FOR 53 YEARS, COMMUNITY CHAMPION OPENS HIS HOME TO INTERNATIONAL LEADERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
WASHINGTON, DC — On Friday, May 1, Global Ties U.S. honored Herb Soltman, a volunteer with GlobalPittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the Lorinne Emery Award for Volunteer Service. The award recognizes a community-based volunteer who demonstrates an enduring dedication to building international understanding as well as an outstanding volunteer spirit. As a home hospitality volunteer for more than 50 years, Mr. Soltman has hosted an estimated 400 international exchange participants from over 70 countries for dinner and other activities, such as attending Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games.
Mr. Soltman opens up his home to international visitors so that he can bring together international guests and local friends. Gail Shrott, Acting Executive Director of GlobalPittsburgh said, “Herb is the embodiment of a community champion and citizen diplomat.” As Herb himself put it, he has “literally had a world of experiences” in his time volunteering with GlobalPittsburgh. Reflecting on his service, Herb said that “fifty-three years of volunteering have shown me that people are people, regardless of where they are from. They all have the same desires, fears, and ambitions.”
The profound positive impact Mr. Soltman and his family have on building international understanding is clear from the international leaders who experience his hospitality first hand. In 2009, when Japanese International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participant Mr. Masahide Tanaka suffered minor injuries at a Pittsburgh Pirates ballgame attempting to catch a baseball hit by Chicago Cubs’ player Kosuke Fukudome, Herb saved the day. He leveraged his baseball contacts to secure a ball signed by Mr. Fukudome from a scout for the Cubs. That ball was shipped to Mr. Tanaka in Japan. Mr. Soltman no doubt cemented a treasured memory of the kindness of an American volunteer for Mr. Tanaka.
Matthew Asada, Vice President of the American Foreign Service Association, said, “His stories left me impressed and wanting to have a visit with Herb himself, perhaps at his home or perhaps on one of his tours of Pittsburgh.”
Global Ties U.S. President Jennifer Clinton, Ph.D., said, “Herb Soltman is a consummate citizen diplomat. The one-on-one connections he has made throughout his service as a volunteer have shattered stereotypes and helped build the relationships that lead us to a more peaceful and prosperous world. It is thanks to individuals like Herb, who selflessly donate their time, talent, and treasure, that we are able to welcome visitors to our communities and show them who Americans truly are. We are honored and privileged to recognize him with the 2015 Lorinne Emery Award for Volunteer Service.”
Mr. Soltman hosts these international leaders as part of their experience through the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), its premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country first hand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts. Global Ties U.S. is the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Department of State in implementing the IVLP, and GlobalPittsburgh, a member of Global Ties U.S., conducts the program locally in Pittsburgh.