Day 4 at CSW63: Networking with Civil Society and UN Diplomats to Advocate for Mountain Women

The UIMF delegation in the UN compound

 On Wednesday, March 20th, 2019, members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), continued their advocacy for mountain women, sustainable mountain development (SMD), and UVU’s student engaged learning (SEL) model at the 63rd Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), by participating in civil society meetings and discussions related to global advocacy for issues related to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #5 on gender equality.

According to the student delegation’s schedule created by Aldon Trimble, the students gathered at 8:30am in Conference Room 4 in the UN compound to participate in a daily morning briefing reviewing member state negotiations of the final document for CSW63. The event, hosted by the NGO Commission on the Status of Women, New York (NGO CSW/NY), included an opening message by a representative of the UN Women organization, but primarily involved leaders of NGO CSW/NY fielding questions from the large audience of civil society members. UIMF member Michael Hinatsu inquired whether or not there was a committee among the negotiators that was specifically advocating for minority groups, specifically mountain women, to be represented in the negotiations, to which he was answered by Mrs. Hellen Swales,  National President for New Zealand Federation for Business & Professional Women, in the affirmative. Later, UIMF members in attendance took a photo with Mrs. Swales, who expressed a desire to work with UVU and UIMF regarding SMD and mountain women issues. Furthermore, UIMF members were able to network with many members of civil society from around the world, with many expressing interests to partner with UIMF to promote aspects of UVU’s SEL model, as well as promote nontraditional students and female students to promote the 2030 Development Agenda.

From left: Abdulrahman Alghanmi, Dr. Baldomero Lago, PR of Turkmenistan H.E. Mrs. Aksoltan Ataeva, Ms. Amy Barnett, Michael Hinatsu, Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev inside the Permanent Mission of Turkmenistan to the UN.

Afterward, delegation members assembled their luggage at faculty mentor Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev’s hotel room, in preparation for later departures. Delegation members Abdulrahman Alghanmi and I joined afterward with Dr. Abdrisaev, Dr. Baldomero Lago, CIO/Vice-Rector of Global Engagement at UVU, and Ms. Amy Barnett, Coordinator for the UVU Office of Global Engagement, to have a meeting for the first time ever with the Permanent Representative (PR) of Turkmenistan to the UN, H.E. Mrs. Aksoltan Ataeva.

UVU and UIMF meet with the PR of Tajikistan to the UN, H.E. Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov.

At the meeting, Dr. Lago and Ms. Barnett spoke about UVU in general, as well as the work the UVU Office of Global Engagement does in promoting the SDGs and brining high-level officials to UVU. Abdulrahman Alghanmi and I were able to share with the PR about UIMF’s mission to empower mountain women and students to contribute to the UN 2030 Development agenda. After this meeting, the group met with the PR of Tajikistan to the UN, H.E. Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, where they made additional preparations for the upcoming UN Civil Society Conference to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 26-28, 2019. This meeting occurred because UIMF members ran into the PR near UN and set up the meeting (see picture below). As a result of these meetings, the PR of Turkmenistan expressed interest in visiting Utah and UVU in particular, and UIMF will play an important role in helping the UVU Office of Global Engagement to prepare for the UN DPI Conference, as well as other high-level events, such as the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development in July.

From left: Aldon Trimble, Paul Gallo, H.E. Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Michael Hinatsu, and Abdulrahman Alghanmi, upon meeting the PR near UN.

After these meetings, I bid farewell to many of the UIMF delegates returning to Utah; Dr. Abdrisaev and I will remain until Friday, March 22nd, to observe the results of the member state negotiations on CSW63’s final document.

UIMF members departing for Utah.

In the evening, UIMF leadership were able to get together for dinner, given that UIMF president Samuel Elzinga arrived to the UN as a representative of the Youth Organizing Committee to conduct preparations for the UN Civil Society Conference upcoming in Salt Lake City on August 26-28, 2019.

From left: UIMF president Samuel Elzinga, Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, Michael Hinatsu, Paul Gallo, and Viktoriia Bahrii.

We ate dinner at a Uighur-owned restaurant because of Samuel Elzinga’s interest in Central Asia and his upcoming internship with the State Department Bureau on South and Central Asia, where Viktoriia Bahrii and I reported to him the results of UIMF’s advocacy at CSW63, as well as in being able to meet with the PR of Tajikistan to the UN, H.E. Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, who is a personal friend to Samuel Elzinga.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF member



Abdulrahman Alghanmi Day 4 at CSW63 Last meetings and heading home


Megan Davis Reflections on the Final Day at the CSW and Advocating for UIMF Language to be Included in CSW63’s Final Document


William Gum Casey-Day 4 at the CSW63 Working with Civil Society for Mountain Women


Ezra Pugliano-Last Day on the CSW63, What I Learned & Experienced


Viktoriia Bahrii-Day 4. CSW63 final document briefing and New York sightseeing