Year of Pitt Global celebration marks an end and a beginning

Belkys Torres in Pitt Global Hub at Posvar Hall


The Year of Pitt Global may be winding down, but its impact on programming on and off the University’s campuses will be around for a long time, including in a new Global Hub space on the first floor of Posvar Hall.

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Dozens of people gathered April 24 in Posvar Hall to see poster presentations on Year of Pitt Global projects and to get a sneak peek at the Global Hub, which won’t officially open until August.

“The Year of Pitt Global celebrated Pitt being at home in the world, and it promoted the University as a global convening point,” said Randall Halle, co-chair of the Year of Pitt Global committee and professor of German film and cultural studies.

Pitt Global funding added up to nearly $1 million for projects, events and programs, including $20,000 to support student programming, Provost Ann Cudd said.

“The Year of Pitt Global really helped mobilize and highlight efforts across our campuses to integrate global and international perspectives that advance new knowledge and groundbreaking innovation, while fostering cultural awareness, worldwide partnerships and life-changing research,” Halle said. “And I’m sure that this Year Of will have legs and will continue to go on as the other Years Of have as well.”

Cudd said she was pleased to see that the regional campuses accounted for 15 percent of the Year of Pitt Global projects, including a campus global week and a passport drive at Pitt–Bradford.

Ariel Armony, vice provost for global affairs and director of the University Center for International Studies, marveled at the projects detailed in the posters and said, “we want to support the continuation of a lot of this work.”

One upcoming conference highlighted in the posters was “Comfort Women: The Legacy of Sexual Slavery in Asia.” The project by the Asian Studies Center is schedule for Oct. 19 and 20.

Provost Cudd and other in front of poster presentations

Pitt Global Hub

One way to continue focusing on Pitt’s global presence is a physical space to highlight those projects.

The Pitt Global Hub, located on the Schenley Plaza end of Posvar’s first floor, will serve as both a student lounge and an academic resource center, said Belkys Torres, the Pitt Global committee’s other co-chair and executive director of global engagement for UCIS.

The design of the space is generically international, without focusing on any one location.

“The idea is to think about Pitt as a person, and you imagine Pitt at home in the world, as someone who is a world traveler,” Torres said. “And every time that Pitt goes out into the world, Pitt comes back with a trophy, with some kind of tchotchke, … with some inspiration from somewhere they’ve been, and they bring it to the space. And all of a sudden, the space embodies a little bit of a multicultural favor.”

The centerpiece of the Global Hub is a large screen, called the Experience Wall, showing videos and photos from and information about various locations around the world. The country being featured will change every hour. Right now, the videos are from open-source material, but Torres said they hope to get students traveling abroad to engage with the project and shoot their own video.

“Why is this Experience Wall important? Because we’re hearing from students that sometimes it’s quite intimidating, and sometimes almost impossible to imagine themselves outside of Pittsburgh, outside of Pennsylvania, outside of the country,” Torres said. “And so one of the things that we wanted to do was to lower that intimidation factor. And the way that we’re doing this is very simply by showing them cityscapes, giving them information on five different topics, urban life, cuisine, landmarks, Pitt’s presence in that country and geography.”

Other highlights of the space, which will have no walls separating it from the main hallway in Posvar, include:

  • A stairway to the second floor, connecting the area to Posvar’s recently renovated study space. There are 12 screens visible from the second floor that will have abstract time displays and also show information about the country being featured on the Experience Wall.
  • A large round table, where language and other group learning can take place.
  • A long, tall table, where Pitt Pathfinders can take prospective students and explain the University’s international options, and also where cultural demonstrations can take place.
  • Two nooks, where students can meet in small groups or with advisors, and also can connect via Skype with students who are abroad.
  • Cabinets where rotating exhibitions will feature items from the Nationality Rooms.
  • An Engagement Wall that will feature facts about the world, a calendar of global events hosted by Pitt or at Pitt and a survey that will lead students to programming, groups, certificates and language offerings they might be interested in.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.