On Thursday, February 4th, 2021, I represented UVU Rotaract as the President and as a member of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), as I gathered with young adults from all over the world who joined virtually for a United Nations 65th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Youth Preparation Event (YPE). This YPE was set up as a lecture workshop with the goal to help youth become effective advocates in international fora. The event was hosted by Canada Youth for Peace(CYP), a nongovernmental organization who seeks to involve youth in social advocacy work.
The event started with a brief introduction by CYP representatives, which was followed by various breakout sessions. I elected to participate in the breakout session hosting a workshop about making effective interventions at the CSW conference. I chose to attend this session because I wanted to gain speaking and intervention skills for the CSW parallel event I will attend on March 22nd, as part of the combined UVU Rotaract and Utah International Mountain Forum delegation under sponsorship of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS), a nongovernmental organization in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Gaining such skills through this setting was a valuable opportunity that employs UVU’s student engaged learning model.
During the breakout session, I learned that it is appropriate and valuable to ask for an intervention ahead of time. If I know which NGO will be running a session of the conference, I can ask them before the conference begins for time to make an intervention, which is a statement that posits the organization’s main purposes and beliefs, and advocates for a causing relating to the UN-CSW agenda. The UIMF and Rotaract will also be submitting requests to hold an intervention and an oral/written statement during the General Discussion of the conference.
Because this is the first time CSW will be held virtually, interventions now take on an alternative format. In this setting, it is appropriate to ask to make an intervention before the meeting begins, while people are virtually gathered, or via chat. Due to the virtual nature of the event, key networking and establishing contacts with others after the meeting is especially challenging. Part of a successful intervention is stating what organization you are from so like-minded organizations and individuals can get in contact with you. During these types of events, the UIMF invites others to join in our mission and create alliances.
I found this breakout session both informative and valuable. I appreciate the efforts of CYP and other NGOs involved to provide the information that will enable us to enhance our Student-Engaged Learning experience (SEL). Attendance at this event was a reminder of the value of UVU’s SEL model, which provides the opportunity for students to gain real professional skills and experience. I feel more prepared to effectively advocate for Rotary International goals, especially for women and girls in mountain communities, and look forward to the opportunity to attend the 65th CSW conference
Yana Andersen, UVU Rotaract President
STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS