West Virginia University has teamed with a Pittsburgh-based non-profit group to secure a $68,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to engage international companies, organizations and individuals in a variety of initiatives that will bolster economic development in West Virginia.

WVU and GlobalPittsburgh are combining efforts to bring new opportunities to West Virginia by hosting increased numbers of international visitors to the region. The goal is to increase international awareness and student recruitment, as well as active partnerships that might lead to increased regional economic development.

WVU will participate in the partnership by providing staff support to coordinate international visitors for the University and its partners in academic, cultural and economic endeavors. The grant will enable better integration among University units and outreach to various resources in the region.

Michael Wilhelm, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars at WVU said the grant will allow WVU to have a dedicated staff member in place to help with the planning and logistics of international visitors when they are coming to campus.

The WVU Office of Research and Economic Development, the WVU Office of International Students and Scholars and the WVU Office of International Programs are heading plans for WVU’s participation. Increased connections will enhance current efforts to promote international education and cultural exchange; advance research and service by integrating global citizenry; and generate economic activity through worldwide partnerships.

GlobalPittsburgh and WVU welcome volunteers and hosts to act as dinner hosts, tour guides, home stay hosts and drivers for visiting delegations and individuals. WVU’s Office of International Students and Scholars can be reached at 304-293-3519.

“I have always felt that the best way for prospective students or educational partners to be sure that WVU is the right university is for them to actually see Morgantown first hand, and this grant greatly increases our capacity to make these visits happen on a regular basis,” Wilhelm said.

GlobalPittsburgh chairman and president Roger Cranville said the Benedum Foundation grant, “allows us to pursue one of our main goals, which is to expand the scope of our activities at GlobalPittsburgh to encompass the larger region that includes West Virginia?We look forward to growing the excellent partnership that already has formed with WVU.”

Curt Peterson, WVU vice president of Research and Economic Development, said, “the partnership is consistent with the new trends promoting regional economic development. Increased connectivity between WVU, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, along with business diversity efforts and the area’s similar economic assets make this type of coordination an imperative.”

In order to help fund WVU’s participation in Global Pittsburgh’s work, about three quarters of the Benedum grant has been transferred to WVU, Cranville said.

For more than 50 years, GlobalPittsburgh has forged cultural, educational and business relationships between the Greater Pittsburgh Region and the global community through citizen diplomacy – connecting people and institutions in the region with audiences around the world through a wide range of hosting, training, networking, educational and outreach programs.

Global Pittsburgh engages international delegations, groups and individuals by creating itineraries and facilitating introductions through the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and other international organizations in the fields of energy & environment, life sciences & medicine, education, business & technology, clean/green design, advanced manufacturing, arts & culture, government & finance, social services & law and other areas.

For more information about Global Pittsburgh programs, visit www.GlobalPittsburgh.org or call 412-392-4513 or e mail info@pciv.org.


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