UIMF members participate in the panel with UN Under Secretary General Alison Smale

The poster signed by Under Secretary General Alison Smale: ” To UIMF, Good luck with advocacy of SDGs and mountain targets. “ 

On Friday, March 29, 2019 I was able to participate in a panel with Under Secretary General for Global Communications, United Nations (UN), Ms. Alison Smale. The Under-Secretary General (USG) was in Utah to discuss the upcoming UN civil society conference with members of the state legislature, the city of Salt Lake, and Utah Valley University (UVU). Sitting on this panel was a great honor considering she is the highest-ranking member of the UN to ever visit Utah. The other panelists were Andrew Jensen, and Lauren Johnson, who both sit with me on the youth subcommittee with me of the conference.

USG Mrs Alison Smale speaks before the audience at UVU

When Dr. Baldomero Lago CIO/Focal Point for UVU at the United Nations, introduced USG to the audience, he mentioned many highlights in the career of Ms. Smale, like her tenure as the editor for the New York Times in Berlin, and her graduate study at Stanford. The USG made a short presentation about her thoughts on Utah, the role of the conference this coming August, and how youth are stakeholders that should demand a serious position in the conference. Utah is a state filled with young people, and Ms. Smale emphasized the importance of registering and participating in the conference.

As the president of the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University, I focused my questions to the UN official on youth engagement and creating a lasting impact at the Civil Society Conference this August. As Madame Under-Secretary Smale noted, youth are an integral part of the 2030 agenda at the UN, and as such, should play an integral role at the Civil Society Conference. As a club and organization that highlights youth in promoting the 2030 agenda and sustainable mountain development at the UN, UIMF is playing an active role in the conference planning and development of youth-centered activities, which is exactly what Madame Under-Secretary Smale is hoping for the conference.

Another key question asked by Andrew Jensen dealt with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11, which is the theme of the UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City in August.  SDG 11 is centered on sustainable communities, and as noted in the panel, sustainable and thriving communities incorporate many other SDGs, such as quality education, gender equality, clean water, and hunger. Understanding how SDG 11 incorporates itself into the other 16 SDGs will be key for the conference in August.

Dr. Cameron Martin presents a token of UVU’s appreciation to USG

During the event, Dr. Cameron Martin, UVU Vice President – University Relations presented Ms. Alison Smale a commemorative token of UVU’s appreciation for participating on the panel as well as conducting meetings at the state legislature and Salt Lake City and County offices. The event also provided an opportunity for faculty and students to interact with USG and my peers at UIMF, such as Megan Davis, Michael Hinatsu, Hailee Hodgson, and Laila Mitchell, were able to talk to Mrs. Alison Smale and inform about their activities with SDGs implementations and in particular with the advocacy of the mountain women during the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. USG was very impressed by the achievements of the UIMF as one of the example of youth promotion at UVU and Utah in general.

UIMF members with USG, Mrs. Alison Smale

Overall, the panel was a big success. Not only did we draw large crowds for the panel, but we were able to have a substantive conversation with one of the highest-ranking official in the United Nations. Youth excitement for the conference is growing, and it gives me hope that we will be able to make a large and continuing impact at the conference. I am looking forward to seeing all of our hard work continue to pay off.

Samuel Elzinga, President, UIMF

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MEDIA ABOUT USG VISIT TO UTAH

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19-03-29-DESERET NEWS-Photos: Salt Lake City preparing to welcome the world this summer

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19-03-30-DESERET NEWS: Here’s why this United Nations conference will be held in Utah instead of New York for the first time ever

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UIMF MEMBERS REFLECTIVE ESSAYS:

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Michael Hinatsu-UIMF Joins UN USG Ms. Alison Smale for Panel on the Role of Civil Society

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Megan Davis-The Importance and Power of Civil Society Discussion with Ms. Alison Smale, USG, United Nations

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Austin Meline-The Importance and Power of Civil Society Discussion with Ms. Alison Smale, USG, UN

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Victoria Bindrup-Meeting Under Secretary General Alison Smale

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Shea Sawyer The Importance and Power of Civil Society Discussion

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Brianna John UN Under Secretary General, Ms. Alison Smale speaks at UVU

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