UIMF Concludes 3rd Annual High School Essay Contest

The Third Annual UIMF Workshop Essay Contest Concludes

On March 22, 2013, the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of several students clubs at Utah Valley University, held the third annual Workshop Essay Contest for high school students at Utah Valley University. Two previous contests were held in 2011 (link) and 2012 (link), respectively. This year, following the United Nations designation of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation, the contest focused on topics related to water sustainability, cooperation & accessibility, as they relate to the world and specifically their implications within Utah.


During the essay contest at Utah Valley University 

Under the chairmanship of Professor Keith Snedegar, the History and Political Science Department at Utah Valley University announced a call for papers throughout the high schools of the state of Utah several months prior the final event, which was decided to be held on March 22nd, 2013.

 Call For papers – Water Sustainability-

As it was done before, students of UVU, many of them members of UIMF, communicated with schools in order to convince the maximum possible number of high-school students to write pieces on the topic. The organizing committee selected the seven best essays relating to water sustainability in Utah, from which three top winners of the contest were chosen. The first prize went to Maranda Fisher, who wrote a paper on the topic: “Running out of Water,” second prize was given to Quinn Everett with a paper, titled “The Case Against Water Contamination: The hazardous factors that led to pollution and the poor policies that tolerate it”, and the third prize went to Maison Evensen with a report “Water Rights and Preservation”.


Maranda Fisher ( C ) with Ambassador Talaibek Kydyrov (L ), and

Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Dr. Keith Snedegar ( R )

Maranda Fisher 1 Place Certificate

Winners of the contest have been presented with monetary prizes in the amount of: A) the first place – $300; B) the second place -$200; C) the third place $100. Funds to present awards to winners and to provide logistics for the contest were provided through the ELLA grant from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences with personal support from Dean of School, Dr. David Yells.

The Organizing Committee honored the great contribution from Ms. Robin Bucaria, a teacher of Cooper Hills High School of Salt Lake City, by presenting her special certificate, signed by the members of the Organizing Committee led by Dr. Rusty Butler, Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Diplomacy at Utah Valley University, and also focal point for the Mountain Partnership at Utah Valley University and Utah Russia-Institute. Ms. Robin Bucaria was able to convince almost all students from her class to write essays and contribute to the contest.


Teacher Ms. Robin Bucaria (C ) with Ambassador Kydyrov  (L ) and member of the

Organizing Committee Jesler Molina ( R )

 Bucaria Certificate

The event was also honored with the presence of His Excellency Talaibek Kydyrov, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Nations, who encouraged students to continue to contribute to the sustainable mountain development agenda and water management in particular. He was glad that event was dedicated also to the 10th Anniversary since adoption of the special resolution of the United Nations establishing December 11 as International Mountain Day. The Kyrgyz dignitary presented certificates to participants and winners.

Important contribution to the contest was made by the charitable organization TIFIE (Teaching Individuals Families Independence Enterprise), which provided special prizes to the winners and the rest of the participants and special guests – equipment with solar panels similar to those which are provided to the families in Ghana as a part of the fundraising campaign, which was underway simultaneously with the Essay contest.


Brandon Merrill ( L ), President of the Sustainable Mountain Development

Club at UVU during the fundraising campaign with Ambassador Kydyrov ( second left) and members of UIMF

His Excellency Talaibek Kydyrov received an honorable mention, as did Ms. Robin Bucaria, a teacher at who has been a special collaborator of the organization over the past three years.