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.
The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh has definitely impacted me and helped me choose where I'm going with my life. I first attended one of their programs in my Sophomore year thinking that I was going to become a Judge. Since continuing to attend their programs haphazardly and being chosen for amazing opportunities they offered me, I have since come to realize that my true pursuit was in International Relations. They have helped not only my activities resume, but have led me on the right path to further opportunities that I never would have found otherwise. I got to speak Japanese as a Japanese Ambassador for the Pittsburgh G-20 International Student Summit, attended a cyber-security seminar, attended countless informative region-based seminars, spent 2 weeks of my summer on scholarship at their Summer Seminar on World Affairs learning about international issues and problem-solving with groups. They have given me an international affairs apprenticeship 2 years in a row in which a group of students just like me get to interact and learn from one another and prestigious speakers. Most importantly, they handed me a brochure with information that changed my life. Because of the activities I could put on my application, and through their brochure, I was able to apply to a program that awarded me with a full-scholarship to study in South Korea this summer. Tracing it all back, some of my best opportunities came either directly or indirectly from the World Affairs Council, and I definitely have to thank them for that!