Congressman Ben McAdams (D-UT) recognizes UIMF for mountain women advocacy at CSW63

UIMF members with Congressman Ben McAdams

 On April 23, 2019, members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), met with Congressman Ben McAdams, who presented UIMF with an official copy of the Congressional Record for the 116th Congress that highlights UIMF’s advocacy at the 63rd session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) for mountain women, nontraditional students, UVU’s student engaged learning model (SEL), and sustainable mountain development (SMD). Congressman McAdams, who met with UIMF as part of his trip to UVU to meet with newly-instated UVU President Mrs. Astrid Tuminez, currently serves as Representative for Utah’s 4th congressional district.

During the event, Congressman McAdams, who thanked the entire thirteen-member delegation for their efforts to promote UVU and the State of Utah as examples of successful student engagement in the advocacy of timely and important issues. The Congressman also congratulated UIMF on its history of advocacy at the UN level for gender equality and sustainable development.

While not every member of UIMF’s CSW63 delegation were able to attend, UIMF was well-represented by Abdulrahman Alghanmi, Viktoriia Bahrii, Hannah Bieker, Megan Davis, UIMF President Samuel Elzinga, William Gum-Causey, Hailee Hodgson, Ezra Pugliano, and myself, who during the meeting each informed the Congressman about UIMF’s mission, their role in UIMF’s CSW63 advocacy campaign, and different aspects of how UIMF advocates for mountain women and SMD in Utah and elsewhere.

From left: Viktoriia Bahrii, Hannah Bieker, and Congressman McAdams discuss UIMF at CSW63

For example, Samuel Elzinga spoke about UIMF and UVU’s unique distinction as one of only a few academic institutions worldwide that regularly advocate at the UN level. Additionally, Hannah Bieker, who was instrumental in ensuring Congressman McAdams’ promotion of UIMF in the Congressional Record, spoke about her role in the delegation as Rotaractor, Viktoriia Bahrii spoke about her attendance of other CSW63 side and parallel events related to gender, William Gum-Causey spoke on lessons learned about the UN system and about how CSW63’s final document is produced, and I was able to inform the Congressman about my personal role as the leader of the delegation, including about coordinating via SEL all UIMF preparations for CSW63 since September 2018. Ms. Amy Barnett, Coordinator of Global Engagement for UVU’s Office of Global Engagement, also attended and informed the Congressman about the Office of Global Engagement’s work to bring high-level diplomats and others to UVU to discuss sustainable development, as well as its work to allow students to participate in UN-level events.

Michael Hinatsu speaks with Congressman McAdams during the meeting.

Overall, the meeting was a great chance for UIMF to further showcase how UVU’s SEL model successfully allows students, especially nontraditional ones, to gain professional advancement and promote sustainable development in their communities. It was also a great opportunity to further advocate for mountain women and education as a tool to empower them. As UIMF and UVU prepare for the upcoming UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 26-28, 2019, as well as for further mountain women advocacy at CSW64 in 2020, meetings such as these will be important in building local, regional, and global coalitions to both empowering students to amplify their voices at the UN, but also to ensure that mountain women and SMD will be in the focus of the UN 2030 Development agenda.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President

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Congressman Ben McAdams extention of remarks “Recognizing Utah  Valley University  Students for Advocacy on  Behalf of Women in Mountain Communities at the 63ed Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.”  

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Megan Davis Congressman Ben McAdams Recognizes Efforts of UIMF to Advocate Mountain Women at CSW63

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Sam Elzinga-UIMF Members are Commended for their work at CSW63

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Abdulrahman Alghanmi-UIMF members meeting with Congressman Ben McAdams

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Ezra Pugliano-Congressman McAdams highlighted UIMF efforts to advocate mountain women at the UN

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