Preparations for International Mountain Day Celebration

On the morning of October 7, 2013, student leaders from several associated clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) gathered for an hour of discussion with Dr. Rusty Butler, Associate Vice President for International Affairs and Diplomacy at UVU, regarding the 2013 observance and celebration of International Mountain Day on December 6, 2013. Dr. Butler is also a focal point coordinator at UVU for the activities of the Mountain Partnership, which in turn coordinates the global promotion of the sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda of the United Nations.

In attendance were student leaders from the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of UVU student clubs and club-members including Mark Petersen, President of the Sustainable Mountain Development club; Marie Poudiougou, Foreign Affairs Club President;  Jesler Molina, President of International Student Council and Model U.N. club; and D. Candice Backus, President of the College Republicans. In addition to those in attendance were Carlos Alarco and Jordan Giles, UIMF outreach coordinators, and Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, a former Kyrgyz Republic Ambassador to the U.S. and Canada, and current Distinguished Visiting Professor for the Department of History and Political Science. IMDPreparations1

The agenda for this initial gathering focused on several of the most important components of   the planning phase, such as:

  • Ensuring the fourth celebration of International Mountain Day at UVU will be successful with its goal of expanding to the regional level by inviting key representatives from Mountain Partnership elements from throughout North America;

  • Dedicating the main focus of the gathering to highlighting the results of the 4th Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership in Erzurum, Turkey and the efforts of the North American members of Mountain Partnership to advance those goals through a regional approach;

  • Remembering the late Dr. Jane Pratt, world-renowned expert and scholar on sustainable development and mountain issues in North America and globally;

  • Distribution of responsibilities between student clubs, taking into account that UIMF will act as overall host for the event: UVU students will be responsible for everything from protocol & administration, to coordination, to logistics. Mark Petersen and the Sustainable Mountain Development club will lead UIMF efforts in planning and organizing the celebration. In addition, UVU students will be responsible for hosting Dr. Jed Shilling, Senior Advisor of the Millennium Institute and husband of the late Dr. Jane Pratt.

  • Sending invitation letters to all Mountain Partnership members as soon as possible: It was agreed that Dr. Butler will send letters of invitation to all Distinguished Visitors and Mountain Partnership members, and UIMF members will follow up with obtaining responses from each addressee; IMG_0821 copy

  • Resolving financial and logistic issues related to the celebration: Per preliminary conversations, several institutions at UVU agreed to fund a gathering. In addition to the Office of International Affairs and Diplomacy funding a trip for Dr. Andrew Taber, current President of the Mountain Institute, as well as a reception, Dr. David Connelly, Chair, Department of History and Political Science and Dr. David Yells, Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, have graciously agreed to co-sponsor the International Mountain Day celebration.

Overall, this meeting proved to be successful due to a significant expansion of involvement by students and faculty in every aspect of this celebration in comparison with previous years. The working group also resolved to follow up during the coming weeks to review accomplished tasks and assignments for each member in order to maintain momentum.

Travis Stroh

Vice President, UIMF