UIMF hosts official from UN Global Compact during the 68th UNCSC

Ms. Kofoed (fifth from the left) with UIMF members during the 68th UNCSC in Salt Lake City

The Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), hosted Mrs. Julie G. Kofoed, the Head of Human Rights with the United Nations Global Compact during the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference (68 UNCSC) which took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, from August 26-28, 2019. Before arriving at the event, Kofoed was able to travel the state with her family, visiting what she called “the state’s beautiful national parks.”

Mrs. Kofoed graduated from the University of Copenhagen with a Master of Laws with an emphasis in International Human Rights Law. She worked as an Assistant Attorney-at-Law for Tvermoes Lawyers before becoming the Head of Section for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark. Additionally, before becoming the Head of Human Rights with the United Nations Global Compact, she was the Senior Human Rights Policy Advisor, and the former Second Secretary to the Permanent mission of Denmark to the UN.

Ms. Kofoed was invited to attend the 68UNCSC by William Gum during the Model UN Conference in San Francisco in April 2019. UIMF considered that her extensive knowledge of human rights and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could provide UIMF members with valuable information to further advocate for women living in mountain regions, as well as promoting the implementation of mountain targets, nontraditional students, and UVU’s student engaged learning (SEL) model during the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) forums on sustainable development.

(R to L) Mr. Michael Hinatsu, Mr. William Gum, Ms. Julie Kofoed, Mr. Mile Hansen, President of the Utah World Trade Center and Ms. Amy Barnett, representative of the UVU Global Engagement office during the conference    

Our team hosted Mrs. Kofoed through the SEL model, whereby students conduct hands-on activities as a group with faculty assisting them as mentors. We prepared a proposal and applied for the Engaged Learning in the Liberal Arts, Speaker/Conference Grant to cover the cost of lodging, travel, and food expenses for the dignitary, arranged for her  activities including meetings with UN, Utah and UVU officials in addition to a round table with UIMF members to discuss strategies of working with UN with implementation of mountain targets.

We also arranged for Ms. Kofoed to have meetings with a number of dignitaries, conference leaders, and others, including co-hosts of the conference Ms. Jackie Biskupski, Major of Salt Lake City, and Dr. Baldomero Lago, CIO of the Office of Global Engagement at UVU, and with Mr. Miles Hansen, President and CEO of the World Trade Center Utah, to name a few. During those meetings, Mrs. Kofoed discussed how UN Global Compact partners with companies and private industry leaders around the world to develop their own sustainable policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on human rights, workers’ rights, and sustainability. The meeting with Mr. Hansen was particularly beneficial as both Mrs. Kofoed and Mr. Hansen expressed interest in having a mutual partnership between World Trade Center Utah and the UN Global Compact to implement sustainability practices and goals with local Utah businesses.

(L to R): Mr. William Gum, Ms. Julie Kofoed and Mrs. Tokona Dyikanbaeva from the Kyrgyz Republic during the conference 

Mrs. Kofoed was also able to attend a workshop hosted by UIMF members about their advocacy activities at ECOSOC forums on Wednesday, August 28, 2019. She visited also an exhibition hosted by UIMF to inform 68UNCSC participants about UIMF’s advocacy work and.

This was a very fruitful opportunity for UIMF members to interact with such a high-level official from the UN and unique ability to gain diplomatic skills and experiences. It laid solid ground for the visit of UIMF members to the 64th session of the United Nations Commission on the status of Women in March 2020. We very much thank Mrs. Kofoed for her willingness to travel to Utah and instruct UIMF members in this regard.

            William Gum, member, UIMF, and Michael Hinatsu, Vice-President, UIMF


Michael Hinatsu-Reflections on Hosting Mrs. Julie Kofoed at 68th UNCSC