Pitt People Changing the World
Jennifer Murtazashvili, an assistant professor in Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and an affiliated faculty member of the University's Center for Russian and East European Studies, has been elected to the executive board of the Central Eurasian Studies Society, effective in November.
Lauren Perez, a PhD candidate in political science, has been offered a four-year post-doctoral position at the University of Chicago through the highly competitive Harper-Schmidt Fellowship Program. Jonathan Sherry, a PhD candidate in history, has won a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the Council for European Studies, the most prestigious European Studies organization in the United States.
Pitt's history department has awarded its William Stanton Prize for the best honors thesis in history written in the 2015-16 academic year to Halak Mehta for her thesis on Kazakhstan's use of its culture and history. Mehta was mentored and supervised by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Visiting Professor Katja Wezel. One of the few DAAD visiting professors at a U.S. university, Wezel is "a great example of how Pitt's top-level international scholarly connections enrich undergraduate education," said history department chair Lara Putnam.
A team of Pitt law students won the fifth annual LLM International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition, held April 7-8, 2016 at American University's Washington College of Law. The team included Gustavo Arrobo (Ecuador), Nevena Jevremovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Glory Ohaekwusi (Nigeria), and James Ochieng (Kenya). Team advisor Ronald Brand, academic director of Pitt's Center for International Legal Education, said the moot competition involved a sophisticated investor-state arbitration that required significant research, writing, and preparation for the oral argument.
Nuno Themudo, an associate professor in Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, won The American Review of Public Administration Best Article Award from the American Political Science Association in 2015.
One of two annual Milan Hodža Awards of Honor was presented in 2015 to Martin Votruba, head of Pitt's Slovak Studies Program, “for the advancement of knowledge of Slovak history and culture in the Slavic department at the University of Pittsburgh and for his support to the preservation of Slovak culture in the awareness of Slovak-Americans and public at large,” according to the award citation. Pitt is the only university in the United States where students can enroll in Slovak language and culture classes and receive a minor in Slovak studies.
Pitt economics professor Thomas G. Rawski has been named as one of the United States' Top 20 China Experts by the China Foreign Affairs University, the leading diplomatic school in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The university emphasizd Rawski's deep understanding of the PRC, gained through first-hand research there.
James Cook, associate director of Pitt's Asian Studies Center, has been named as a Distinguished Overseas Educator by China's Ministry of Education. His work brings together Chinese and U.S. researchers to solve critical environmental and public health issues in northwestern China. Cook has completed several grants sponsored by the United States' National Science Foundation and the China Medical Board in cooperation with the Center for Historical Environment and Socioeconomic Development of Northwest China and the Center for Experimental Economics Education at Shaanxi Normal University.
Pitt’s University Center for International Studies awarded its 2014-15 Sheth International Achievement Awards to Pitt engineering professor Minking Chyu and Asha Williams (GSPIA ’07), a social-protection consultant at the World Bank in Washington, DC. Chyu, winner in the Sheth Awards’ faculty category, was honored for furthering international education. He is the inaugural dean of the Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute, an engineering-education partnership between the two schools that will enroll its first students in fall 2015. Williams was honored in the Sheth Awards’ alumni category for her social-protection and social-development work, primarily in the eastern Caribbean’s small island states.
While participating in an European Union-funded conference in Turkey in spring 2014, Professor Louise Comfort of Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) made a reconnaissance visit to the site of a huge mining fire in Soma, in Western Turkey. A world-renowned expert on disaster management and response, Comfort (with the help of a GSPIA alumnus as research assistant and translator) conducted interviews with local and national personnel. At the request of the Turkish government, Comfort served on the officlal team that reviewed the national disaster plan for Turkey to make recommendations for redesign.
B. Guy Peters received an honorary doctorate—his fourth—from Belgium's Katholieke Universiteit in 2015. During the conferring ceremony, Peters was described as "the most eminent public administration scholar of our time" and an "expert in American government, a leading comparativist, a much-read interpretor and creator of administrative paradigms, and a prolific author of profound research and engaging prose." Peters, the Maurice Falk Professor of American Governance in Pitt's Department of Political Science, has written and edited more than 70 books; he also has written numerous articles and founded several leading journals.