UIMF members inform Dr. Lago about achievements at the HLPF 2018

Dr. Lago watches a video of UVU students making an oral statement at the UN

Members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) and myself had the opportunity to report our achievements during the visit to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development on July 15-19, 2018 to Dr. Baldomero Lago. Dr. Lago is the Chief International Officer and an official representative to the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN DPI) at UVU. Dr. Lago provided essential assistance to our delegation to achieve our goals at the UN  in particular with arranging meetings with Permanent Representatives to the United Nations of Uzbekistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana and Uganda. As the Chief International Officer, he has a lot of experience navigating and furthering the mission of UVU within the UN. As such, it was our duty to report about the achievements of UVU delegation within the UN at the 2018 High-Level Political Forum.        

Dr. Lago, Andrew Jensen, Samuel Elzinga and Amy Barnett after the meeting

Within our meeting with Dr. Lago, we began by showing him the footage of our delegations presentation to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN (footage can be found at: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/economic-and-social-council/watch/49th-meeting-part-b-ecosoc-high-level-segment-2018/5811730419001/?term=). We explained to him, that it happened thanks to the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS), which as a non-governmental organization in general consultative status with ECOCOS, was allowed to make an oral statement within three minutes. Dr. Butler as the main focal point of RANS to the UN was not able to go to the UN and asked us, students to make an oral statement on his behalf. This was also a demonstration of a true student engaged learning in practice. Therefore, it was interesting to hear how the President of the session, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila, invited three of us to speak, as representatives of RANS, instead of UVU. We explained also that at the end of our presentation, the President of the session thanked us for delivering our presentation in English and in the allotted time. Dr. Lago watched the video and then commentated that he was very impressed with our achievements and with our presentation.

Afterwards I was allowed time to give Dr. Lago a brief reflection on our events from my perspective. I told him that overall, I felt that the experience was a positive one and that the opportunity to give an oral presentation allowed for many contacts with a wide range of different people and organizations within the UN. I explained that as President of the Model United Nations club at UVU, my peers and I had competed at the UN Conference in San Francisco and were awarded a certificate for our excellent performance. I explained that this experience was valuable because it gave me an inside view into the nuances and policies within the UN. I expressed that this was valuable experience and that the Model United Nations club and the UIMF would benefit from further interaction and partnership.

After this I explained that a valuable resource that we attained while at the UN was a new partnership with the Global University System (the article which can be found at: http://utahimf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/18-07-31-Andrew-Jensen-UIMF-partners-with-the-Global-University-System-at-HLPF-2018.pdf). As explained in the aforementioned article, the Global University System is an organization that works with various universities with the intent to promote global best practice educational programs. The opportunity to communicate with the Global University System came from the opportunity to submit a joint cross-cutting statement to all nations that were giving a Voluntary National Review (more information which can be found at: http://utahimf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/18-07-25-Andrew-Jensen-UIMF-asked-mountain-focused-question-during-VNR-of-Romania.pdf). I explained that this meeting was valuable and that I looked forward to Dr. Lago’s further communication with the Global University System. At the end of this portion of the meeting we had the opportunity to further discuss with Dr. Lago, the opportunities and implications of the United Nations DPI conference that is slated to occur next year. Though the details are still in the works, UVU will assuredly be actively involved with future UN activities.

Sam Elzinga, my colleague reported about his experiences of managing protocol for the delegation. We had meetings with Permanent Representatives of several nations accredited to the UN, like Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and others and it happened thanks to the assistance from the office of Dr. Lago and his assistant Amy Barnett.

Andrew Jensen, President, Model UN club at UVU