"Transitioning back to living in the U.S. can be challenging but I knew I would have a support network in Pittsburgh."
After teaching in the suburbs of Pittsburgh for three years, Amiena finally gave in to the itch to explore the world and secured a position with the Japan Exchange and Teaching program at the Fujishima Senior High School in Fukui, Japan. She knew that would allow her to become part of a community, while teaching conversational English, writing, speech and debate. The only potential drawback was that Amiena didn’t speak Japanese. It turns out, that wasn’t such a barrier as she and the students met each other halfway, each learning more of the other’s language.
That experience is part of what drives her today in her work with the World Affairs Council. As the director of education programs, she designs and organizes nearly 100 global education events annually, including the Student Ambassador Program which connects area middle school students with Pittsburgh’s global community through local speakers and events that expose students to other cultures. “We have the opportunity to change people’s perspectives and open their minds to other cultures, and middle school is a time when young people are naturally curious.” Additionally, she connects local high school students to their peers internationally via videoconference events.
Amiena stays active outside of work, serving on the YWCA Young Leaders board, the PA Council for International Education, as a guest member of Environmental Charter School's board and leader of the Circle of Trust, which supports professional and personal growth for female mid-career leaders. She also completed the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2010 and 2013, and enjoys theatre and casual dining at restaurants such as BRGR in East Liberty, Toast Kitchen and Wine Bar in Shadyside, Siena Downtown, and D’s Six Pax and Dogz and Alma-Pan Latin Kitchen in Regent Square.