The Polar Opposite Project, also known as POP, is a student-led organization that connects high schoolers (or students aged 13-18) around the world who have different beliefs, backgrounds, and identities so that they can have open-minded, respectful conversations. By participating in POP, students will get a chance to share their views, hear the perspectives of […]

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  1. The Polar Opposite Project

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    The Polar Opposite Project, also known as POP, is a student-led organization that connects high schoolers (or students aged 13-18) around the world who have different beliefs, backgrounds, and identities so that they can have open-minded, respectful conversations. By participating in POP, students will get a chance to share their views, hear the perspectives of others, and learn easily outside of the classroom, making them more cooperative, empathetic, and informed about global issues. POP aims to inspire teenagers to use their voices and work with other students from around the world to solve complex, worldwide problems.

    Any teenager who wants to participate in POP just has to fill out a short form that asks questions about their viewpoints and background, and they are matched with a group of three other “polar opposite” teenagers with whom they have very little in common. They are then free to message each other and start talking about whatever sparks their interest, from their personal beliefs to current events and everything in between.

    Already, POP is becoming a global phenomenon. POP has gained almost 200 participants from five continents and several different countries in just a few weeks, and there are no signs of that growth slowing anytime soon. And expansion beyond just discussion groups is coming in the near future; speaking events, larger discussion forums, and student-led projects fostering social change in their own communities are on the horizon. Anything is possible when POP has a powerful, important cause and passionate participants.

  2. International Free Expression Project

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    The International Free Expression Project is dedicated to building mass support around the world for free-expression rights but also seeks to attract international attention to Pittsburgh as a world-class center of creativity and innovation. The organization is forming alliances locally, nationally and internationally to:

    1) Build in Pittsburgh the world’s first iconic work of public art dedicated to free expression;
    2) Build in the blocklong pressroom of the vacant Post-Gazette building at the Point a “Marketplace of Ideas” full of food and drink and art and innovation — an explosion of expression;
    3) Invent immersive educational tools and activities that drive home the importance of free expression; and
    4) Commission artworks and other creative endeavors.

  3. Emma Schutzius

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    Hello! I am a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College where I majored in International Relations and minored in both Film/Media and Sociology. My focus is on global engagement, advocacy, and women's issues. I also have a passion for media creation, and enjoy looking for ways to incorporate those skills into other projects. I believe film is an integral and accessible platform for project exposure, issue education, and empathy-building, all dire needs within both international affairs and the non-profit sector. I'm currently working at the Global Switchboard non-profit in Pittsburgh as a fellow with PULSE.

  4. Katina White

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    Katina serves as the Group Sales Manager for Pittsburgh Public Theater and is passionate about sharing theater with all. She grew up in Florida before moving to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon University. She strives to make Pittsburgh Public Theater a truly public theater for all.

  5. Jessica Pickett

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    Jessica Pickett is the co-founder of Tomorrow Global, a boutique advisory firm dedicated to reducing health disparities worldwide. She brings fifteen years of experience bridging research and policy, including previous roles with the University of Pittsburgh, the Indian School of Business, and the Center for Global Development. Jessica holds a PhD in managerial science and applied economics from the University of Pennsylvania, where she explored the impact of uncertainty on household demand for primary care.

  6. Odeese M. Ghassa-Khalil

    Odeese M. Ghassa-Khalil

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    A passionate educator, a proud mother of two young men, a legal guardian to a beautiful young lady, and an aunt to almost 35 nieces and nephews, Odeese’s main goal in life is to inspire others, especially women, of all ages and all walks of life. After her arrival in the United States as a young adult, and while assimilating into the new society and tackling the responsibilities of a growing young family, Odeese earned an Associate degree in Civil Engineering Technology from the Community College of Allegheny County, a Bachelor’s Degree in Technology Education and a master’s degree in Education from California University of Pennsylvania graduating with highest honors. She also obtained two K-12, Pennsylvania teaching certificates in Technology Education and Arabic. Believing in her motto: “Different Can Also Be Very Beautiful,” Odeese strives to pay back to society through leading by example. Her excellent academic performance and outstanding service activities to students and professional communities helped her embark on a successful career as a faculty member at both of her alma maters, CCAC and Cal U, among other higher education institutions. She taught courses in engineering and Arabic language and culture, both in the traditional classroom and online. She also served as the academic program coordinator for the B.A. in Arabic program at California University of Pennsylvanian. While leading the development of the program, she also served as a point of contact, advised students, served on university-wide committees, and provided service to the Cal U community. A lifelong learner, Odeese is currently in the process of completing her Doctoral studies in Instructional Technology and Leadership at Duquesne University, while running her small business, Cross-Cultural, Career and Language Training, (C3LT) LLC, with a mission to promote cultural competency by offering tailored professional development solutions, language services, and cross-cultural training and workshops to diverse industries.

  7. Open Field

    Open Field

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    Open Field (formerly CameroonFDP) is a Pittsburgh-based 501c3 nonprofit organization with international reach. Since 2010, our global team has engaged more than 3,000 youth in educational soccer programming, mentoring relationships, travel abroad experiences, and cultural exchange in Cameroon, Africa and Pittsburgh, PA. Our innovative approach to Sport for Good empowers youth to be leaders in their community and gain skills to help them succeed on and off the field. Sport for Good, also known as ‘sport for development and peace’ or ‘sport-based youth development’, is a theory and practice for youth engagement that leverages the passion and character-building attributes inherent in sport to create positive outcomes in the lives of participants far beyond the playing surface.

    Youth who participate in our programming stay in school and out of trouble.
    • 750 active youth participants in the U.S. and Africa
    • 13% increase in confidence in leadership skills*
    • 25% increase in knowledge about life skills topics
    • 40% more likely to have done service projects in their community*
    • Two past Cameroon program participants employed as Community Leaders
    • One past Cameroon program participant playing collegiate soccer in the U.S.
    *Multiple year vs. first year participants

  8. Greenheart Exchange

    Greenheart Exchange (branch of Greenheart International)

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    Since 1985, Greenheart International has been a catalyst for global transformation through the facilitation of cultural exchange programs, eco-fair trade purchasing, personal development opportunities, volunteer service initiatives, and environmental advocacy projects. Our mission of connecting people and planet to create global leaders drives all that we do in each of our branches: Greenheart Travel, Greenheart Shop, and Greenheart Exchange. Greenheart Exchange is a nonprofit organization that offers cultural exchange programs in the United States for people all around the world.

  9. Julia Santucci

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    Julia M. Santucci is senior lecturer in intelligence studies and founding director of the Hesselbein Forum Leadership Program in International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She is also an affiliate scholar of the University’s Institute of Cyber Law, Policy, and Security and faculty advisor for a graduate student working group conducting research on human trafficking at the Ford Institute for Human Security. Ms. Santucci has over a decade of experience in national security and foreign policy positions. She served as a senior advisor in the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues from 2015 to 2017, where she worked to advance gender equality as a core U.S. foreign policy priority. This included work to integrate women’s issues into U.S. efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism globally. From 2012 to 2014, she served as director for Egypt at the National Security Council, providing advice to the President of the United States and the national security advisor on coordinating U.S. policy toward Egypt across the interagency. She worked for 10 years as a leadership analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, where she provided written assessments and oral briefings to the president, Cabinet members, and other senior officials to help inform their decision making around developments in the Middle East. Ms. Santucci holds a Master of Arts degree in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona, and she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.

  10. Hekima Place

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    Hekima Place is a home for orphaned and vulnerable girls in Kenya. Founded by a Pittsburgher, they have a board and office in both Pittsburgh and in Kenya. Both factions focus on the education and empowerment of all girls, and they are currently in the midst of construction of Hekima Hills, a primary school which will open in 2020.

  11. Peggy Morrison Outon

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    Peggy Morrison Outon is the founding Executive Director of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management and the Covestro Center for Community Engagement at Robert Morris University. Peggy has over three decades’ experience in the nonprofit sector, personally serving more than 800 nonprofit organizations. As a volunteer, she has served on 34 boards—8 as president, including chairing the founding national board of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. She also served as a founding member of the Drucker Foundation’s international training team. Her pay equity research, 74%: Exploring the Lives of Women in Nonprofits, has attracted national attention, resulting in more than seven million media impressions on the project, including an Op-Ed on April 2015 issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Her most recent research, What Now: How will the impending retirement of nonprofit leaders change the sector?, has been cited in national publications and intends to affect the thinking of community leaders as they plan.

    The Bayer Center has served as a national model, studied by capacity building organizations from Texas to Michigan. She has been named by a leading national publication for nonprofit management to The Nonprofit Times Top 50 for Power and Influence. She has also been named the Pearl of Excellence by the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania, honored as a Woman of Achievement by the Cribs for Kids/SIDS International annual dinner and March 22, 2011 was designated by the Pittsburgh City Council as Peggy Morrison Outon Day in Pittsburgh, in recognition of her commitment to the nonprofit sector.

  12. Pittsburgh Playback Theatre

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    Founded in 1986, Pittsburgh Playback Theatre is a community building company that explores and celebrates the human condition through improvisational storytelling. We collaborate with organizations, schools, community groups and businesses to help raise consciousness, while encouraging creative wisdom and action.

    A Playback Theatre event is described by co-creator, Jo Salas, in her book Improvising Real Life, as “an original form of theatrical improvisation in which people tell real events from their lives [and] watch them enacted on the spot…Any life experience may be told and enacted in Playback Theatre, from the mundane to the transcendent, the hilarious to the tragic–and some stories may be all of these.”

    Audience members voluntarily offer personal stories, then witness them come to life through improvised music, movement and dialogue. Playback follows no narrative agenda, but brings dramatic skills and humanity to embody on the stage the concerns and experiences of the audience. Each performance is structured uniquely in conversation with organizers to best suit the needs of the community and honor their truths.

  13. Dr. Jennifer Petrie/ David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership / Women and Ethical Leadership Development in Ghana

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    Jennifer Petrie is Assistant Director and Adjunct Faculty at the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership at the College of Business of Administration.  She was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Center for the past two years and received her Ed.D. from Ohio University in 2015.  At the University of Pittsburgh, she researches global competency, leadership, ethics education and African development policy.  In Ghana, Jennifer’s current project focuses on understanding challenges and opportunities for ethical women business leaders.  Jennifer also performs dance as a member of Azaguno, a multicultural African performing arts ensemble, for the past eight years.

  14. Bridget Mullins

    Bridget Mullins

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    Bridget’s current work at Amizade focuses on facilitating community-driven, experiential learning programs in partnership with local organizations around the world dedicated to seeking sustainable solutions to social injustices. She enjoys experimenting with simple social technologies and group interaction structures to design engaging and effective processes for reflection, dialogue, strategic planning, and collaborative learning.

    Bridget is also an actor and conductor with Pittsburgh Playback Theatre, a community building company that explores and celebrates the human condition through improvisational storytelling.

    She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame in International Peace Studies and Music Performance and her M.A. in Conflict Transformation from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.

    What’s got Bridget’s attention these days? Liberating Structures; applied improvisation; human-centered design; arts-based community-led transformation; strengthening collaborative muscles in complex situations; equity and inclusion in global education.

  15. Elena Facchini

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    Elena has just returned to Pittsburgh, her hometown, after many years working abroad in Africa and Europe, mostly in public health, international development, sustainability, education, and social enterprise. She enjoys exploring cultures and languages, sharing ideas and knowledge, and is passionate about the potential of collaboration across borders, sectors, cultures (and other barriers, real or imagined) to bring about an improved quality of life and healthier, happier, more prosperous people and planet.

    She is currently consulting remotely part-time and volunteering, but is seeking her next challenge here in Pittsburgh. In her spare time, she is enjoying being back with family and old friends, and tries to hike, read, see movies and live music, workout, try new restaurants and recipes, and practice her photography skills as often as possible.

    Please contact me via LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elena-facchini-8841266/

    Summary of Skills and Background: Partnerships, Business Development, Public Health, Non-profits, Capacity Building, Grant-Making, Social Enterprises, People-centered Management, Sustainable/Inclusive Business Practices, Adaptable, Agile problem solving in diverse and challenging environments

    Education: Master of Public Health (MPH) – Health Promotion, Post-Graduate Diploma (PGDip) – Global Business, Bachelor of Science (BS) – Pyschology/Sociology.

    Languages: English, German, Italian, French; Basic Spanish and Swahili.

  16. Ivonne Smith-Tapia

    Ivonne Smith-Tapia

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    Ivonne Smith-Tapia is a Cultural Anthropologist and Social Worker with a certificate in Human Services Management who works providing training and technical assistance to Family Support Centers at the Office of Child Development, University of Pittsburgh.

    Ivonne worked more than a decade with the Colombian government, Think Tanks, and international non-profits promoting community development, education, human rights, and leadership in diverse rural and urban communities.  She moved to the United States in 2012 and to Pittsburgh in 2013.  While in Pittsburgh, she has worked and volunteered in organizations where she contributed to advance knowledge and create positive changes within vulnerable communities including immigrants and refugees.  During this time, she has worked with different immigrant and refugee communities and provided trainings to organizations such as the Latino Family Center, SHIM Family Center, the Bhutanese Community Association, and Casa San Jose.

    Ivonne has a passion for exploring cultures and ways in which culture influences parenting, parents’ educational expectations of their children, leadership, and social participation. This passion has driven her to share her knowledge and experiences to motivate others to recognize the importance of cultural diversity as well as to create positive and productive relationships with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.    She is also an active member of different county initiatives in which she advocates for equal rights and culturally relevant opportunities and services for immigrants and refugees in Allegheny County.

  17. Elisabeth Udyawar

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    Elisabeth is well versed in answering why she loves Pittsburgh. That is because as a SoCal native, it’s the first question always asked of her when meeting someone new: “Why are you here??” She holds an MA from George Washington University and a BA from University of California, Riverside in English Literature with a specialization in Postcolonial Literature from South Asia. After graduating from GWU, she moved to Pittsburgh due to two important factors: 1) its high volume of universities and nonprofits per capita and 2) it was where her heart already resided with her husband.

    Her six plus years of residence in Pittsburgh has been spent working for Carnegie Mellon University in various roles in the College of Engineering. Throughout her tenure at CMU, she has focused on aiding professors with administrative support for their innovative research in climate and manufacturing at both the local and global levels. Her professional skills include: project management, grants administration, event planning, Oracle systems, MailChimp, and html coding. In 2018, she also took the opportunity to use her academic training to begin teaching Comp 101 at Allegheny Community College and has specifically designed her syllabi to focus on women authors with 70% of her works represented by minority authors as well. In her creative pursuits, Elisabeth has begun a series of personal essays related to her journey through sobriety and hopes to start a project highlighting the stories of women’s everyday #resistance through the ages.

    Through The Global Switchboard, Elisabeth hopes to find new volunteer opportunities and to connect others with her vast academic network.

  18. Surgicorps

    Surgicorps International

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    Surgicorps International is a non-profit organization located in Glenshaw, PA whose mission is to provide free surgical and medical services to people in need around the world. Surgicorps was founded in 1994 by Jack Demos, a plastic surgeon, and has traveled to 22 countries providing over 5,500 free surgeries. Teams are comprised of both medical and non-medical volunteers who pay 100% of their trip expenses.

    “Alone we can do so little. Together, we can do so much.”  ~Helen Keller

     

  19. Coffee Arabica Foundation for Education (CAFE)

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    Coffee Arabica Foundation for Education is a 501 (C) (3) charitable organization whose mission is to prevent youth delinquency and youth violence in Honduras through education and employment training.  Its goal is to provide scholarships to impoverished rural Honduran children so that they may receive education from 7th to 12th grade.  Currently, CAFE sponsors multiple students from the coffee farm areas of the mountain chain, El Merendon, Honduras, Central America. CAFE’s scholarship program has benefited dozens of children with education and has facilitated the high school graduation of these students. CAFE is supported by the sales of coffee produced in El Merendon communities and by private donations.

  20. Jennifer Novelli

    Jennifer Novelli

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    Jennifer is the Development Manager at Global Links, a Pittsburgh based medical relief and development organization, where she leads the fundraising and communication team. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of Building New Hope from January of 2015- 2019. In January 2019, Jennifer returned to Global Links where she had previously worked for ten years. Jennifer also previously worked in the field of international education for over six years at the University of Pittsburgh Study Abroad Office.

    Jennifer received her Master of Public and International Affairs in International Development with a focus in environmental sustainability in 2003 from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA).  

    She also holds a B.A. from Juniata College in Anthropology and International Studies. Jennifer received a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany in 1995/1996; and studied alongside German students at Phillips-Universität Marburg, Germany in 1993/1994 during her junior year.

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