Green Energy Conference Draws International Leaders to Pittsburgh

Annual Conference Brings Opportunity for City through Partnership and Learning; Features Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and OPEC Governor

**Members of the press are offered complimentary tickets for admission.*

PITTSBURGH, PA — On November 10, 2010, Pittsburgh will welcome an international delegation of dignitaries and business leaders as the Pittsburgh Middle East Institute (PMEI) hosts its prestigious third annual conference.  A non-profit consortium of prominent local businesses and civic institutions, PMEI organizes its annual conference to promote Pittsburgh as a “City of the Future,” specifically through strategic engagement with emerging Middle East countries.

Titled, “Clean Power: Pittsburgh and the Middle East,” this year’s conference focuses on developing Pittsburgh’s leadership in green energy. To that end, PMEI is pleased to announce as its keynote business speaker Mr. Issa Shahin Al-Ghanim of Qatar Petroleum, who also serves as Governor for Qatar at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).  Mr. Al-Ghanim is the designated envoy of H.E. Al-Attiyah, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy of Qatar, on the occasion of PMEI’s conference.  Additional speakers include two ambassadors from the Sultanate of Oman, a country that has witnessed a remarkable cultural and economic transformation in the last 40 years and has recently entered into a free trade agreement with the U.S.  The conference culminates with remarks from Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State and a global leader on emerging markets.
“As always, this year’s speakers and guests are outstanding and reflect Pittsburgh’s growing reputation as a ‘City of the Future,’” said PMEI Founder and President Simin Yazdgerdi Curtis. “Given Pittsburgh’s emergence as a leader in green energy, we’re particularly delighted for our guests to hear and learn from Mr. Al-Ghanim, who has been instrumental in Qatar’s energy-based economic transformation.”

Conference topics will include panel discussions related to Qatar as the world leader in natural gas development, Pittsburgh’s emergence as a center of green technologies, the role of natural gas as clean power and the promise it holds for Pittsburgh’s future, and the practicalities of successfully doing business in the Middle East, among others.

While PMEI’s 2010 conference features speakers and guests from all over the Middle East, including Oman, Egypt, and Pakistan, each year highlights unique opportunities with one particular country.  This year’s conference brings together Pittsburgh’s top energy leaders and dignitaries to build a bridge between Pittsburgh and the country of Qatar, which has distinguished itself as a growing center of foreign investment and a world leader in clean energy.

“Pittsburgh is re-emerging as America’s leading center of energy-related solutions,” said Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and a panel moderator during the business conference.  “Like Qatar, we are blessed with vast natural gas resources. Through the upcoming Pittsburgh Middle East Institute conference, we can compare best practices in leveraging these resources to grow the economy and improve the quality of life in both our countries.”

Tofol Al Nasr, a former member of OPEC’s Economic Commission Board who currently writes for Qatar’s largest English-language newspaper, The Peninsula, agrees with Yablonsky on the importance of this year’s conference for both Pittsburgh and Qatar.
“Although geographically distant, Qatar and Pittsburgh are similar in their share of abundant natural gas reserves and unified in their dedication to meeting the world’s clean energy needs,” said Ms. Al Nasr.  “Joining forces with Pittsburgh’s leading experts, Qatar’s knowledge, experience, and proficiency in forward-looking green initiatives will flourish.”

PMEI’s third annual conference is sponsored in part by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and a host of U.S. and Pittsburgh-based companies, including Aquatech International, Burt Hill, CONSOL, Eaton, H.J. Heinz Company, K&L Gates, Mine Safety Appliances, Range Resources, UPMC, Westinghouse and others.   Past conference speakers have included world-renowned authors and commentators Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria.

Event Schedule

Business Conference: 7:30AM Registration; 8AM-12:00PM Conference at Fairmont Hotel (downtown Pittsburgh at 510 Market Street)

Madeleine Albright Lecture: 8:00PM Carnegie Music Hall (4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh)

For a complete list of speakers and event details or to attend, visit or email