China’s struggle to access water

Think through the past twenty four hours; how much water did you use? Did you use water to cook and wash dishes; do the laundry? How about brushing your teeth?  Now think of what would happen if you weren’t able to access clean, drinkable water by as easily as turning on the faucet. How would that affect your daily life? This is a very real concern for citizens throughout the world. Looking at China in particular, a growing population and massive urban migration movement has created a country-wide water crisis. Recent figures provided by the World Bank place China’s population at 1.351 billion—the largest in the world. China’s population, alone, makes up 20 percent of the world’s population. However, the country is home to only seven percent of the world’s freshwater, which is unevenly distributed throughout the large country—the fourth largest (by area) behind Russia, Canada, and the United States.

China water

(Source: Washington Post, 2012)

A closer look at the problem?

China’s water crisis is a combination of many different components. The first is geography. Water is a critical resource needed to allow farm lands to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, the majority of China’s farmland is found in the north, while most of the freshwater resources (rivers, lakes, tributaries, etc.) are found in the south. Without water, agricultural outputs suffer as crops and livestock are not able to receive the key resources needed to survive. This in turn negatively impacts local food supplies and global food prices.

Another component is urbanization. China’s current urbanization rate is over 50 percent, meaning more citizens are living in cities than in rural areas. This is the result of massive internal migration, a phenomenon expected to continue. A 2013 United Nations Development report estimates that 310 million more Chinese citizens will migrate to urban cities over the next two decades. This puts an unequal burden on larger cities to address the demands of a growing population. For one, Chinese citizens are living longer and eating more water-intensive food like meat and dairy. In order to satisfy the needs of urban residents, water must be diverted from farmers—those largely responsible for growing the food and livestock that is in heavy demand in cities.

Additionally, as China’s major metropolises continue to grow, the demand for other natural resources, like natural gas, also rises. In the recent global unconventional gas boom, China—home to a significant number of shale reserves—has looked to the United States as a model in extracting this inexpensive natural gas resource. However, they are not able to fully exhaust this resource as there is a heavy reliance on water in the extraction process. William Adams and Damiena Ma, authors of the 2013 book In Line Behind a Billion People: How Scarcity will Define China’s Ascent in the Next Decade, argue that this excessive taping of underground water resources, in response to excessive demand, has left China’s coastal region vulnerable to flooding and tidal surges.

Finally, pollution and a lack of education also play a role. Over the last fifty years, China has lost between 27,000 and 28,000 rivers primarily due to misuse by farms and factories, as well as climate change. Further, there have been frequent incidents in which fresh water resources have been polluted to the point of being “undrinkable.” For example,

  • In 2001, the Huai River Valley was contaminated when heavy rains flushed more than 28 billion gallons of highly polluted water downstream. The river water was filled with garbage, topped with yellow foam, and left hundreds of fish dead.
  • In 2012, the Quxi River in an eastern city of Wenzhou ran white after a latex factory spill, and the Qili River in Zhengzhou ran red after heavy rains washed pollutants into the water.

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection issued a “Fresh Water Environment” report in 2011 which stated that more than half of China’s largest lakes and reservoirs were contaminated at levels that make them unsuitable for human consumption. Further, three-fifths of China’s 4,727 underground water-quality testing stations found beneath 400 cities were rated “relatively bad” or worse.

What can/is China doing to solve the problem?

A number of both short-term and long-term mechanisms have been put in place to address the increasing water shortage, the most notable of which is the South-to-North Water Diversion Project. Upon completion, this $62 billion engineering effort will transfer nearly six trillion gallons of water each year from the Yangtze River and its tributaries in the south to the dry regions of the north. The eastern route of the project is nearly finished and has already started to draw water from the river and transport it to Dezhou, a city in the northeastern province of Shandong. Once it’s finished, this route will have 912 miles of canals and waterways. Completion on both the eastern route and the middle route continue to face a number of roadblocks due to complications with polluted water and over-budgeted construction costs.

Desalination plants, which take fresh saltwater from coastal regions and process them for consumption are also growing in popularity and support. Just this month, a coastal desalination plant planned for eastern Beijing was proposed. This plant could provide drinking water to the capital region, home of more than 22 million people, by as early as 2019. Officials anticipate that the plant will supply one million tons of fresh water accounting for one-third of the daily water consumption in the city.  This plant would be phase two of a larger desalination effort. Phase one resulted in the construction of a plant located about 200 miles east of Beijing, which produces 50,000 tons of water each day.

Despite physical efforts being done to address the demand for water, critics argue additional focus should be placed on governmental policies targeting consumers and the treatment of water. One thought is to reduce the overall consumption and waste of water by making it more expensive. Currently, water in China is relatively cheap; costing about a tenth of the price of water in Europe.

Another suggestion is to establish greater fines and punishment for polluters. Many of China’s freshwater supply is too dirty to drink, some so poisonous that farmers are not able to use it on their crops. Cutting down on water pollution would not only aid in the efforts of other projects aiming to divert water to the north, but it would contribute to greater health standards and agricultural production.

These of course are not the only efforts being made to combat China’s water shortage; any Google search will produce a handful more. As China’s population continues to boom and urban migration numbers rise, the demand for clean, safe water will only increase. Only time will tell if these new efforts like the South-to-North Diversion project and the desalination plants will have the desired effect.

The first steps in teaching English abroad

Here at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, we frequently receive inquiries about the different opportunities that exist to teach English as a second language (ESL) abroad. Teaching ESL to students around the world is a rewarding experience that exposes one to a new culture while also gaining quality skills needed to succeed in a global 21st century workforce.

If you are interested in participating in this unique work opportunity, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • The more teaching experience you can get before going abroad, the better – particular in teaching ESL. This experience makes you that much more competitive during the interview and hiring process.
  • To teach for any reputable organization abroad you should have some kind of Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Certificate (one example is the CELTA). There are centers across the United States that host classes and certificate programs in this field. The length of program varies, as well as the intensity of the course. You should do your own research, but if you’re looking for examples check out Bridge-TEFL.
  • The amount of support an organization will provide while you are abroad varies on the company. Generally, a school should find accommodations for you, and offer trainings and workshops to help you transition into the classroom. Be sure to do significant research about any organization before you interview or sign a contract!

In some countries, the easiest way to teach is to be hired by a private language school. However, there are a number of respectable teaching programs you can go through around the world. We’ve provided a short list below. It’s always important to do your own research as these are not the only opportunities that may exist. Typically, the best way to apply is by sending your resume to the email address given on the respective websites.

A few well-known programs for teaching English abroad include:

In addition, the following sites provide listings on general teaching opportunities, as well as resources for aspiring (and current) ESL teachers:

Have a good resource from your own personal experience teaching English abroad? Let us know!

Why International Affairs Education?

This post was researched and written by Samantha Simmons,
World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Intern.

“The 21st century isn’t coming; it’s already here. And our students have the opportunity and challenge of living and working in a diverse and rapidly changing world. Public schools must prepare our young people to understand and address global issues, and educators must re-examine their teaching strategies and curriculum so that all students can thrive in this global and interdependent society.”

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel

Generations to come will face an increasingly integrated world, and it is through education and experiences that develop a globalized perspective that students can be better equipped to contribute to the global community. Greater global awareness and cultural understanding are best achieved through education. These critical skills for the 21st century global workforce encompass both an in-depth knowledge and understanding of international issues, as well as an appreciation for those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The ability to understand, read, write, and speak in more than one language enhances cross-cultural communication skills. Acquiring proficiency in another language is proving to be an increasingly important criterion for employers in recruitment. A majority of employers (70%) used foreign language proficiency as part of their criteria for hiring, according to a study in 2006. The acquisition of another language is a strong indicator of global competence, but research shows that it also indicates the prospective employee has a better understanding of English and verbal skills as well. Studying international affairs and being aware of global issues gives a distinct advantage to students in searching for rewarding career paths amongst the changing demands of work. Studying international affairs does not need to be the focus of a student’s study, but rather, any course of study (e.g. science, business, biology, medicine, engineering, history, law, psychology, etc) greatly benefits from approaching it with a global perspective.

“In the financial world, cultural awareness and cultural adeptness are far more important than undergraduate major or existing skill sets… These needs touch all industries, from banking to healthcare to engineering.”

- Jonathan Jones, Firmwide Campus Recruiting Director for Goldman Sachs

Given that finance, trade, technology, and information now move relatively freely across national borders; governments, corporations, educational institutions, and the international community at large need managers and professionals who possess a broad understanding of our interconnected world. Therefore, opportunities for positions requiring international knowledge and skills are increasing and have created a need for graduates who are highly skilled, culturally attuned, and able to think and act on both a global and local level. It is through global competency and awareness that one develops the skills needed to succeed in a competitive global job market. As identified by both the National Education Association and Harvard University, these skills include:


  • Complexities and interdependency of world events and issues
  • Cultural understanding
  • Geography, conditions, issues and events
  • Historical forces that have shaped the current world system
  • One’s own culture and history in relationship to others


  • Research
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Coping, resiliency, ability to adapt
  • Critical and comparative thinking
  • Creative thinking and problem solving
  • Language Skills

Values and Attitudes:

  • Openness to new opportunities, ideas and ways of thinking
  • Self awareness about culture; sensitivity and respect for diversity
  • Empathy and valuing multiple perspectives
  • Comfort with ambiguity and unfamiliar situations
  • Positive outlook on adversity


  • Seek out multiple opinions and perspectives
  • Form opinions based on exploration and evidence
  • Taking responsible initiative action
  • Independent seeking of solutions
  • Sharing knowledge and encouraging discourse

And What about Pittsburgh?

The growth of the internet and technology have resulted in an increased integration and interaction between governments, economies, and individuals across the globe. It is through this interconnectedness that businesses transcend borders; Pittsburgh is no exception. Like other major metropolitan areas, the Pittsburgh region is becoming increasingly globalized. Nearly 400 foreign companies from countries around the world have operations in Pittsburgh. In fact, over 50,000 residents in this region are employed by these foreign companies, according to the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. This makes the necessity to understand the world even more important when cooperating and competing in the international marketplace. While there are a wealth of study abroad experiences available (see scholarships, financial aid, Fulbright Program, and more) to make one more culturally aware, a number of educational opportunities for students exist on a local level here in Pittsburgh. If you are a high school student, consider joining us for the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh’s Summer Seminar on Global Issues to begin developing some of these critical skills. For more information, click here.


 “Education is the best means–probably the only means–by which nations can cultivate a degree of objectivity about each other’s behavior and intentions.”

-          J. William Fulbright

Articles and Reports on Global Competency and Education:

Resources for Teachers:

Russian Language Lesson, Enigma No More!

You may have read our recent blog post about all the great ways that you can work on your foreign language skills. We thought that we would revive an old blog series of language tidbits to remind you how fun and interesting language learning can be!

Today, we’re going to focus on Russian. This Slavic language is spoken by approximately 277 million people worldwide and comes with a rich literary tradition that is cherished by people all over the world, both in translation and in the original. Not to mention the fact that all eyes are on Russia right now with the current situation in Crimea (see our blog post about that here.)

So! It’s time to govoreet po russki. The best introduction to any culture different from your own is to just spend time with people for whom it is native. This quick language tutorial will teach you the words that you need to have an informal hangout with your new Russian-speaking friend. Please be aware that all of these word forms should only be used in informal situations with someone around your own age who younger with whom you have some acquaintance. Adults tend to use the formal when meeting someone for the first time regardless, but 20-somethings and teenagers can use these forms below. (Note: the bold portion of the word is the emphasized syllable.)

Привет! – preevyet, means Hi!

Как дела? – kak dela? means What’s up? How are things with you?

Прекрасно!/Неплохо!/Нормально! – Prekrasna!/Neplohha!/Normal’na!, all good answers to Как дела?, meaning Great!/Not bad!/Fine. Don’t be surprised if a Russian answers плохо! – plohha (meaning not well/bad) to your polite How are you? Russians tend to take that question seriously and will answer you in kind.

Как тебя зовут? – Kak tebya zovoot? means What’s your name?

Чай будешь? – Chai budesh? means You want some tea?

Какая музыка тебе нравится? – Kakaya muzika tebye nravitsya? means What kind of music do you like?

Какие фильмы тебе нравится? – Kakiye filmi tebye nravitsya? means What kind of films do you like?

Other important words:
Извини! – Eezvenee, means Sorry!

Спасибо – Spaseeba, means Thank you!

Practice your Russian with a friend or a family member! Have some fun with it.


Internship Opportunities and Global Learning for the Summer of 2014 and Beyond

There is a lot to be learned outside of the classroom! Whether you are thinking about college applications or possible career plans, a summer internship, study, or travel opportunity is worth considering, and with summer just around the corner many high school, undergraduate, and graduate students are doing just that.

To help start the search process for opportunities available this summer and throughout the school year, we’ve compiled a list of some great internships, study abroad, and travel experiences in international affairs across a wide range of organizations. Use the information below as a beginning guide on your search, but be sure to do some research on your own as well! To help you out, we have listed some additional resources for more information.

Attention teachers: we’ve included a section on summer opportunities for educators below. Scroll towards the end of this post for information on two exciting opportunities.

Internship Opportunities             

Amnesty International – Internship Opportunities: Amnesty International is a human rights organization that provides unpaid summer, fall, and spring internships to rising college juniors (and above) in New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco, and Boston.

Arms Control Association Internships: The Arms Control Association and Arms Control Today offer research and journalism internships in Washington, D.C. This internship program, offered in the spring, summer, and fall, is best suited for undergraduate students.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Internships: APEC is an international affairs and economic organization that provides unpaid internships to graduate-level students who are nationals or permanent residents of APEC member economies. In some cases a financial stipend may be available. The Secretariat seeks candidates from a variety of academic disciplines, specifically those who have a strong interest in the work of international organizations and, in particular, international affairs and international economics.

The Carter Center Internship Program: Semester-long internships are open to undergraduate and graduate students and recent graduates in areas such as health, peace, and operations. These internships are unpaid and may take place in cities across the nation and abroad. Internship opportunities are offered year round.

Center for Strategic and International Studies – Internships: CSIS offers full and part-time internships in the fall, spring, and summer for undergraduates, advanced students, and recent graduates who are interested in gaining practical experience in public policy.

Central Intelligence Agency – Student Opportunities: The CIA has competitive internship opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students in a range of fields, including analytical; business, IT, and security; clandestine service; language; and science, engineering and technology. The student opportunities page also includes information on scholarship and co-op programs, as well as ongoing opportunities for students of all ages. Due to the extensive application and background check required, interested applicants should apply 12 months prior to their desired start date. Applications for the Summer 2015 internship program are due March 31, 2014.

Council on Foreign Relations Internships: CFR offers volunteer internship opportunities for college students, graduate students, and recent graduates focusing on international relations and who are pursuing a career in foreign policy or a related field. Interns are recruited year-round on a semester basis to volunteer in both the New York and Washington, DC offices, and all internships are filled on a rolling basis.

Doctors Without Borders – Paid Internship Program: A very competitive program, Doctors Without Borders offers internships in many departments, including HIV/AIDs, Human Resources, Marketing, Medical Editing, Planned Giving, Public Events, Press, and Web. Internships take place in New York City. The deadline to apply for a summer internship is April 11, 2014.

European Union – Washington Delegation Internships: Open to college/university students and recent graduates, internships with the Washington Delegation are unpaid and preference is given to applicants who are available full-time. Internships are offered during the fall semester, spring semester, and summer.

Human Rights Watch Internships: Internships are available to undergraduate and graduate-level students, both within the U.S. and abroad.

International Monetary Fund Internships: The IMF offers approximately 50 paid summer (June – October) internships each year to highly qualified PhD students.

Korea Economic Institute Internships: Applicants to KEI should be graduate students (or exceptional undergraduate students) with a background in political science and/or economics as well as an interest in Asia-Pacific issues, especially Korea. Internships are offered for the fall, spring, and summer.

NATO Internships: The application window for a NATO internship is from March-April for the following year. Internships last 6 months, beginning in either September or March, and are based in Brussels, Belgium. Application requirements include an online application form, CV, and letter of motivation.

United Nations Internships: The UN Programme on Youth provides a list of internships available with the United Nations. Please visit each link for specific details and applicant criteria.

United States Commercial Service Internships: The U.S. Commercial service offers student volunteer internships at U.S. Field Offices, Headquarters, and International Field Offices. This page provides more information about applying to the different locations.

United States Department of State – Student Programs: This page offers information for high school, college, and graduate/post-graduate opportunities within the State Department. Please visit each opportunity for details and applicant criteria.

United States Office of Personnel Management – Student Jobs ( This website is the portal to all job and internship applications for the federal government for students and recent graduates. Internships can be found by searching the site for “internship.” This page also offers information on the Pathways Program, the Presidential Management Fellows Program, summer jobs, and volunteer experiences.

United States Senate or House of Representatives Internships: Many offices of government officials in the House of Representatives and United States Senate offer internships for high school students, undergraduates, and graduate students. A variety of opportunities can be found at the link provided. You are also encouraged to visit the professional website of a representative, senator, or committee for more detailed information.

USAID Internships: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) offers paid and volunteer-based internships, both domestically and abroad, for college and graduate students.

White House Internships: Applicants for a White House internship must be U.S. citizens who will be at least 18 years old on the first day of the internship, and must be enrolled in an academic program. A completed application for this competitive program includes two essay questions, two letters of recommendation, and a resume.

World Affairs Councils: Like the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, many World Affairs Councils across the country offer internships at their organization. This link goes to the World Affairs Councils of America list of member Councils.

World Bank Internships: The World Bank offers paid internships in the summer (June-September) and winter (December-March), primarily in Washington, D.C. Applicants are required to be graduate or PhD students who have ideally completed one or more years of graduate-level education at the time of the internship.


Summer Travel and International Learning Opportunities

Amizade Global Service-Learning: This Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization offers experiences for individuals and groups to travel abroad to participate in service-learning opportunities. There are also accredited study-abroad opportunities, offered in partnership with West Virginia University.

Global Citizen Year: During this year-long total immersion program, offered to recent high school graduates, students will develop critical skills, master new tools, and learn from recognized experts all while living abroad and being fully immersed in a new culture. Programs are offered in Brazil, Ecuador, and Senegal, and last from the summer following high school graduation to the following April.

Global Scholar: An intensive two-week academic enrichment program that offers rising high school juniors and seniors the chance to sharpen their understanding of international affairs in a university setting. Global Scholar Prep is held at American University in Washington, D.C.

Kosciuszko Foundation Summer Study Abroad Programs: A variety of study abroad programs are offered by the Kosciuszko Foundation for study at the Catholic University of Lublin and Jagiellonian University of Cracow in Poland. Programs range in length and include courses in the Polish language, history, and culture with sightseeing trips on weekends. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2014.

National Geographic – Student Expeditions: Students completing 9th through 12th grades are eligible to participate in National Geographic Student Expeditions. There are four types of trips offered: expeditions, field workshops, photo workshops, and community service programs.

Summer at Georgetown: Georgetown University’s Summer Programs for High School Students include a range of activities, such as Institutes on International Relations and National Security/Counter-Intelligence; Fundamentals of Business: Leadership in a Global Economy; and summer courses on a range of international topics. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2014.

Summer Seminar on Global Issues: New in 2014, the Summer Seminar on Global Issues is a two-week, non-residential program offered by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh in partnership with the Global Studies Center and the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Open to rising high school juniors and seniors, the Summer Seminar will expose students to a range of interdisciplinary global issues, and will include language study, presentations from regional experts, simulation and scenario activities, among others. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2014.

World Learning: A partner of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh’s Global Travel Scholarship Program, World Learning offers travel learning opportunities for high school and undergraduate students. The Experiment in International Living offers 3-5 week programs for high school students in 30 different countries, while SIT Study Abroad offers college students more than 70 semester, academic year, and summer programs around the world.


Additional Resources

American Foreign Service Association – Student Resources: The AFSA provides students with information on careers in Foreign Service, internship opportunities in foreign affairs, and other ways to become involved with international relations.

EuroBrussels – Internship Level Jobs: This site lists European Affairs internships/traineeships that are not affiliated with the EU Institutions. Interested applicants will need to contact the organizations or read the requirements to verify whether U.S. citizens are eligible to apply.

European Union Institutions – Traineeships for Students: A listing of internships at the Institutions of the EU in Brussels. There may be a limited number of internship positions available for non-EU students.

Global Job Board: An extensive up-to-date listing of job and internship opportunities, searchable by level, location, and sector. A great resource for internship- and job-seekers alike.

Global Career Blog (Passport Career): Although the main Passport Career site requires registration (and payment) the blog is available to everyone, and is full of advice for job-searching and working abroad.

Summer Opportunities for Educators

10th Annual Great Decisions Teacher Training Institute: Organized by the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions program, the Teacher Training Institute (June 30-July 2) provides educators a unique opportunity to build skills in teaching global affairs, develop international studies curricula, learn about related teaching resources, and interact with other committed international affairs educators. Topics range from defense technology to the Islamic awakening. The Institute is held in New York City. Applications are due by Friday, April 25, 2014.

Summer Institute for Teachers: A three-day (June 24-26, 2014) summer workshop for educators hosted by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, which consists of briefings from experts on contemporary world affairs, small group problem solving exercises, and lesson-planning sessions. This year’s topics will focus on a range of issues including transnational threats, genocide, as well as regional studies covering South America.

Using Google to Teach About the World

On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, teachers from across Southwestern Pennsylvania gathered at the Pittsburgh-based Google offices to learn more about new educational tools offered by Google. Given the popularity of the program and platforms discussed, we’ve provided information on each tool below with some of the in-the-classroom uses discussed during the workshop.

Google is a name heard and understood throughout the world. The well-known internet provider, created in 1998, has grown into a multibillion dollar empire with 70 offices in more than 40 countries around the world.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. They provide this information through a variety of products and services traditionally free of charge. In addition to the well-known search engine, email service, and web browser intended for the everyday user, Google also maintains a variety of platforms designed and updated with educators in mind.

Google Earth/Maps
Google Earth allows users to explore the world around them from the comforts of home. Starting from as far away as outer space, users can zoom in close enough to view international cities, notable mountain ranges, and even underwater ocean views. Google Maps provides a street view option to allow users the opportunity to walk the streets of Rome or Rio just as they would if they were really there.

Google Earth has put together collages of popular points on the map and photos of related artifacts and wonders to allow for more detailed learning on a particular region of the world. These can be found in the Google Earth Gallery, here. Users can also create their own journeys by pinning their favorite spots on the map.

In the classroom: Teachers can use this tool to teach their students about the world. Google earth is a great way to visualize the topography of a region, or put the distance and location of a place into perspective for the students. Additionally, the street view takes the students on a virtual tour of famous landmarks and day-to-day streets.

Picture3Exploring the Great Wall of China on Google Earth

The Constitute platform is home to digitized versions of many of the World’s constitutions to allow for easy reference and comparison. Users can search by country or key word. For example, by searching “gender”, Constitute will filter every constitution that addresses the issue of gender. The relevant excerpts will be listed to allow for easy reference when searching through the different documents. In addition to the online viewing option, PDF versions are also available to download and print.

In the classroom: Teachers can use this resource to send students on a “scavenger hunt” by having them search the constitutions for specific topics and/or issues. Additionally, teachers can “pin” favorite excerpts (selecting the icon that looks like a pin) for easy access to compare and contrast.

Picture2Searching for the legal meaning of “Gender Equality” around the world

Cultural Institute
Cultural Institute is a multi-service platform that allows users to explore notable works of art, historical events, and modern day wonders of the world, as well as expand their knowledge and understanding through the added content provided.

Art Project is home to online images of thousands of works of art housed in museums and archives from around the world. Users can search by collection, artist, and/or a specific type of art. There are more than 40,000 high resolution images that allow users to zoom in close enough to view the actual bush stroke. Users can explore the collections of photos previously compiled by Google, or create your own personal collection by pinning and saving your favorite works of art.

Historical Moments is an online exhibition detailing the stories behind significant moments in human history, using documents, photos, videos and in some cases personal accounts of events. Earthquake: The Chinatown Story and the Struggle for Freedom in Mozambique are just two of the many examples available.

World Wonders brings to life the wonders of the modern and ancient world. Google’s Street View technology allows users to view geographical and architectural wonders from the comforts of their computer screens. Users are exposed to a series of images and historical context for a particular location or landmark. Take a tour through the Versaille Palace in France to see how it works.

In the classroom: Within Art Project, teachers can take their students on a virtual tour of a particular museum just as though you were there in person. Additionally, teachers and students using Art Project, Historical Moments, and/or World Wonders can bookmark and share favorites with friends, colleagues, classmates. There is also the ability to compare works of images side by side.

Picture1An example of a search query for Leonardo da Vinci in Art Project

Connected Classrooms
Created by the Google+ team, Connected Classrooms uses Google+ hangouts to take students on a virtual field trip and connect them with their peers around the world. Teachers can register by signing up online, and will receive email notifications of upcoming events. Past hangouts included a tour of the White House, conversation with a NASA Astronaut in space, and a reciting of the Gettysburg Address with documentarian Ken Burns. Up to ten schools can participate on a virtual hangout at one time. All hangouts are archived and available on the Connected Classrooms site as well as on YouTube.

To register, teachers must have a Google+ profile.

In the classroom: Teachers can incorporate the hangouts into their teachings based on the content being covered. Hangouts allow students to hear a different perspective on an issue from their peers, to allow for a deeper and more meaningful discussion.

YouTube for Education
YouTube for Education is a subset of the traditional YouTube video sharing website. YouTube’s education platform is home to over 100 channels and 150,000 unique videos from which teachers can choose. All videos are safe for educational use, and security features allow teachers to have direct control over the videos available.

In the classroom: Teachers can incorporate videos into their teachings, assign them for student view as part of a flipped classroom, or create a video with their class to be uploaded to the site.

Celebrating the World’s Women


This post was researched and written by Nina Mast, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Intern.

Saturday, March 8th marks International Women’s Day (IWD). Recognized by the United Nations, IWD is a time to reflect upon the progress made by women across the globe while also acknowledging the necessary changes still to come. In recognition of IWD, the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh is partnering with the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh to bring awareness to human trafficking and other acts of exploitation that affect women on both a local and global level. Join us on March 19 for a screening of the documentary Not My Life and a discussion that builds on the topic. This event is free to the public. Information on other local events taking place to celebrate Women’s History Month is found here.

In celebration of women, this blog post profiles some of the most powerful and influential women of the world today. Rather than highlight women based on pure political power or salary size, this list aims to showcase those who are challenging traditional means of power and redefining the role of women in society.

Forbes Magazine maintains the most prominent list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and was a major resource used in compiling this post. However, the list below diverges from Forbes’ methodology in a few important ways. First, instead of ranking nominees, we’ve divided the list into two major categories: Heads of State and Other Women in Power. Heads of State is organized by region and the women profiled were those who, to me, made the most compelling cases. Areas such as overcoming adversity, showing support for human rights or a dedication to philanthropy, and maintaining a relatively unblemished reputation as the head of state were taken into consideration when deciding which heads of state to feature. The second section, Other Women in Power, is subdivided into sectors: Politics, NGOs, and Business/Economics.

It’s important to note that Forbes Magazine is by no means the sole provider of lists of powerful women, nor does the list below cover all such women worldwide. Links to alternative assessments of the world’s most powerful women of 2013 are provided at the bottom of this post.

Heads of State

Joyce Banda is the first female president of Malawi. Forbes named her #47 on its list, and the most powerful woman in Africa. Banda served as Malawi’s first female vice president and, in her first year as president, initiated a $15 billion project to fight AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB). Prior to entering politics, she founded the Joyce Banda Foundation, the National Association of Business Women (NABW), Young Women Leaders Network, and the Hunger Project.

See also:
Ellen Johnson SirleafPresident, Liberia

Park Geun-hye is the first female President of South Korea, and the first female head of government in Northeast Asia. She is listed as #11 on Forbes’ list. In an effort to break away from the controversy surrounding the 18 year-long presidency of Park’s father, Park Chun-hee, the current administration strives to create a trustworthy and effective government with a focus on economic revival; cultural cooperation and exchange; a unified society; and strong security measures for sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula.

See also:
Yingluck ShinawatraPrime Minister, Thailand
Sheikh Hasina WajedPrime Minister, Bangladesh
Sonia GandhiPresident, India

Johanna Sigurdardottir (retired, May 2013) was the first female prime minister of Iceland. She was also the world’s first openly lesbian head of government. Johanna is Iceland’s longest serving Member of Parliament to date. While in power, she gained a reputation for her support of disabled and elderly rights, and a robust welfare system. Under her leadership, Iceland became a model for gender equality and earned the #1 spot on the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Index for the year 2012 (the United States placed 23rd).

See also:
Dalia GrybauskaitePresident, Lithuania
Angela MerkelChancellor, Germany

Latin America
Dilma Rousseff, Marxist guerilla turned civil servant, is the first female president of Brazil and Forbes’ #2 pick on its list. Rousseff remains fairly popular for her work in reducing taxes and extending Brazil’s social welfare network, despite criticism that she has undone some of the previous president’s work. As President, Rousseff strives to build greater gender equality in government, and has placed women in positions of leadership including in the vice presidency, Brazil’s major oil conglomerate, and the cabinet.

See also:
Cristina Fernandez de KirchnerPresident, Argentina
Laura ChinchillaPresident, Costa Rica

Other Women in Power

Michelle Obama is the first African-American First Lady of the United States and #4 on Forbes’ 2013 List of Powerful Women. Obama served as assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago’s City Hall before becoming the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares youth for public service. As First Lady, Michelle has spearheaded initiatives to fight childhood obesity and promote healthier eating and lifestyles. She also cofounded an organization to support military families and is an advocate for the arts and arts education, female empowerment, and LGBT rights.

Hillary Clinton is a United States’ former Secretary of State and former First Lady during the Clinton Administration. Prior to her time in government, Clinton cofounded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and became the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation. She was the first female partner at Rose Law Firm, and The National Law Journal  has twice listed her as one of the hundred most influential lawyers in America. Clinton served two terms as a United States Senator (New York), during which she was a leading candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Polls indicate Clinton is the overwhelming candidate among Democrats for the 2016 presidential election.

See also:
Janet Napolitano – Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Aung San Suu KyiMember of Parliament, Myanmar
LiyuanPengFirst Lady, Peoples Republic of China
Sheikh Lubna al Qasimi – United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Trade

Christine Lagarde is Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the first female to hold the position. She is #7 on Forbes’ top 100 Powerful Women. Prior to her role at the IMF, Lagarde served as a French Minister of Economic Affairs, Finance and Employment, and Agriculture and Fishing, and was the first female finance minister of a G8 economy (France). Before entering politics, Lagarde worked as a labor and antitrust attorney in the United States, where she became the first female chairman of the international law firm Baker & McKenzie.

Margaret Chan is the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). China-born Chan joined WHO, was appointed Director-General of Communicable Diseases in 2003, and Representative of the Director-General for Pandemic Influenza in 2005. Now in her second term as head of WHO, Chan is considered the most powerful person in global public health, and WHO seems to be thriving under her leadership. A 2013 report shows declining infant mortality rates in the world’s poorest countries, increased life expectancies worldwide, and the early achievement of the U.N.’s 2015 Millennium Development Goals by 27 diverse countries.

See also:
Judith Rodin – President, Rockefeller Foundation
Helen ClarkAdministrator, United Nations Development Programme
Melinda Gates – CoChair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Etharin CousinExecutive Director, World Food Programme
Solina Chau Director, Li Ka Shing Foundation

Business & Economics
Virginia “Ginni” Rometty, CEO of IBM, is #12 on Forbes’ list of Powerful Women and #56 of its list Powerful Women. In addition, Rometty has been named to related lists in Fortune Magazine, Time 100, and Bloomberg Markets Magazine. Prior to serving as CEO, Rometty held a series of leadership positions at IBM including Senior Vice President and Group Executive of IBM Sales, Marketing and Strategy. She also served as Senior Vice President of IBM Global Business Services where she led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, the largest acquisition in professional services history, thereby creating a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts.

Lubna Olayan is the Deputy Chairperson and CEO of the Olayan Financing Company based in Saudi Arabia. Olayan is listed as #72 on Forbes’ List of Powerful Women, and at #63 in 2011. Following in the footsteps of her father, founder of the Olayan Group, Lubna manages all of Olayan Group’s investments and joint ventures in the Middle East. She has also been a champion for gender equality in the Middle East, calling for Arab CEOs to hire and mentor women, and is an advocate for the promotion of Middle Eastern art and culture around the world.

See also:
Maria das Graças Silva Foster—CEO, Petrobras
Janet YellenChairperson of the Federal Reserve

Find out more
Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women
TIME 25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century
FORTUNE 50 Most Powerful Women in Business
One World Action: The Unseen Powerful Women Who Change the World, 2013 nominees and winners
Women’s History Month


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