Ambassador of Greece to the United Nations at UVU

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H.E. Michel Spinellis – UN Ambassador from Greece Speaks at UVU

On June 9th, 2014 Utah Valley University (UVU) was fortunate to have in attendance His Excellency Michel Spinellis, Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations as part of a continued effort by Utah Valley University (UVU) and special “Guest lecture” series of the UVU Office of International Affairs and Diplomacy to make its students more internationally aware and to introduce world leaders to the promising future of its students. H.E. Michel Spinellis arrived early in the morning to provide students and faculty alike a brief introduction on Greece and its politics, as well as, to address current issues in world politics. Specifically, the Ambassador from Greece spoke on “Greece – European Union: Challenges & Opportunities”.

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During Presentation of the Ambassador Michel Spinellis

Within his speech, Ambassador Spinellis went into a brief history of Greece and the motivations of its people because of said history. Ambassador Spinellis explained why Greece’s history and culture have played their roles out on Greece’s political stage. Also, he explained Greece’s reasoning behind some of its current political decisions and was most pleased to find several of those in attendance who were actually from Greece.

Discussion of Greece did not end with his lecture. After the completion of his lecture, Ambassador Spinellis was taken on a tour of Utah Valley University’s completely indoor campus. While walking, discussions ranged from Greece to a history of UVU and the contributions it has provided to the field of international politics.

After touring UVU’s campus and working up a hunger, Ambassador Spinellis was treated to a traditional meal from Greece. Prepared and served by cooks from UVU’s leading culinary arts program. During lunch and after, His Excellency entertained questions from those in attendance who had made his visit possible. Questions from Christopher Clark, Director of the Theater Arts program at UVU, who is leading a group of students to Greece, and Dr. Rusty Butler, Associate Vice-President for International Affairs.

In attendance for this luncheon was Christopher Wiltsie, President of the Sustainable Mountain Development Club at UVU. Mr. Wiltsie was in attendance as a showcase of UVU’s commitment to student engagement and the necessity of educating its students – no matter the formality. Mr. Wiltsie’s commitment to this occasion was not merely superficial. Asking thought-provoking questions regarding Mountain Sustainability in the small country of Greece and even providing information on some of the work that has been done recently by his club. Ambassador Spinellis was most interested in the work that has been done by Mr. Wiltsie and his team and commented on the work that has been done in the United Nations regarding sustainability in the mountains, especially as it pertains to the UN’s post-2015 goals. Commenting on the fact that Greece has plenty of its own mountains and the need for cooperation between countries and the dissemination of reliable practices.

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Joseph McCain with Ambassador Michel Spinellis

Understanding, cooperation, and a holistic approach to development and politics seemed to be an underlying point to Ambassador Spinellis’ visit to UVU. One this is for sure, Ambassador Spinellis’ visit was a reminder that there is much that can be done. Working together, regardless of outlet is one way that we can build a more sustainable future.

Joseph McCain, President, Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at UVU

Djiba Soumaoro – Ambassador Spinellis

Sungjae Lee – Ambassador Spinellis