Monday, March 12th 2018 office of Global Engagement at Utah Valley University (UVU) held the Diplomatic Conference with the help of multiple clubs such as the Foreign Affairs Club and the UIMF, a coalition of clubs that work towards mountain development and sustainability. This conference included many important diplomats from multiple countries such as Spain, Romania, Peru, Vietnam, United Kingdom, Uganda and France, as well as important leaders in Utah state government such as the Mayor of Salt Lake City Jackie Biskupski.
The point of the conference was that these individuals could speak their part on the selected topic of international trade and what it means for their countries. Two separate panels were created to speak on the subject and answer any questions the participating audience may have. This offered insight to how not only the countries they represent view international trade, but how the rest of the world stands on the matter through their angle of vision. It was my pleasure to volunteer my time to personally assist the Deputy Consul General of Vietnam, Mr. Ngo Quang Anh and the Consul, Mr. Le Nam Trung. During the Networking and luncheon portion of the event, I learned a wealth of knowledge about diplomacy, trade, development and culture of Vietnam. Both Deputy Consul and Consul of Vietnam proved to be very intelligent in their fields and offered insight on how someone like myself can operate and engage with other diplomats in my career. I also found that my colleagues experience the same wealth of knowledge and experience in assisting their assigned diplomats.
Events like this one are extremely important to the students involved with the UIMF, particularly in providing experiencing with engaging with high-level individuals and seeing first hand diplomacy in action. Since Engaged Learning is UVU’s model for education, this provided a perfect avenue for UIMF students to get involved in such activities, before actually entering the job market. This provides its students with knowledge and experience in the field, before graduating, leaving them feeling confident and skilled when starting their careers. This was evident in Jesler Molina’s position. Jesler was President of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), at UVU in 2014-2015. Focusing on the Promotion of sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda of the United Nations in the state of Utah. During the 6th session of the UN Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs in New York on December 11, 2013. OWG on SDGs adopted 17 SDGs instead of Millennium Development Goals as main benchmarks for evaluating human progress worldwide. He also contributed research about mountain ranges in North America for the Report on SMD for North America, which was published by the Mountain Partnership under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for the landmark United Nations Conference on sustainable development RIO+20 in Brazil, June 20th-22nd, 2012. (http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/cirmount/postings/pdf/SUSTAINABLE_MOUNTAIN_DEVELOPMENT.pdf) As the UIMF President during that time, Jesler was a chair of the organizing committee comprised from 73 students, UIMF members who hosted the fourth international Women of the Mountains conference in October 7th-19th, 2015 as student engaged learning initiative. UN Secretary General’s report on SMD A/71/256 from July 229, 2016 featured UIMF members and UVU for their contribution to the promotion of gender and SMD agendas of the UN and implementation of SDGs, the only academic institution from North America. (http://www.womenofthemountains.org/docs/2015/report-of-the-sg-on-sustainable-mountain-development-2016-sum.pdf).
During the luncheon of the Diplomatic Conference that was held March 12th , 2018, Jesler was awarded and recognized by the UVU office of Global Engagement for his efforts and progress within UVU’s engaged learning system and UIMF initiatives in providing said efforts and will go on to continue to promote programs that improve the lives of many globally. Although the UIMF was awarded as one of the best student clubs by UVUSA in 2012 (see: http://utahimf.org/archives/522), the leader of the coalition of student clubs is honored by UVU for the first time. It happened thanks to the efforts of the Dr. Baldomero Lago, CIO/Vice-Rector for Global Engagement at UVU who created new opportunities for UVU students at the United Nations through a partnership of UVU with this global institution as a new Associated Member of the United Nations Department of Public Information. High evaluation of Jesler Molina’s contribution in promotion of SMD agenda is a part of the vision of Dr. Lago to promote United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the State of Utah and North America through student engaged learning initiatives.
Since 2011 when UIMF was founded, it was already featured in the Outdoor journal in December 11, 2016 for contribution to the celebrations of the United Nations International Mountain Days and in the United Nations Secretary General’s Report on Sustainable Mountain Development, A/71/256 from July, 27, 2016 (See: http://womenofthemountains.org/docs/2015/report-of-the-sg-on-sustainable-mountain-development-2016-sum.pdf).
I can say with confidence that after experiencing the Conference and participating, as well as witnessing the painstaking effort Jesler provided, my generation of colleagues and I have learned and continue to learn with great pleasure of what it means to be involved and the importance of diplomacy. I appreciate so much the initiative of the UVU Global Engagement office to host this event for the second time and to provide us, students with invaluable experiences of interacting with foreign diplomats and trade counselors.
Dylan Genes, Vice President, Foreign Affairs Club at UVU