UIMF Discusses Mountain Women Advocacy with DPR of Russia to the UN, Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy

On Friday, April 5, 2019, the Utah Valley University (UVU) office of Global Engagement (GE) hosted Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative (DPR) of the Russian Federation to the United Nations (UN).  As part of student engaged learning activities under UVUN initiative, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) was invited by the GE office to took part in a presentation of mbassador Polyanskkiy and to hold a meeting with the Russian diplomat to highlight UIMF’s advocacy for mountain women and girls, in harmony with the UN 2030 Development agenda and the mountain targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UVUN initiative is a partnership between UVU and United Nations Department of Public Information established in November 2017 when UVU became a member of the  United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) program.

Prior to the presentation, as another element of the student engaged learning initiative, UIMF members joined with UVU faculty and other distinguished guests for a luncheon with Ambassador  Polyanskiy and his wife, during which the participants were given the opportunity to personally meet Russian diplomat and speak with him. As Vice President of UIMF, I was honored during this time to meet Ambassador  Polyanskiy and briefly describe the mission of UIMF and our advocacy for mountain women and girls.

Ambassador Polyanskiy during presentation before the faculty and students at UVU

Ambassador Polyanskiy’s presentation following the luncheon, titled “Russian Diplomacy in the Modern World,” consisted primarily of a question-and-answer period between himself and the audience. During the discussion that occurred, Ambassador Polyanskiy answered questions on a number of topics, such as the social, economic, and political issues surrounding the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, the Russian annexation of Crimea, and the War in Donbass, as well as questions concerning Russian-Venezuelan relations, particularly in regards to the presidential crisis between President Maduro and acting President Guaidó. Mr. Polyanskiy also discussed the Russian Federation’s implementation of the UN 2030 Development agenda and its response to the SDGs. During the presentation, Ambassador  Polyanskiy urged the audience to seek many sources of news media and information in general, as well as to constantly seek to gain knowledge and be aware of global issues.

UIMF members discuss mountain targets with Ambassador Polyanskiy

Afterward, Ambassador  Polyanskiy met with members of UIMF, where I was privileged to moderate a discussion about how UIMF successfully uses UVU’s student engaged learning model to advocate at the UN level for the empowerment of mountain women and girls worldwide. My colleagues Viktoriia Bahrii, Hannah Bieker, Megan Davis, Samuel Elzinga, and William Gum-Causey, along with Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, UIMF mentor, spoke on our advocacy efforts during events like the 2018 High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development and the 63rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women this past March. We also described how UIMF builds partnerships with local, regional, national, and international organizations and groups, such as Rotary International, United Nations Association of the United States (UNA-USA)  and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, to further contribute to the education and gender aspects of the UN 2030 Development Agenda, and discussed with Russian diplomat  how best to work with the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN to advocate for such issues at future UN forums on sustainable development. Present also during this meeting was Dr. Lynn England, Director of UVU Peace and Justice Studies, and students preparing for a study abroad to Russia and Kyrgyzstan, who received advice from Ambassador Polyanskiy on their coming study abroad.

Both during Ambassador Polyanskiy’s presentation and the subsequent meeting, UIMF members and I were grateful to meet and hear from Ambassador Polyanskiy, in particular to learn about his and the Russian Federation’s perspective regarding current international politics issues, as well how civil society organizations such as UIMF can most effectively advocate for mountain women and girls at all levels. The advice give by Russian diplomat  was well-taken and helped us personally to think of ways to better advance UIMF’s mission regarding advocacy of mountain women and girls.

Group photo of UIMF members after the meeting with Ambassador Polyanskiy 

Ambassador Polyanskiy’s visit to UVU was made possible thanks to the UVU’s Office of Global Engagement, including Dr. Baldomero Lago, UVU CIO/Vice-Rector of Global Engagement, and Ms. Amy Barnett, Coordinator of Global Engagement at UVU. The visit of Ambassador Polyanskiy continues the UVU tradition of bringing high-level diplomats and officials from United Nations to UVU to discuss and interact with student groups, like UIMF, aspects of the UN 2030 Development agenda and to highlight how UIMF contributes to UVU efforts to promote sustainable development. The visit was also an opportunity to inform Ambassador Polyanskiy about UVU preparations for the upcoming UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 26-28, 2019.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Joseph Lloyd-Russian Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy Speaks to UVU Students and Faculty

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Sam Elzinga-Russian DPR Visits UVU, Discusses SDGs with Students

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William Casey-Gum-Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia, Ambassador Polyanskiy lectured at UVU

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Megan Davis-SEL with Mr. Dmitry Polyanskiy, the First DPR of Russia to the U.N., during his visit to UVU Campus

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Brandon Pedler-DPR of the RF to the UN, Ambassador Polyanskiy presentation at UVU

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Leslie Sixtos-Cruz Russian Diplomacy in the Modern World

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Drew Tschirki – Deputy PR of the Russia to the UN, Ambassador Polyanskiy discusses global politics at UVU

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Victoria Bindrup-Ambassador Polyanskiy About Russian Policy Priorities

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Caleb Stowell-Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy about Russian Foreign Policy

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Austin Meline – Russian Diplomacy at UVU

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Samantha Tiburcio-Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy speaks at UVU

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Vanessa McCann-First Deputy PR of the Russian Federation to the UN speaks at UVU

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Parker Dolton-Learning from Ambassador Polyanskiy about Russian Foreign Policy Priorities

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Brianna John UVU hosted Deputy PR of Russian Federation to the UN, Ambassador Dmitriy Polyanskiy