My wife Emily, and I thoroughly enjoyed hosting Ambassador and Mrs. Ion Jinga from Romania. UVU hosted a Women of the Mountain’s conference and invited the Ambassador to the United Nations and his wife to participate in the conference. While I spent most of my time at the conference with the Ambassador, my wife, Emily, spent much of her time sharing some of Utah with Mrs. Jinga. Emily said the following about her experience with the Ambassador’s wife:
“Mrs. Daniela Jinga is one of the loveliest people I have ever had the privilege to spend time with. One of the first things I realized about Mrs. Jinga is how supportive she is of her husband. She has attended over 50 conferences at various universities that her husband has spoken at in the last four years! That’s more than one conference per month for the last four years… Mrs. Jinga and I attended the conference for her husband’s speech and the remainder of the conference on Wednesday.
But first… we went on an adventure! Mrs. Jinga loves the mountains and loves farms so we went to Midway and Park City. With all the autumn colors the mountains looked particularly beautiful and Mrs. Jinga declared that our mountains look like the Highlands of Scotland. We started at the Heber Valley Milk and Artisan Cheese farm where we enjoyed samples of the cheese, jam, and fudge as well as walking near the cows. Just south of the Heber Valley farm is Memorial Hill from which you can see a 360 degree view of Midway and Heber. It really is a stunning view. Mrs. Jinga greatly appreciated the beauty and the opportunity she had to be away from the large cities in which the Jinga’s have spent most of their time living. Memorial Hill pays tribute to all those in Wasatch County who have given their life in defense of our country from the war of 1812 to present day. Mrs. Jinga commented on the patriotism of our country that she has observed and how impressed she is by it. From Memorial Hill we went by Jordanelle and a farmers market in Park City. We had a wonderful time together and I learned much about the history of Romania. This will be an experience I will always cherish. Mrs. Jinga and I have determined to keep in touch and she and Ambassador Jinga have invited Matt and I to visit them in New York City as well as in Romania when they move back.”
Overall, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to escort and shadow Ambassador Jinga. The Ambassador is of the most intelligent of men I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. I have no doubt that Romania is well represented in the United Nations. It was a remarkable experience to learn from his experience and vast knowledge of history, diplomacy, law, and a variety of subjects that greatly interest me. It is my hope that Ambassador Jinga were able to sincerely enjoy their time here in Utah. I believe that that was the case. I hope that they will have another opportunity to return to Utah Valley University.
UVU had done a tremendous job of reaching out to foreign dignitaries like Ambassador Jinga. Each year the university is able to successfully integrate such dignitaries into various presentations, conferences, and class programs. Here I have to highlight a special role in that area of Dr. Rusty Butler, Associate Vice President for International Affairs and Diplomacy at UVU. He and his colleagues at the office of international Affairs and Diplomacy, like Amy Barnett, were able to bring diplomats to UVU from the United Nations in New York in addition to Ambassadors accredited to the United States in Washington, D.C. As a result, UVU students have great opportunities both to host foreign dignitaries at UVU campus and also to visit diplomatic missions in New York during sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.
As a student, I am grateful for this sort of experience. It has greatly enhanced my education here at UVU. This sort of engaged leaning has helped sparked my interest in the Foreign Service. I hope that other students are able to enjoy similar experiences.
Matt Murdoch, member of the organizing committee of the Fourth Women of the Mountains Conference