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Global Problems Global Solutions

Each academic year, the Quainton Center for Global Engagement places a special focus on some of the global challenges facing the world today, and the collective solutions needed to address them.

Traditionally held as a multi-day conference, the structure was altered during the 2020-2021 academic year to accommodate a more virtual environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, a focus was placed on global problems and global solutions throughout the month of April.

Themes were designated for each week of the month including: global diplomacy and democracy, access to education, a divided America, and advocacy and activism.

See below for a recap of the 2021 Global Problems + Global Solutions programming. If you are interested in accessing recordings of any of the events listed, please email

2021 Schedule of Events

Are There Solutions to Global Problems?

This event featured Ambassador Anthony C.E. Quainton, namesake of the Quainton Center for Global Engagement. Pulling from decades of experience in the U.S. Foreign Service, Ambassador Quainton discussed some of the major challenges facing diplomacy and democracy across the globe. 

Documentary Screening and Discussion

Watch the trailer of “Learning How to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl)." This documentary is available for purchase on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Vudu. 

A Reflection on Race & Ethnicity
This student-inspired panel discussion addressed personal accounts and experiences related to race and ethnicity. This event was held in partnership with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Polarization, Pandemic & Beyond: Managing Fear in an Absurdly Complicated World

This event featured Ted Anthony, director of Digital Innovation at the Associated Press. Mr. Anthony discussed his experiences traveling the world in times of turmoil and peace in an effort to both learn and grow in today’s complicated and divided society.

Elections, Social Movements and Society
This event featured Jessica Byrd, founding partner of Three Point Strategies, a dynamic consulting firm that works at the intersection of electoral politics and social justice in the United States.

    About Global Problems, Global Solutions

    Global Problems, Global Solutions is a free, annual conference. La Roche leads and co-sponsors the conference with local colleges, universities and nonprofits known for their global activism.

    The Global Problems, Global Solutions conferences discuss progress, plans and initiatives related to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Established in September 2015, the new sustainable development agenda seeks to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

      Dedicated to promoting justice and peace in a constantly changing global society, La Roche supports the U.N. in working to make these goals a reality in Pittsburgh and throughout the global marketplace.

      Previous Keynote Speakers

      •  Barry Kerzin, M.D., a personal physician of the Dalai Lama, the founder and president of the Altruism in Medicine Institute and the founder and chairman of the Human Values Institute in Japan
      • Jim Withers, M.D., medical director and founder of Operation Safety Net and the Street Medicine Institute
      • Richard V. Piacentini, Executive Director of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
      • Maureen A. Dunn, Division chief of the office of policy and strategy at U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 
      • Robert C. Gallo, MD, Co-Discoverer of HIV Causing AIDS 
      • Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill 
      • Pulitzer Prize Winner Sheryl WuDunn 
      • Deputy Secretary of USAID, Ambassador Donald Steinberg