Born and raised in Argentina, Angélica Ocampo became president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh in 2015. She previously ran the NYC-based organization Worldfund, which supports teacher development in Mexico and Brazil. Deeply committed to public policy, social issues and the nonprofit sector, Ocampo is co-founder of the Argentine think tank Grupo Sophia.
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
The All for All Summit on September 13, a daylong conversation on the role of immigrants in entrepreneurship and immigrant inclusion in politics, the economy and the arts. A great lineup of speakers.
The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts which starts on September 21 and will feature 30 international companies and artists from 20 different countries. Few cities have such a phenomenal event — not to be missed.
Best part of your job?
Meeting a variety of people doing amazing work in Pittsburgh and around the country in politics, international affairs, business and environmental issues. I can’t count how many “jaw-dropping,” larger-than-life people I have met in the two-and-a-half years I have been in this job. I am also very lucky to work with a small group of people that I really like and respect.
What is your long-term mission for the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh?
Our mission is to make the community we serve more globally minded, engaged and involved in the world we live in. I would like to see the number of people we serve through our programs grow and reach more people in Pittsburgh, particularly the young. I firmly believe that the more we learn about the world, the more we understand that there is much more that unites us than separates us.
What significant differences and similarities have you experienced working in your field and living in New York, Buenos Aires and Pittsburgh?
NYC and Buenos Aires share a fast, even chaotic pace that is like electricity; it can light you up but it can also burn you out. One of Pittsburgh’s greatest aspects is that you have access to people, you can connect and most of all, you can build community.
What book is on your nightstand or in your e-reader right now?
“The Teeth of the Comb & Other Stories” by Osama Alomar (a Syrian writer who lives in Pittsburgh).
Favorite Pittsburgh brewery?
Brew Gentlemen in Braddock.
What song in your playlist is on endless repeat?
“Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson.
Who should be the unofficial Mayor of Pittsburgh?
Bridge you love to walk or bike over?
31st Street Bridge. I love the elegant open design, the old-fashioned street lights and the views of the river and the city skyline.
Do you have particular issues that you rally around?
We like to cover a broad spectrum of topics including politics, science, arts, finance and technology. The value we add is bringing an international perspective and an opportunity for people to hear directly from experts in all of these fields in a way that gives them more depth and nuance than the regular media coverage.
From a personal standpoint, I am fascinated by the current stage of space exploration and the possibility of becoming a multi-planetary species.
Where do you always take out-of-town visitors?
What is the biggest challenge you’ll face this week?
Trying to secure a couple of amazing speakers that we have invited to speak in Pittsburgh. The challenge in getting a speaker is finding the delicate balance between being persistent and not coming across as pushy.
What would you like your legacy in Pittsburgh to be?
To see even one (but hopefully many) of our high school students become leaders in the community and that they see the programs they received at the Council as a turning point in who they have become.
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