Global Engagement Initiatives


The University of Pittsburgh is committed to fostering in students, faculty, and staff a global mindset: a critical analysis of, and an engagement with, interdependent global systems and legacies and their implications for people’s lives and the earth’s sustainability.

Doing so encourages individuals to evaluate—in a non-hierarchical manner—their own knowledge and experiences through those of others and determine the value of applying diverse viewpoints when completing tasks, addressing challenges, or communicating intentions. The Pitt community should 1) become informed, open-minded, responsible, and attentive to diversity across the spectrum of differences; 2) seek to understand how one’s actions affect both local and global communities; and 3) address the world’s most pressing and enduring issues collaboratively and equitably. As such, we aspire to convene the brightest and most creative minds both inside and outside of the University to address global challenges and promote a life of dignity, respect and opportunity for all with partners worldwide. By engaging in research, policy debates, partnerships, and the study of language and culture, we also open the door to critical global learning and engagement (via community-university collaborations and partnerships) for students, faculty, and staff. Based on broad feedback, this global plan proposes objectives which all schools, units and campuses of the University should advance as part of their broader strategic priorities.

Excerpt from A Global Plan for Pitt 2025. See the complete plan here.


The University of Pittsburgh is committed to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations which inspire interdisciplinary teaching, cutting-edge research, impactful partnerships, and are in direct alignment with Pitt’s commitment to social responsibility, economic development, community engagement, and sustainability.

The University of Pittsburgh's Office of Sustainability is an innovative and impactful office with an extremely broad and impressive reach. Dr. Aurora Sharrard is the Executive Director of Sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh, leading Pitt’s Office of Sustainability, cross-departmental sustainability staff, and University-wide sustainability strategy, activities, policies, collaborations, and partnerships. 

The Pitt Sustainability Plan guides these efforts with 61 sustainability goals at the intersection of equity, environment, and economics.  Building on past progress and successes, Dr. Sharrard and her colleagues work daily across the spectrum of sustainability, including pursing carbon neutrality by 2037 as part of the Pitt Climate Action Plan, incorporating sustainability into the curriculum, providing access and opportunity to all, transparently communicating progress, and embedding a culture of sustainability into the University of Pittsburgh so that it’s a sustainability leader in every scale, from campus to international.

Established in 2018, the Pitt Sustainability Plan identifies 15 impact areas that help focus the University’s 60+ sustainability goals and key performance indicators for tracking progress over time. These impact areas are organized into 3 themes:

STEWARDSHIP: Pitt will care for both the built and the natural environment to ensure responsible and efficient resource management; we will continually strive to minimize the environmental impact of our operations.

EXPLORATION: Through the integration of a multidisciplinary curriculum, groundbreaking research, and social engagement, Pitt will educate every member of our community, support our leaders, and promote innovation.

COMMUNITY & CULTURE: Pitt will continue to strengthen its campus and communities by creating a culture of shared responsibility for our impact on surrounding communities, the region, and the world.

For more information on Pitt's commitment to sustainability,

Global interinstitutional partnerships and their numerous forms of collaboration are critical to a sustainable Pitt as the University strives to: Embrace the World, Engage in Research of Impact, Advance Educational Excellence, Build Foundational Strength, Promote Diversity and Inclusion, and Strengthen Communities.

Figure 1: Impact Areas: Where the needs of Pitt, our community, and the World converge


In order to strategically utilize international partnerships, PittGlobal compared the SDGs with Pitt Areas of Excellence and the needs of the city of Pittsburgh and its region. These topics were analyzed and areas showing the greatest convergence and potential for growth have been defined as Impact Areas (IA). Special attention and additional support may be given to partnerships supporting the most timely Impact Areas. Additionally, community groups around these impact areas will be developed under the Global Partnership Incubator.

Just as the needs of the world are ever-changing, the focused Impact Area(s) may grow and change based on the most pressing needs of the world.

Pitt's Featured 2021-2025 Impact Area: Health and Well-Being


For the 2021-2025 operational strategy, Pitt Global will focus particularly on the Impact Area of Health & Well-Being. It is critical to note that Impact Areas are not limited to a singular school or department. They incorporate the important work of countless areas of study including not only the physical sciences, but the humanities, philosophy, ethics, politics, education, law, business, cultural studies, and more. Now more than ever, the world is understanding the great impact that these many areas of study have on the health and well-being of our society.

Health & Well-Being: Whether focusing on science, business, bioethics, the history of public health, or access to health systems across the world, countless researchers and academics across disciplines contribute to the study and advancement of research, education, and programs focusing on global health and wellness. The topic of health and well-being reaches far beyond medicine.

While not new, these past few years have truly shone a light on the wide array of factors that play a critical role in one’s mental, physical, social, spiritual, and economic well-being. From racial justice and equity to access to the arts, there are countless ways in which one’s health and well-being are supported. Pitt’s many reputable schools provide rich opportunities for collaboration across disciplines that link the sciences and humanities in their joint mission to improve the lives and well-being of all.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is world renowned and at the cutting edge of medical research. Pitt’s ongoing studies of sickle cell disease research, organ transplantation, and vaccine research (most recently focusing on SARS-CoV-2) are only a few of the wide-ranging health initiatives of the University of Pittsburgh’s prestigious school. The University’s close collaboration with the world renowned UPMC health system offers countless opportunities for shared research, visibility, and opportunities for access to leading medical research and technology.

In addition to physical health, this Impact Area includes critical aspects of and equitable access to social, economic, environmental, and economic well-being. In today’s complex world, major systemic inequities and disparities can be seen between peoples’ access to resources, education, and opportunities for success and well-being. It is a core mission of Pitt Global to ensure equity for all populations, so that a sense of well-being can be attained by all. Whether collaborating on topics from carbon neutrality to access to physical and mental health care, countless members of the University of Pittsburgh community work towards the greater mission: to establish an inclusive and multi-layered network of community, corporate, and university partners committed to addressing critical local and global issues through focused, multi-dimensional engagement and collaboration in research, teaching, and service on a global stage. 


Place-Based Universities: How Universities play a role in supporting their communities

Pitt is proud of its ongoing collaboration with Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK regarding place-based universities and how universities can positively impact, support, and strengthen their communities through collaboration with city officials, local NGOs, and community engagement programs. Both Newcastle and the city of Pittsburgh face similar challenges as post-industrial cities undergoing reinvention - which, while benefiting a city as a whole, does have disproportionate effects on underrepresented and at-risk communities.

This exciting partnership between our universities and our cities has proven to be quite fruitful thus far and has featured a 2021 and 2022 place-based virtual conference. The 2022 conference titled “Universities: How can we take a people-centered approach to engage with our places?” will explore and share best practices on how universities advance place-based approaches through community and student engagement and how to measure impact and demonstrate accountability to our communities and stakeholders. The conference will focus on the themes of sustainability, health, culture and cities and places and will draw upon the role universities play in their place, looking at a range of international contexts and approaches to impact and evaluation.

In addition to the place-based initiatives, Pitt and Newcastle engage in additional collaborations ranging from healthy aging to children's literature and beyond.

Business of Humanity® Project:

The Business of Humanity® Project seeks to improve strategic decision making in organizations.

Using case studies and actual business examples drawn from firms studied in Brazil, China, Czech Republic, India, Russia and the U.S. the project explores the proposition that: Strategic decision making that employs criteria falling under the rubric of "humanity" - in its two dimensions of "humaneness" and "humankind" - leads to superior economic performance.

The project documents the management processes and strategic perspectives of companies that practice the Business of Humanity® to promote awareness among managers and academics, to motivate discussion, to examine the economic consequences, and to demonstrate how to practice the Business of Humanity®.

There are three bases and motivations for the project:

  • The short- and long-term economic and strategic advantages of "humaneness" in managerial decision making. Humaneness in business decision making focuses on criteria and programs related to safety, quality, diversity, environmental sustainability, gender equality, social sustainability, integrity, ergonomics and good design.
  • The imperative of recognizing "humankind" in innovating strategy. Humankind in business decision making recognizes the global context of decision making and draws attention to the needs and potential of markets - at the "bottom of the pyramid" - with low per capita incomes.
  • The inadequacy and potential dysfunctionality of accounting profits as a guide for managerial decision making, especially when:
    • facing crises,
    • innovating strategy, and
    • confronting wicked problems.

Business of Humanity® Project's Tuvar Health & Wellness Center Continues Operations During COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, the ability to manage the pandemic in remote parts of our inter-connected world presents an urgent challenge. To help address this challenge, the Business of Humanity® Project (BoH) at the University of Pittsburgh, led by the Katz Graduate School of Business and the Swanson School of Engineering, has been working with its partners at the Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation (ATNF), Safe World Rural Services (SRS), and Narottam Lal Bhai Rural Development Fund (NLRDF) to assist its Tuvar Health & Wellness Center located in Gujarat, India to continue to operate under new and ever-changing circumstances during this pandemic.

In accordance with the lockdown guidelines issued by the Government of India, the THWC reopened on April 20th, 2020 and has been continuing to provide health care services to rural communities in and around Tuvar. The details outlined by ATNF demonstrate the unique challenges that COVID-19 are presenting to the health care workers at THWC and the steps they are taking so that individuals in rural and remote areas are provided with quality care.

For additional information on this exciting global initiative, visit the complete Business of Humanity® website at