A Few Questions for the Dutch Ambassador

The Council recently welcomed the Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States, Ambassador Renée Jones-Bos, to Pittsburgh.  While the Ambassador was in town, she had a number of meetings and events to attend, many specifically related to the Distinctively Dutch Festival that was held, but she took some time to speak with Leah Dunn, a student from Northgate High School. In their brief interview, they discuss a multitude of topics, including: the Ambassador’s career path, the importance of learning different languages, the relationship between the Netherlands and the U.S., the euro-crisis, higher education in Europe, and careers in international affairs.

If you’re interested in hearing more from Ambassador Jones-Bos, check out her interview on the Council’s weekly radio show, Global Press Conference, on KQV Newsradio (here).

A Few Questions for the Indian Ambassador

The Council recently welcomed the Ambassador of India to the United States, Meera Shankar, to Pittsburgh.  While Ambassador Shankar was in town, she had a number of meetings and events to attend, but she took some time to speak with Joe Lucot, a student from Upper St. Clair High School.

If you’re interested in hearing more from Ambassador Shankar, check out her interview on the Council’s weekly radio show, Global Press Conference, on KQV Newsradio (here).  In addition, the Tribune Review has a great article on the Ambassador’s visit, which can be found here.

>Ask A Diplomat with Ambassador Minton

>We sat down with Ambassador Minton, the President of the Korea Society and former U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia, to ask a few questions.  Check out the video to hear his thoughts on the current situation in Japan, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and South Korea, what Americans should know about Mongolia, and a career in diplomacy.

>Americas Wednesday: Ask An Expert

>Christina recently sat down with the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office, Michael A. Rodriguez, for a short video interview.  In this video, SAC Rodriguez discusses his career path and offers advice to local students as to how they may become more globally competitive.


For his complete bio, please click here. For more information about the FBI, please visit their homepage (here).

>Ask A Diplomat — Ambassador Kutelia

>We recently had a visit from Ambassador Kutelia, the Georgian Ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico.  He accomplished a lot during his short visit to Pittsburgh.  He:

  •  met with various organizations here in Pittsburgh

  • stopped by our office for a great conversation with a small group of teachers about an opportunity to teach English in Georgia (more information on the “Teach and Learn With Georgia” program can be found here).
  • visited Hampton High School (a local school with a partnership with a school in Tbilisi that was formed during our G-20 Student Summit).  Here is a Post-Gazette article about his visit.
  • recorded a radio interview for our Global Press Conference radio show on KQV. (It can also be found here, and on our iTunes podcast!)
  • allowed me to interview him as a part of our “Ask A Diplomat” series. The video is found below.  Enjoy! 

>Ask An Expert – Niels Annen

>Watch as Niels Annen (a Senior Fellow with the German Marshall Fund in Washington D.C., and former member of the German Parliament) answers questions submitted by local students. He discusses his career, the German military, China, and the World Cup.

Thanks to the students of the Summer Seminar on World Affairs, particularly Glenn and Alexa, for their fantastic questions!

>Happy (Belated) Cinco de Mayo!


On May 5th, the Council hosted Dr. Arnulfo Valdivia Machuca, Chief of International Affairs of the State of Mexico.  He spoke at a luncheon event (which was covered by C-SPAN), participated in a radio interview, and answered some questions presented by local students.  Dr. Machuca spoke primarily on Mexico: Meeting the Challenges of Economic Recovery and Expanded Organized Crime.

Here are a few highlights from his visit:

  • Click here to visit the C-SPAN website and watch the video of Dr. Machuca’s luncheon presentation.
  • Click here to listen to the recording from his interview for Global Press Conference on KQV 1410.
  • Click here to view the “Ask A Diplomat” video — with questions supplied by local students!

>Ask a Diplomat


We recently sat down with Christoph Eichhorn, the Head of the Political Section at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. Local students submitted questions to be answered by the diplomat.


>Ask an Expert: Juan Delgado


Today, Dr. Juan Delgado took a few minutes to answer some students’ questions about energy and climate change.  Dr. Delgado is the Chief Economist for the Spanish National Commission for Competition, and was a panelist at our recent G-20 Student Summit.  For his complete bio, please look here (pdf).  


Question from Italy: In 1987 Italian people voted against nuclear plants as an alternative energy source. Nowadays our current government is evaluating the possibility to use this kind of energy source. Some experts in physics are convinced that this choice is out-of-date. What’s your opinion about this ? And what would be the energy OF THE FUTURE ?

Dr. Juan Delgado: After the accident of the Chernóbyl nuclear stations, many countries decided to re-think their policy regarding nuclear energy. As you say, Italy decided after a referendum to ban nuclear energy. Nowadays, nuclear technology has progressed and it is much safer than 20 years ago. Chernobyl-type nuclear plants have been shut down. But there still a concern: nuclear waste. Nuclear energy is clean regarding carbon emissions, abundant regarding availability of resources  but there is still the issue of what to do with nuclear waste (though progress has been done). As with many problems, there is no white and black and trade-offs have to be evaluated. What is clear is that it is difficult to replace nuclear energy and decrease emissions (renewables are not an alternative since they are intermittent).

The energy of the future? There is not a single technology: we need them all, ie a portfolio of technologies. As I said it is difficult to replace nuclear energy (Italy does not produce nuclear energy but imports electricity from France which is mostly produced in nuclear plants), we need to make the most of renwables (wind, solar, photovoltaics, tidal energy), we need to develop technologies to capture the carbon produced by gas/coal/fuel-oil existing plants and we need to continue doing research to find new sources of clean and efficient energy (hydrogen?).

Question from students in the Pittsburgh area: What do you think is a proper agreement between countries to fight climate change and its role on the global economy?  Also, do you believe we need strict rules or general guidelines concerning climate change and the economy, and who would help enforce them?

Dr. Juan Delgado: Thanks for your interesting but difficult question: Such an agreement should be a scientifically sound, economically rational and politically pragmatic. Scientifically sound in the sense that it should be based on rigorous scientific conclusions. Economically rational in the sense that we should optimise resources in order to do more with less money. Politically pragmatic in the sense that has to provide sufficient incentives for countries to take part in the agreement. This equation is not easy. This agreement will affect the economy but the cost of not acting will be by far much higher than the costs of the necessary policies. As you point, enforcement is a problem: at the moment there are no enforcement mechanisms other than the public embarrassment of not having complied with the objectives. We should think of a system of sanctions for not compliance but for that we need strong international institutions governing the process. This is one of the problems of implementing a climate agreement: it relies basically on the good-will of individual countries.  You can find more info at http://www.bruegel.org/uploads/tx_btbbreugel/climate_book_0909_14_website.pdf


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