in activities that shaped our outward thinking, particularly important for those of us whose small towns couldn't hold in our dreams of engaging with the whole big world, its people and cultures. In my junior year, my high school geography teacher nominated me for the WAC's Global Travel Scholar award, the Council's yearly scholarship that sponsors high students to participate in the Experiment in International Living summer program abroad. I still remember everything about the moment I received the phone call from Annie, who told me that the Council had chosen me to go to Turkey. Those 5 weeks in Turkey were the most defining time of my life, which I was able to have all because of the World Affairs Council. They saw that spark inside of me--the one that wanted to know all it could about the rest of the world-- and provided me with the experience that set it wildly aflame.

The World Affairs Council provides a place for students who want to engage with the world, who look outside of their own life experiences and yearn to understand those of others, who have the makings of Global Citizens. My relationship with the Council did not end after my summer as a Global Travel Scholar. David Murdoch, the then chairman of the board, became one of my closest mentors. He, along with the other members of the Council, always encouraged and supported me throughout every single step of my journey from college to beyond. The work that the Council does is crucial. In our world where the divisions between different peoples and cultures are only widening, the work that the WAC does, from high school global events to sending students across the world to live with host families and immerse themselves in another culture, is the work that is going to repair and strengthen the ties between us all as a humanity. It's a big statement, but after seeing the wonders that WAC and their Global Travel Scholars program accomplishes and the transformations that occur within students as they begin their journeys as Global Citizens, I firmly stand by it. I, for one, would not be where I am now without the World Affairs Council, and I am so thankful that they are there continuing their work for students like me.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The WAC of Pittsburgh is an outstanding organization. They perform tremendous outreach to schools for both students and teachers. Their programming is high quality and serves to promote greater awareness of the impact foreign affairs have on the United Stares. The organization does an exemplary job of promoting greater understanding of global issues and cultures.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

In my role as a high school teacher, the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh has provided exceptional opportunities to both my students and me. From sending me on an academic expedition to the European Union (Brussels and Vienna) to exposing students to top military experts from the U.S. Army War College, the World Affairs Council never stops working toward its mission of making students and teachers more globally aware. I can emphatically say that the World Affairs Council has propelled both me and my students to be highly engaged in the critical issues that shape the future of both our country and the world.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The student engagement and educational programs are excellent. They support and provide students experiences in World events that are timely and relevant. World leaders and local experts provide instruction and information in a variety of ways: Video conferences, educational programs , summer courses and a certificate program for students who desire to specialize in global affairs and leadership . The council also sponsors two leadership conferences a year for students to engage with other local, national and International experts and students. They are one of the most engaged and active support programs for high school students. Every month the Council opens its doors to students and educators to their professional programs, in addition to the planned programs they offer. They actively reach out to all schools and students and especially support social and cultural diversity with whom they target their outreach. They are however, inherently diverse with the experiences they offer. The World Affairs Council exemplifies diversity. They may be the only way local students can meet with world leaders and discuss world events. But I suggest it is the mission of bringing together people of all racial, religious, social and ethnic backgrounds that the World Affairs Council best serves their mission. We are very fortunate to have them as a resource in our area . The pictures included are a few images of the programs sponsored by the Council and our participation within the last school year.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I only became involved with the WAC of Pittsburgh this summer, but already it has provided me with so many incredible and life-changing opportunities. The people there are great and through the WAC, my eyes have truly been opened in regards to what I'm capable of and what I'd like to do later in life.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In my first year as a teacher in 1975 I became involved with the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Forty-one years later I am amazed and in awe of the work of the Council in providing the city and region of Pittsbugh a global perspective. The region has gone from one of an industrial global center to now the center of technology, innovation and medicine. The World Affairs Council has been there every step of the way providing experiences and insight to our world. Today as they did when I first experience their mission over forty years ago they provide the teachers and students the opportunity to understand their world and their place in the world.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have worked with the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh for 4 years in my role as Enrichment Facilitator at Hampton High School. Their educational outreach programs have been invaluable to my students. World Affairs Pittsburgh has provided my students with leadership opportunities, travel experiences, international videoconference planning and global scholar certificates. They are a 21st century skills promoting organization that has been a welcome partner in our educational endeavors.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I became involved with the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh in my sophomore year of high school through their Global Leadership Certificate program. They did an exceptional job of developing and laying out this program, and it is the most valuable experience I have ever had. I had to complete internationally-focused experiences and then write reflections upon them, as well as completing two larger projects, one being a capstone that served as the final experience. The point of this final experience is essentially to apply what you have learned about the world to something in your local life. What I chose to do was start an international news broadcast through my school's video announcements. I write the stories about the biggest international events at the time, I anchor the show, and I edit the segment. Producing this segment made me realize that I wanted to be a journalist, which I have only the World Affairs Council to thank for. Truly, the World Affairs Council is a life-changing organization and it has helped me not only to learn more about the world around me, but also about myself. Working with the World Affairs Council and the wonderful people who put their heart and soul into its programming and success has been one of the greatest honors I have ever had, and I encourage anyone and everyone to participate in the countless events and experiences that the World Affairs Council puts on. It will truly be life-changing.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am well-acquainted with the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh through its Global Leadership Certificate (GLC) high school program. The council has given me valuable opportunities to develop my leadership skills, as well as to learn about global issues, international perspectives, and world cultures. For example, I was able to star in a diversity documentary, "Around the World in Pittsburgh" by the Nicholas Sparks Foundation (in cooperation with the World Affairs Council) to share my culture with an extensive audience. Not only was I able to speak about my heritage, but I was also able to discover new cultures and form precious friendships with like-minded students. I cannot thank the World Affairs Council enough for these precious experiences. I am greatly appreciative of the council taking time and effort to nurture my leadership skills, and more importantly, help me gain a cosmopolitan view of the increasingly interconnected, diverse world. What the Council has taught me will certainly enlighten my future, as I plan on interacting and working with people around the world - many of whom have varying backgrounds and perspectives on different issues/matters. It is extremely important to learn of diversity early to facilitate mutual understanding and respect.

I am truly grateful to the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh for kindly and continually supporting my worldly leadership. The council is a remarkable nonprofit organization that values educating and supporting the community.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Through the World Affairs Council, I have been exposed to opportunities that I never could have imagined being able to do before. As a senior in a local high school, the Council has offered me countless opportunities at minimum costs that I have enjoyed greatly. From attending a conference on US-Cuban relations to a panel in which Muslim community leaders discussed the impacts that the election has had on their lives, the events and speakers that I have attended have enriched my learning and given me perspectives that I never would have considered. All too often we only hear one side of a story, and it was very refreshing to be able to hear the other side of the story, especially when it came to how Muslims felt about the 2016 election. By organizing this event, they were able to give a view that very few would have been able to see.

I am also a participant with an online program sponsored by the Council, which focuses on global issues and allows us a space to freely discuss current events and other interesting developments in the world. It also provides us with the ability to learn more about the world around us, which I very much enjoyed, since we were able to discuss topics that we were passionate about and learn new things as well.

It is also through the Council that I was able to better explore my cultural identity. As a first generation immigrant from China, I am very curious about other cultures, and the World Affairs Council partnered with the Nicholas Sparks Foundation to create a short documentary. (LinK: https://vimeo.com/165179621). It is because of these opportunities that I have been able to explore my passion, and a large part of why I decided to major in International Relations in college is due to the experiences that the World Affairs Council has offered me. The World Affairs Council offers truly phenomenal experiences that has really broadened my views of the world around me.