I drove into Pittsburgh late last night. It’s a familiar drive. I grew up in nearby Altoona and frequently made the trip into the Steel City for volleyball tournaments and math contests.
But as I drove in this time, everything seemed – well, a bit different. A little shinier and new. The Three Sisters, the nearly identical suspension bridges spanning the Allegheny River in downtown, glowed with a greater distinction. I felt an electric energy in the air and, despite the late hour, locals crowded the streets working into the night in preparation for the world stage. Even Heinz Field seemed more statuesque – and not just because I am devout Pittsburgh Steelers fan. (We’ll get back on track this week guys. Cinci, we’re coming for ya!)
And as I thought a little more about what was different – it clicked. Here’s a city that has risen to the occasion. And not just for the G20 Summit. Here’s a city that has got its groove back – adapting and transforming from the industry of old into a hotbed of innovation and the green economy of now. As the President describes, "Pittsburgh stands as a bold example of how to create new jobs and industries while transitioning to a 21st century economy" … it "will provide a beautiful backdrop and a powerful example of our work" as a showcase to the world.
This is why the Steel City is on the world stage this week for the G20 Summit. And this hometown gal can’t help but be giddy with pride.
Leaders from countries around the world that represent 85 percent of the world’s economy are here for the Summit. On the agenda? President Obama says it’s a time and place where "we can come together to advance our common interest in a global recovery, while turning the page to a truly 21st century economy."
To stay up to date on the latest happenings in the Steel City, tune in to PittsburghSummit.gov where my colleagues at the State Department will be tweeting and blogging up a storm around the event. You may even find a note or two from me there as well.