Reflections on Day 2 UIMF Activities at CSW63

Michael Hinatsu at the UN compound

 On Monday, March 18, 2019, members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), continued their activities related to the 63rd Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), by obtaining UN grounds passes, touring the UN compound, participating in side events and parallel events, and meeting members of civil society from around the world.

In accordance with the agenda created by Aldon Trimble, members of the UIMF delegation met at 8:30am outside the UN ID and pass cards office they had identified the day before. It was important that we met this early, not only because many people would arrive later to do the same, but some of the students were not able to find rides in time and one delegation member, Noorani Barkat, had some issues that prolonged her check-in process. However, the receiving of grounds passes occurred without any major issues and by 9:30, our entire delegation made its way to the UN compound to take a group photo. During this, we were joined by two students and a faculty advisor from Asbury University in Kentucky, who, like us, were visiting the UN for the first time in order to weight the benefits of creating a program similar to UIMF’s, whereby students are given tasks to prepare to advocate for certain issues at the UN. Personally, it was interesting to meet them and hear their perspectives on the UN system and how they wanted to apply themselves as we had.

After taking group photos and entering the UN compound, we spent some time sight-seeing around the compound. Per Aldon Trimble’s schedule, we had roughly from 10:00am until 1:00pm to attend side events at the compound as desired, or to continue touring the UN compound’s attractions, which included a bookstore, gift shop, and a number of exhibits and information centers that gave information about the history of the UN, the role of the General Assembly and other organs, and details about the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. During this time, I was joined by Aldon Trimble, Viktoriia Bahrii, Rebecca Bindraban, Abdulrahman Alghanmi, and Noorani Barkat in attending a side event “Gender, Economic Policy and Women’s Human Rights: Tackling Discrimination to Strengthen Social Protection, Increase Access to Services and Transform Systems,” convened by the  UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice, and sponsored by the Permanent Mission of New Zealand, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, the International Labor Organization,  the Carter Center, and the International Association for Feminist Economics.

The side event was a panel discussion by Melissa Upreti, Expert,UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice; Radhika Balakrishnan, Faculty Director, CWGL and President elect, International Association for Feminist Economists; Bindu Armstrong, Senior Policy Analyst, New Zealand Ministry for Women; Shauna Olney, Chief, Gender Equality and Diversity and ILOAIDS Branch, Conditions of Work and Equality Department; and Karin Ryan, Senior Policy Adviser on Human Rights and Special Representative on Women and Girls, The Carter Center. Many topics were put forth by the panelists, including the role of making correct macroeconomic policy in gender equality, the role of international agreements and processes to address women’s rights issues and human rights violations, as well as actions being taken by the government of New Zealand, such as legislation about pay equity and violence against women. Additionally, the panelists spoke about the need for and work happening to create new international agreements about women’s issues regarding violence, workplace equality, equal pay, and societal views about equality. The panel was interesting for me personally, not only for further teaching me the complex issues surrounding empowering women, but also because each of the panelists expressed distaste with how the UN has not allowed women and others to watch and take part in the negotiations of the language of UN forum final documents.

Panelists of the side event at 10:00am

After this event, Noorani Barkat, Aldton Trimble, Abdulrahman Alghanmi and myself were able to take pictures in the General Assembly chamber. We attempted to attend other side events but the rooms were full, so we decided to continue sight-seeing. I then spoke with Aldon Trimble regarding the agenda, and we agreed to change our group lunch time from 1:00pm to 12:30pm, so that we could have more time to do a practice of our parallel event and not to be so rushed for attending other scheduled parallel events. After letting everyone know about the change, we all gathered at the cafeteria in the UN compound and practiced our parallel event. Then, at 1:30pm, we left, in order for those who wanted to eat outside of the UN compound to do so. These changes worked out very smoothly and allowed everyone to be on time to the parallel event at 2:30pm.

UIMF members practice their parallel event in the UN cafeteria.

From left: Aldon Trimble, Noorani Barkat, Abdulrahman Alghanmi, and Michael Hinatsu in the UN General Assembly Chamber

The 2:30 parallel event was hosted by Mrs. Wendy Jyang of Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce (Utah China F.I.S.H. D&C), an NGO that has also partnered many times with UIMF to co-sponsor with the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences UIMF delegation’s oral and written statements at UN events. The event, titled “Recreating A Healthier Environment for Empowering Women and Girls,” was located at the Salvation Army Auditorium and sponsored by the Jieh Huey Social Welfare & Charity Foundation. Speakers included the sponsoring organization’s CEO, Ms. Hsin Chin Shih; Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, our faculty mentor, Lecturer, UVU, and former Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the USA and Canada; Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Chair, Women’s & Gender Studies, New Jersey City University; Pauline Tzuang, Charter President, Zonta Club of Taipei Cosmo 2016-2018, Member, Translation Committee, Zonta International; and Dr. Ali Mazzara, Director of Education Programs at the Office of Global Affairs, The State University of New York (SUNY). Ms. Shih spoke about how her organization involves youth and others to care for Taiwan’s increasing population of elderly people; Dr. Abdrisaev spoke about UVU’s student engaged learning model and how it empowers youth, especially women and girls and nontraditional students; Mrs. Ellis-Williams spoke about her upbringing as an example of how women can empower themselves and about issues still facing women and girls from achieving their potential; Mrs. Tzuang had lost her voice and had a colleague read her speech, which encouraged women to self-educate and ensure their governments allocate sufficient funds to social safety nets; and Mrs. Mazzara spoke about SUNY’s program that helps women successfully gain careers in the field of international relations.

UIMF members photograph panelists and participants at the 2:30pm parallel event.

After this parallel event, we went to the Church Center of the UN to inspect the room that we would be presenting our parallel event in, but there was an event going on in it, so we decided to end the day there. Overall, this day was beneficial for me, because I attended the side and parallel events with the intention of seeing how they were conducted, in order for me to prepare to host our parallel event the next day. As a result, I made my personal statement for the event more official sounding and academic in nature, as well as felt more comfortable with the moderating process. Also, I was exposed to the wide range of opinions and recommendations surrounding the advocacy of women’s rights and gained a new appreciation for not only the diversity of issues but how to address them meaningfully. I am now very prepared to host and contribute to the CSW63 priority theme through our parallel event tomorrow.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF member.


Ezra-Pugliano-Day 2 attending CSW63 activities


Hailee-Hodgson-Day 2 for UIMF members in New York


William Gum My day 2 at CSW63 in New York


Megan Davis-Student Engaged Learning Experience During Day 1 at the CSW63


Viktoriia-Bahrii-Day 2. Panel on Empowering Women and Girls


AbdulRahman ALGhanmi -The first day of my official participation at CSW63


Rebecca Bindraban -My first day of official activities at CSW63


Laila Mitchell-My introduction to CSW63 activities


Aldon Trimble UIMF at CSW63 Day 2 Participation in Side Event on Human Rights and Women


Hannah Bieker-UIMF Brings Awareness to Mountain Women at the UN 63rd Commission on the Status of Women