Mark Hetfield, senior vice president for programs and policy at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, said his group has settled 117 refugees from Bhutan this year and expects to double the number in 2009. HIAS is focusing its Bhutanese program on Charlotte, N.C.; Springfield, Mass.; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio. Some will likely be resettled in Pittsburgh as well.
"There is no well-established Bhutanese populations in the U.S., so it is better to put them in places where housing is affordable and they could have the opportunity to buy a house in a few years," he said.
Rust Belt cities would seem to be good places to settle refugees. The Bhutanese Diaspora should benefit from the increasing connectivity between Cleveburgh and Columbus. Of course, Pittsburgh and Charlotte are practically kissing cousins. According to the article, we should expect the arrival of about 60,000 Bhutanese over the next few years. This is great news for Cleveburgh.
Another international connection that might benefit Pittsburgh is with Ukraine:
The wife of Ukrainian President Victor Yuschenko said she hopes to develop partnerships between UPMC and Ukrainian hospitals, where cancer is a major concern even 22 years after the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear-power plant in northern Ukraine. In addition to using the development of UPMC's new Children's Hospital as a model for hospitals in her country, she said she'd like to see American and Ukrainian doctors cooperating, particularly in areas of cancer research.
Ukraine's geopolitical importance is on the upswing with the growing tensions between Russia and the West. There is great growth potential but the country is torn between its large population of Russophiles and desire to be a bigger part of the European Union economy. Pittsburgh should seek relationships with developing economies, finding new markets for its businesses.