Institute of Politics

Elected Officials Retreat

The Elected Officials Retreat, held annually for more than 20 years and cosponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, provides special opportunities for both substantive discussion and personal interaction. The goal of the retreat is to encourage dialogue on critical regional issues and open the lines of communication among elected officials from different levels of government and other community leaders.

Held again at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square, this year's retreat will address two issues with bipartisan interest – the advancement of technology and its impact on employment, and the role of civility in politics, the media, and public discourse. The uncertainty of the current time in both the political and economic spheres is captured in the event title: “The Future of the American Dream: The Changing Landscape of Work and Democracy.” 

Work is central to the American way of life. Yet, in recent decades, the changing landscape of work has left a generation of people behind, with profound and lasting impacts on the nation’s culture and political environment. Looking ahead, the rapid advancement of disruptive technology may only exacerbate the problem, at least in the short term. Our program will carefully examine these anticipated changes and how they might impact work in our nation, state, and region. We will be led in this discussion by Sree Ramaswamy, a partner at McKinsey Global Institute, which earlier this year released a landmark report “A Future that Works.” Regional leaders Gregg Behr, Bill Strickland and Dennis Yablonsky will participate in a panel discussion to examine potential impacts on our local workforce, and how our systems might change to mitigate any negative consequences of disruption. After dinner, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto will address how governments can maximize the benefits and mitigate the harms that might come to communities through technological advances.

Additionally, the United States has historically strived to uphold democratic principles, showing respect and honor for the rule of law and the role of civil discourse in American politics. However, in recent years, productive policy discussions have increasingly broken down, as individuals with differing political views have often seemed to be speaking across an ever-widening gulf. To examine this issue in greater depth, we will look at the roles of various sectors of our society–academia and research, the media, and the faith community–in addressing and potentially restoring civility. Confirmed speakers for this session include Bishop David Zubik and a panel of religious leaders in the community, Duquesne University President Ken Gormley, Committee of Seventy Director David Thornburgh, and the Pew Center’s Director of Journalism Research, Amy Mitchell.

As in recent years, the event’s discussion may serve as a launching point for next steps for the Institute on the issues brought forward over the course of the two-day program.

While there is no cost to attend, advance registration is required and only invitees are eligible to attend.

Please direct all questions to Briana Mihok at 412-624-7792 or

For more information on this year's retreat, please visit the following pages: