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World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

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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

44 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Students at Pine-Richland School District have enjoyed the benefits of World Affairs Council programs for many years. Whether through guest speakers in the classroom, student competitions like Academic WorldQuest, or summer internships, Pine-Richland students' education is highly enriched. The importance of a globalized education cannot be understated. The World Affairs coiuncil is a great resource for me as a teacher.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

In my many years of teaching, the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh has provided to Upper St. Clair High School students numerous critical and cutting-edge programs, ones that have inspired young minds while increasing global awareness and sensibilities for hundreds of young thinkers. Programs such as the US Army War College Student Symposium and various video conferencing events with important policymakers, authors, and key global-thinkers has allowed me to extend the classroom way beyond its walls. Simply put, the WAC's critically important programs have allowed me to bring the world to my students in ways that simply be impossible otherwise.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Excellent, up to date, important insight on the major issues of the day impacting our society and our students. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who would augment their curriculum or to any school who would like to challenge their students to think. Learning is not a science it is a shared experience and with the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh it becomes magical.

Michael Cunningham
World Class Schools
Del Valle High School

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The council has provided my students with invaluable opportunities that we otherwise would not have had access to. From lunch with the French Ambassador to the United States, the U.S. Army War College presentations, to the multiple video conference opportunities that the Council offers...the students are put into contact with people, "who have been there" and have real-world knowledge in regard to international relations. They and I are appreciative of the programs (and the people) that the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh produces.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The World Affairs Council had offered invaluable opportunities to my students. Their Global Travel Scholarships have enabled students to travel who would never have had such an opportunity otherwise. In addition to the scholarships the Council provides the students with the supports that they need to have a successful experience: reassuring reticent parents, the chance to hear about the experiences of prior scholars, and naturally lots of information about how to have a successful trip. Travel is often life-changing, and for my students who have been lucky enought to participate it has had a lasting effect.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh has been an invaluable resource in my teaching. Through video conferencing and group lectures sponsored by WAC, my students have had the experience of interacting with some of the top scholars in many fields related to Social Studies. One of my students was even granted a scholarship to travel to Italy and France in 2012 through WAC. All of our dealings with the World Affairs Council have been professional and enlightening, both for the students and staff at my school.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh has been an invaluable resource throughout my teaching career. It is because of the informed and caring staff that my students and I have been able to grow in our international knowledge and forge connections around the world that we would not have had the opportunity to otherwise. I have participated in their Army War College briefings, served on their teacher advisory board and taken my students to participate in their Student Ambassador Program among other programs. All were a huge success. Thank you WACOP for everything!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh conducted a fantastic video conference at our high school which included a world famous author and member of several administrations, Joseph Cirincione. The program was entitled Fifty Years Since the Cuban Missile Crisis What the Future Holds for Global Peace and Security. It was a student driven program with students asking questions directly to Mr. Circione.
Students were engaged, not only with historical topics, but also current situations such as N. Korea and Iran. THe WAC has been an excellent partner and resource for our students.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a teacher, I have worked with the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh for the past 5 years. In that time, they have sponsored 3 of my students on all-expense paid summer learning programs to foreign countries. Each year, they also bring guest speakers to my students and organize the Student Ambassador Forum along with multiple video conferences with foreign schools. I have found the organization to be extremely accommodating and thorough in everything they do. In my opinion, the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh is an entirely professional organization that far exceeds the goals it sets for itself.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Pittsburgh educational community is fortunate to have the opportunities for our students that are available through the World Affairs Council. For the past two years my students have been involved in the Student Ambassador Program. The international speakers that have visited our schools have sparked an enthusiasm and interest within my students to learn more about other cultures. The students listen intently and eagerly and ask a variety of questions throughout the presentations. This program sparked the students’ interest in ways that I could not reproduce alone in the classroom. This speaks volumes about its effectiveness. When the students attend the culminating conference they are able to interact with a diverse group of professionals. Their presentations help them to become geographically literate and better prepared for the global community. This kind of exposure is essential as we raise our youth to become future leaders in an increasingly complex, interconnected, and diverse world.


1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a high school principal at a public school, I find the programming from the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh to be invaluable. The opportunities that my students have had to hear directly from experts across the country and the world about pertinent global issues has been astounding. These experiences are topical and have incredible impact. Additionally, the opportunity to collaborate and speak with students from other countries helps to break down stereotypes and promote positive cultural awareness. Over the last couple of years, our students have communicated with students from Brazil, Pakistan, Slovenia, and Ireland, to name a few. The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh has become a reliable and vital partner for us that supports our curriculum and the promotion of 21st century skills.-----Ken Lockette, Principal, Avonworth High School

Steve46

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dr. Sokol and his talented team at the World Affairs Council have made tremendous strides increasing the public exposure of the WAC of Pittsburgh in recent years and continue to do so, today. Events cover a broad spectrum of interests and there is truly "something for everyone." I have been a participant in several events, but clearly the keystone event that highlights the importance and impact of the organization was my participation in a week long fact-finding mission to Europe. Aimed at increasing awareness of the European continent's impact on American interests (as well as a sizable dose of history by those who lived and created it), the trip's well planned agenda and remarkable speaker list speaks to global connections the Pittsburgh Council has to offer. The Council's work is helping to drive Pittsburgh's rebirth.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh has proved to be an invaluable asset as an educator. They are able to offer the students opportunities to connect with global leaders and world citizens. Students are able to participate in video-conferences either in attendance with the host or via conferencing equipment as well as being invited to attend lectures and conferences. Students need exposure to new ideas, people and cultures, the council allows them these types of opportunities consistently. A wonderful example of their work was bringing famed author and Iranian expert Dr. Trita Parsi. The World Affairs Council procured Dr. Parsi's latest book for students to read and analyze and then brought him to Cornell for an informative interview session with a group of World Cultures Students. Not only was Dr. Parsi and excellent resource for my students he was also an important influence on them. He shared his knowledge as well as his delight at how much Cornell students wanted to know and were willing to do in order to learn. Experiences like this can never be replaced for our students.

Beyond students, the World Affairs Council offers so much to teachers. They are willing to take the extra time to create a conference for your class or school, share any and all resources that they have, they even extend travel opportunities to teachers. They offer educators the opportunity to enrich their classrooms and they make it easy to do.

I have been fortunate enough to work with the World Affairs Council on several levels, please support their work! What they do for teachers, students and their community is unsurpassed!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The World Affairs Council offered me the best oppurtunity a teenager at 16 could ever imagine. Without this oppurtunity I wouldn't be the person I am today. I never thought traveling the world was possible But the world affairs council tought me that anything is impossible if thats what you want it to be. You make it possible by going for it. I participated in two programs Both the Global Travel Scholarship Program (a program where students are sent accros the globe to experience new discoveries and culture a new life and new outlook on life back at home) (I traveled to Morocco for a month as a child, and came back a young leader wanting to make a difference not just in my life but in everyone around me I wanted to be the example I want to see as a world leader), and the Summer Seminar on World Affairs (information, history, excellent speakers, and good people this seminar teaches you about the outside world and the struggles and successes of the world today). Both taught many things and opened up my mind to things I never thought. While in the process of the seminar I wasn't to happy maybe a little board but when I traveled out of the country I seen some of the knowledge I learned as a reality. everything you learn will benefit you if you apply it, and somehow you find ways to actually experience it and The World Affairs Council helped me do just that! I will be particpating in the One Young World Summit as a youth reporter just because of the oppurtunities and doors that this program offers there participants

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure to work with the World Affairs Council for a number of years. One of the most amazing events that I have had the opportunity to participate in was held at our school dealing with Cybersecurity. The World Affairs Council brought experts in cybersecurity to work with our students. The panel included the Consulate General of Estonia and a writer for Wired magazine. They also arranged for our student to talk to students through videoconference about the issue with students as far away as Pakistan and Taiwan. I really cannot say enough about the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Every project that I have been involved in with them has been absolutely top notch. They are one of my absolute favorite organizations in Pittsburgh.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of partnering with the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh for two years. The World Affairs Council brings numerous opportunities to students around the region that they might not receive otherwise. They provide ongoing opportunities for our students to connect with experts and their peers in other countries through videoconferencing programs. They also provide our students with opportunities to compete with one another through Academic WorldQuest and to see individuals, such as former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, speak locally. These are just a fraction of the school outreach opportunities that educate and expose teachers and students to a global perspective.

Most recently one of our teachers had the opportunity to travel with the World Affairs Council to Europe to learn about the European Union. When she returned from the trip she was not only reinvigorated, but also had an intimate knowledge of the EU and great first hand stories that she could share with her students when discussing the role and workings of the EU in her classroom.

Please support the work of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. More than any other organization I have worked with throughout my career, they provide an immeasurable amount of enrichment and support to the teachers and students in the Pittsburgh area.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2011, I had the opportunity, along with 11 other young professionals fro Pittsburgh, to travel to Brussels and Prague for a week to learn more about the governance and structure of the European Union and how it affects or could affect our region's business. The trip was extremely well-organized; we had one session after another with high-level individuals representing a variety of different agencies, with just enough time in between for reflection and a little bit of sleep! Although I had been a student of European studies in college, a lot had changed in 10 years, and it truly opened my eyes to what the European Union is today, the challenges it faces in the years to come, and what it means for our region. I especially liked and appreciated the efforts of the World Affairs Council to provide guidance and support where necessary to help us understand the context behind what we were hearing from those with whom we met. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to attend several sessions that the Council has held here in Pittsburgh, and have been impressed every time with the quality of the speakers and the topics presented.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The World Affair Council of Pittsburgh has truly helped inspire students to think globally! As a social studies teacher for over 20 years, I can honestly say this organization has been the best source for speakers, workshops, and global experiences for which I have been involved. From the G-20 Student Summit, video-conferences (which brings students from the Republic of Georgia and Pakistan virtually into our schools in Western PA), summer workshops, and regional seminars, the WAC always provides high level programs for both teachers and students. Countless students I have taught over the years have referenced the WAC programs as the reason they became a better global citizen and interested in current issues. I applaud their efforts to bring the world and global experts to the students and teachers of western PA.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2011, a group of 12 teachers had the opportunity of a life-time to travel to Brussels and Vienna to study the European Union. The trip was coordinated through a grant from the EU and the hard work of The World Affairs Council. Since then, the experience has opened countless doors for my high school students. We have participated in several video conferences on critical current issues, such as, Famine and Political Crisis in Africa, Culture and Daily Life in Brazil, and hosting foreign exchange students from CIEE, just to name a few. The staff at the World Affairs Council are constantly working to provide endless resources and life time experiences for both students and teachers in order to promote global interconnectedness and hands-on educational experiences.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a high school enrichment facilitator, the WAC has been an invaluable resource in helping me to promote global citizenship. The video conferences have connected our students to the countries of Georgia, Pakistan, Taiwan, Brazil. and others as students listen to high caliber speakers and engage in intercontinental discussions with their peers both in the United States and abroad. All of this occurs with a short walk down the hall to the large group instruction room where the videoconference begins and the world opens up! I also had the opportunity to travel to Brussels and Vienna with WAC to study the European Union with a dozen other western Pennsylvania educators of all ages. That experiential learning exceeded what I could ever hope to absorb from a text book. As the ideas have percolated in my brain, my trip has given rise to countless programs that enrich the global education of our students. None of this would be possible without the outstanding programs, the knowledgable staff, and the global connections brought to us by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh provides fabulous opportunities for Middle School Students to learn about the world through the Student Ambassador Program. My sixth grade students can experience the culture and history of many world countries through guest speakers that visit our school as well as participation in the Student Ambassador Conference. The program is the highlight of the year for my students.