Switchboard Stories: Keep Pittsburgh Global with GlobalPittsburgh
Believing in the power of global engagement is a good thing, but sometimes you just have to tell the world.
GlobalPittsburgh gave globally-minded people in the Pittsburgh region the chance to do just that with its Keep Pittsburgh Global campaign, which revolved around a series of events and opportunities for people to proclaim their belief that a global city is a better city.
With the help of a Community of Practice grant from the Sprout Fund, GlobalPittsburgh invited people from throughout the region – both internationals and home-grown residents – to have their pictures or videos made with a sign saying “Keep Pittsburgh Global” as a way of expressing their belief in the importance of global awareness.
“We thought the Keep Pittsburgh Global campaign would be a way for people who were from other countries to talk about their backgrounds, and for people who are from Pittsburgh to talk about why they are interested in global engagement,” says Thomas Buell, Jr., GlobalPittsburgh’s Director of Development and Marketing.
Collected over the course of several months, the resulting photos and videos were posted on GlobalPittsburgh’s website and across its social media platforms as a way of spreading the word about the many global faces and stories that make up the Pittsburgh community.
“We wanted to shed more light on this community of practice related to global engagement that we’ve all been working on at the Switchboard and GlobalPittsburgh,” says Buell. “It seemed like a good fit for what we are trying to do and a lot of people are trying to do in the city right now.”
For one international newcomer attending a Keep Pittsburgh Global event, finding GlobalPittsburgh has been a great way of connecting with what some might consider a hidden treasure in the city.
“It surprised me to find such an international group here,” says Nikki Dy-Liacco from the Philippines, who lived in several cities around the world before coming to Pittsburgh 18 months ago. “Most people don’t think of Pittsburgh as a very diverse city, but to be honest my circle here in Pittsburgh is actually a lot more international than it was in Singapore, which is surprising.”
Dy-Liacco credits GlobalPittsburgh’s events and activities for the smooth transition she has had into the Pittsburgh community.
“It’s a really friendly group of open, cool people,” she says, adding that she is currently dating someone she met at a GlobalPittsburgh event.
Pittsburgh has grown over the past century because of those international roots, says GlobalPittsburgh Board Chair John Hindman. And it is that cultural and ethnic heritage that is now being revived with a new generation of international newcomers.
“IT SURPRISED ME TO FIND SUCH AN INTERNATIONAL GROUP HERE.”
“It celebrates our diversity, it celebrates our connectivity,” he says. “It just helps provide good magnetism to keep it going.”
The Keep Pittsburgh Global campaign is one of several programs at GlobalPittsburgh, which was founded in 1959 as the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors (PCIV). It boosts international connections in the Pittsburgh Region and around the world through three main programs:
- Coordinating activities and events for globally-minded members
- Hosting delegations of international leaders for the U.S State Department
- Attracting international students to the region through its Study Pittsburgh initiative
Those globally-related activities make it great partner for The Global Switchboard in connecting people and organizations who share a commitment to global engagement, Buell says.
“If we’re all separated then we’re probably not creating as many opportunities as if we were together,” he says. “I think that’s where the Keep Pittsburgh Global campaign really has been working is to get this conversation started again. Pittsburgh was very global city and in many ways is a global city, and we just want to work on making sure that’s a reality that benefits everybody who’s here.”