Essential Pittsburgh
4:13 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Are US-Russian Relations Dependent on Those in Power?

Credit Pete Souza / Whitehouse Photography

What does President Obama's refusal to meet with President Putin during his recent European trip say about U.S.-Russian relations?

Angela Stent is a former adviser on Russia under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Her new book,The Limits of Partnership: US-Russia Relations in the 21st Century, explores the evolution of U.S. - Russian relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Stent says the last straw in the relations between the two countries was when President Putin granted whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum in Russia. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:15 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Helping the LGBTQ Communities in Honduras

Eric Vázquez, a PhD Candidate at Carnegie Mellon University
Credit Eric Vázquez

Honduras is one of the world’s deadliest countries, overrun by gangs and violence.

Women, journalists, lawyers and members of the LGBTQ community have been singled out as victims.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:10 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Turning Personal Passion into Global Service

Tim Wesley and Drew Harvey
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Two Pittsburgh residents, Tim Wesley and Drew Harvey work with the Nyadire Connection to provide medical help in Africa.

Tim Wesley is a volunteer at the Nyadire Connection and Drew Harvey is the chairman of the Nyadire Connection.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:10 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Overcoming Unique Challenges With Doctors Without Borders

Two children look out across the Tacloban slum, which was badly damaged by typhoon Haiyan.
Sophie-Jane Madden MSF

Last November, Typhoon Haiyan, a powerful tropical cyclone devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines.

When cataclysmic events such as this happen, many organizations are dispatched to these areas to provide medical treatment and aid.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders is one such group providing help. Brett Davis, an aid worker for Doctors Without Borders recently returned from the Philippines.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:04 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Pittsburgh-Based Thread Recycles Bottles and Brings Jobs to Haiti

Jenna Knapp pulls thread from a spool. The mint green thread is made from recycled plastic bottles from Haiti. Green plastic bottles create green fibers that can only be dyed darker colors. Clear plastic bottles creates thread that can be dyed any color.
Credit Ashley Murray / Allegheny Front

When local photographer Ian Rosenberger saw garbage piled in the street and thrown into canals untouched by a stretched public works system, he was moved to do more than take photos.

He jotted in his journal how it would be good to turn Haiti’s trash into money.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:00 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

A Holistic Approach to Global Health and Development

Students working with residents during the medical portion of the brigade
Credit Nicole W. Huang / Global Brigade

Many students flock to the warmer climes of Florida for a week of partying on spring break.

In contrast, many other students use their vacation to help others around the world. Two of those students are Carnegie Mellon sophomore Nicole Huang, and senior Nick Zuniga who volunteer with Global Brigades a global health and development movement.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:16 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Pitt Ukrainian Scholar Explains Varied Responses to Russian Conflict

Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh Adriana Helbig is one of many Pittsburgh residents with Ukrainian heritage.

Ethnomusicologist and anthropologist Adriana Helbig is one of many Pittsburgh residents with Ukrainian heritage. She travels to Kiev each year for family, and for work as an assistant professor of music and a faculty member in Cultural Studies, Women's Studies, Global Studies, and the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Helbig shared insight on Ukraine's standoff with Russia including why nations in the European Union are struggling to help Ukraine with this conflict.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:44 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

2 States for 2 Peoples: A Local Town Hall on a 2 State Solution for Israel & Palestine

Mattan Peretz and Obada Shtaya, grassroots activists with the OneVoice Movement
Credit Shania Low / OneVoice Movement

On Monday night, the Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh hosts a town hall meeting in support of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Territory.

The meeting is part of J Street’s 2 Campaign, a nationwide effort to localize conversations of a two state resolution.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:20 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Filming and Reporting in a War Zone

What does it take to film and report in a war zone?
Credit Justin Merriman /

Kalpana Biswas, filmmaker and Board Chairperson of Women in Film and Media Pittsburgh, decided to make a film about women and children in Afghanistan, but she had no experience when it came to filming in an area of conflict.

This led her to ask journalists in the Pittsburgh area for advice on how to prepare. One of the major questions that she asked was, “How do I go through filming without endangering myself?”

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:16 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

America's Role in Global Conflicts

President Obama made his case, Tuesday night for a punitive strike against the Syrian government, if diplomatic efforts fail.
Credit Lawrence Jackson /

Last night the President made his case for retaliation in Syria, in response to the chemical attack on August 21st, in the suburbs of Damascus.

Although he stated that he was willing to try diplomacy one last time, President Obama said Bashar Assad’s act of terrorism should not go unanswered.

“The President made a strong case and he laid out his reasons, but I don’t think that it swayed many people despite the fact that he made the best case that he possibly could,” says Dr. Taylor Seybolt, Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:52 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

The Crisis in Syria, from a Pittsburgh Perspective

A hospital in Syria after being targeted by a government air strike.
Credit Syrian American Medical Society / Facebook

Dr. Basel Termanini, Syrian American Medical Society Pittsburgh Chapter President, was born and grew up in Aleppo, Syria. Dr. Termanini has lived in Pittsburgh for 16 years and has visited his home country almost every summer with his family.

During his most recent visits, he says security and government corruption have been worse than ever before. Dr. Termanini feels much more comfortable in areas that are not controlled by the Syrian government. One of the biggest problems Syrian citizens face is government issued air strikes at medical facilities.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:33 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Senator Casey Says US Needs To Take Action in Syria

PA US Senator Bob Casey talks about what actions America should take in Syria
Credit Senator Bob Casey

As classified congressional briefings continue today, Pennsylvania US Senator Bob Casey says he has no doubt that Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against Syrian citizens.

Casey is a member of the National Security Working Group and thinks the United States needs to take an aggressive approach with Assad, by targeting the assets which allow Syria to maintain its military superiority in the region.

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