//Ambassadors Experience America At NREC

Ambassadors Experience America At NREC

May 23, 2017

Zulhasnan Rafique, the Malaysian ambassador to the United States, gets a close look at the CHIMP robot at the National Robotics Engineering Center during a May 23 visit arranged by the U.S. State Department.

U.S. State Department Brings Diplomats to Pittsburgh
More than 30 ambassadors and their spouses visited the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) May 23 as part of the U.S. State Department’s latest “Experience America” trip to Pittsburgh.
Carnegie Mellon Provost Farnam Jahanian, NREC Director Herman Herman and Robotics Prof. Illah Nourbakhsh spoke to the group during a breakfast session about CMU robotics research and how it impacts the world. The group then toured NREC, seeing its semi-humanoid robot CHIMP, chatting with high school students on the Girls of Steel robotics team, and learning about projects to remove coatings from aircraft, make continual adjustments to harvesting machines to improve yield and detect land mines.
This was the State Department’s 20th Experience America trip and first since the beginning of the Trump administration. The trips enable diplomats to engage with prominent business and community leaders and local entrepreneurs, build new economic partnerships, and learn about the unique culture of communities outside the Beltway. The trips encourage international trade and foreign investment.

While in Pittsburgh, the group visited Robotics Institute spinoff Astrobotic Technology, the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories and Uber’s Advanced Technology Center. They also visited the Warhol Museum, Heinz History Center, Heinz Field, the Duquesne Incline and Pitt’s Center for Energy.

Since 2008, more than 100 countries have participated in Experience America trips. Previous destinations include Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, Miami, Seattle, Nashville, San Francisco, and Houston, as well as multiple cities in Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Wyoming, and Virginia.