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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

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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

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68th UNCSC Outcome Document Focuses on Mountain Communities

On August 26-28, 2019, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), participated in the 68th United Nations (UN) Civil Society Conference (UNCSC) in Salt Lake City, Utah, to advocate for the empowerment of communities who live in mountainous areas. UIMF members hosted a workshop titled “Student Engaged Learning to Advocate for Mountain Women and Targets at UN ECOSOC forums” on August 28, 2019 and a booth during the duration of the UNCSC.  A major part of UIMF’s advocacy was to ensure that the UNCSC Outcome Document included language about mountains and their communities, as well as language about the importance of education in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Several dignitaries contributed to UIMF efforts: Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Kyrgyz President to the Kyrgyz Parliament, who brought a letter from the head of the country urging for the mountain language to be included in the final document of the UNCSC and Mrs. Julie Kofoed, Senior Manager for Social Sustainability with UN Global Compact, who advised coalition members how to achieve that goal not only with UNCSC final document, but also next year during the 64th session of the Commission on Status of Women.

(L to R): Ms. Amy Barnett, UVU office of Global Engagement, Mr. Miles Hansen, President, Utah World Trade Center, Mrs. Julie Kofoed, Senior Manager for Social Sustainability with UN Global Compact, Mr. William Gum, UIMF member and Mr. Michael Hinatsu, VP, UIMF during the conference 

Since 2016, UIMF has conducted similar advocacy campaigns to ensure such language was included in other UN forums on sustainability, including the 62nd and 63rdsessions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, as well as the 2018 High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development.

To prepare for this conference, Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, UIMF’s faculty mentor, and myself worked to analyze the various drafts of the Outcome Document to find places where we could insert language about women and girls in mountain and small island areas, as well as UVU’s student engaged learning model (SEL) and the empowerment of all learners as implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

 

Much of  our language submitted  to the draft Outcome document was not included in the final draft exactly as we suggested it in our submission; for example, UIMF’s language also included mention of the importance of empowering women and girls in mountain communities in particular, as well as empowering all learners, specifically nontraditional students, to implement the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

However, thanks to the efforts of UIMF members, UVU faculty, and key partners within the UN system, including from Kyrgyzstan and  NGOs, some of UIMF’s proposed language about mountains was included in the preamble of the 68th UNCSC Outcome Document in the following way: “We recognize the interdependence of rural and urban prosperity, as well as the need to address the specific conditions of mountainous areas and small island developing States.” 

Additionally, the document included language statingthe need to empower all generations with education, skills, and opportunities.”(R to L): Michael Hinatsu discusses proposed language about mountains to the UNCSC Outcome Document with Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Kyrgyz Parliament. 

During the UNCSC, I had the task and opportunity to monitor the progress of the Outcome Document and working to advocate during civil society caucuses and other meetings for UIMF’s language to be included in it. I divided time between my responsibilities with UIMF member William Gum-Causey to host Mrs. Julie Kofoed with my work of attending civil society and youth caucuses regarding the content of the Outcome Document drafts.

 

(R to L): Michael Hinatsu discusses proposed language about mountains to the UNCSC Outcome Document with Mr. Felipe Queipo, UN Department of Public Information   

With the help of Dr. Abdrisaev and in particular Mr. Richard Jordan, Dean of UN Non-governmental representatives, New York, Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Kyrgyz Parliament, and Mr. Felipe Queipo with the UN Department of Public Information, I was able to attend the most important caucus meetings and follow important advises on how best to raise awareness for UIMF language.

(L to R): Mr. Richard Jordan, William Gum and Michael Hinatsu discuss  proposed language about mountains to the UNCSC Outcome Document.  

I attended one such caucus on Tuesday, August 27, which was moderated by the UNCSC Chair, Mrs. Maruxa Cardama. During this town hall meeting, I was able to address Mrs. Cardama and the other moderators about the importance of including mountains in the Outcome Document, since mountains and their communities, especially women and girls, suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change, as well as poverty and food insecurity. I also addressed the need to include all leaners, not just youth, in the Outcome Document, as part of implementation of SDG target 4.7. I similarly attended one of the sessions of the youth caucus to monitor the progress of the UNCSC Youth Climate Compact.

I am very grateful to Mr. Jordan, Dr. Abdrisaev, and my fellow UIMF members, as well as all others who helped UIMF to advocate for its language to be included in the UNCSC Outcome Document. On behalf of UIMF, I also very much thank UVU, in particularly the Office of Global Engagement, for assisting UIMF to attend the UNCSC and providing the groundwork by which UIMF connected with NGOs, diplomats, and others to conduct our advocacy work. Such work shows the effectiveness of civil society partnerships and UVU’s SEL model to empower students to implement the 2030 Agenda both locally and on a global level.

UIMF is preparing under SEL to attend the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2020, with the goal of ensuring that similar language will be included in that forum’s final document.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President

Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev Speaks at UVU About Reforms in Kyrgyzstan

Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev speaks before Comparative Politics of Central Asia class

Kurmanbek Diykanbaev, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic to the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament of Kyrgyzstan), visited Utah from August 21 to 28, 2019 to represent his government at the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference (UNCSC) in Salt Lake City and speak at the workshop there hosted by the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU). Along with  participating in the conference, Mr. Dyikanbaev also was able to hold meetings with students and members of UVU faculty. One of the classes he visited was the Comparative Politics of Central Asia Class, taught by Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, on August 23rd. This class, entirely focused on Central Asia, was a perfect forum for Mr. Dyikanbaev to talk about the Kyrgyz Republic and its history, politics, and role in the Central Asian region.

Mr. Diykanbaev presented for about 30 minutes, with Dr. Abdrisaev translating from Russian to English. During this time, Mr. Dyikanbaev talked about Kyrgyzstan’s role in the Soviet Union, how decisions were made during Soviet times. Personally, I found the discussion on decentralization and decision-making in the USSR to be rather interesting. Mr. Dyikanbaev, though a veterinarian by trade, is an expert on decentralization and how rights are redistributed in his country with empowering municipalities. It was very interesting to hear his perspective on decentralization, especially in Kyrgyzstan, which is my country of focus.

Mr. Dyikanbaev also touched on the governmental structure of Kyrgyzstan, which has changed quite drastically since the dissolution of the USSR. Mr. Dyikanbaev specifically talked about the role of the parliament in the new system, which was interesting to listen about. Mr. Dyikanbaev has worked both as a deputy of parliament and currently as the President’s representative to the parliament, so he was able to discuss the role of the legislature from a variety of perspectives. It was interesting to hear him talk specifically about the transition from a government specifically centered around the president to a government where the parliament holds the majority of the power. After Kyrgyzstan’s 2010 violent regime change, the government shifted to a parliamentary model with the adoption of a new constitution. This constitution also severely limited the power of the executive branch. It was interesting to hear Mr. Diykanbaev talk about the relationship between the executive and the legislative branches of Kyrgyzstan, and I am sure many of my colleagues in the class felt similarly.

Group photo with Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev

Having Mr. Dyikanbaev in our class was an excellent way to start the semester. Not only was he an important figure from Kyrgyzstan visiting Utah, he had a plethora of regional knowledge and insight to share with our class, which is solely focused on Central Asia. Though I was able to work with Mr. Diykanbaev throughout his time in Utah and during the UNCSC in particular, listening to his lecture in the class was surely a highlight of my interaction with him.

Samuel Elzinga, President, Utah International Mountain Forum

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Kanyon Lee-Learning about Kyrgyzstan from Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev

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Sariah Gomez-Lecture of the Kyrgyz official at Utah Valley University

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Abdulrahman Alghanmi-Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaevs visit to Utah Valley University

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Cory Levin-Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev speaks about Kyrgyzstan at UVU

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Austin Meline On Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev’s visit to Utah Valley

Utah Valley University strengthens cooperation with Kyrgyzstan through Mountain Partnership

Utah Valley University (UVU) faculty and students at Osh market

Utah Valley University delegation, comprised of six students and two faculty members, visited Kyrgyzstan through a study abroad program during August 2-12, 2019. The delegation included: Dr. Lynn England, director, Peace and Justice Program; Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, lecturer, department of history and political science and students: Hannah Elizabeth Peay, Sarah May Michaelis, Hayley Michelle Conant, Victoria Ann Bindrup, Graham Nicholas Taggart, and Steven Barrett Thompson.

The main goal of the visit was to get delegation members acquainted with the process of strengthening Kyrgyzstan as an independent nation, including the study of its history and culture. Additionally, the visit allowed UVU to strengthen cooperation established since 2006 with several partners in Kyrgyzstan, through the angle of joint advocacy of the United Nations sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda.

Before coming to Kyrgyzstan, the UVU delegation visited Moscow under the same program by the invitation of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS). During the visit to Moscow from July 24 until August 1, 2019, delegation members were able to learn more about different aspects of political and economic life in Russia and also to discuss further cooperation between UVU and RANS at the United Nations Economic and Social Council to advocate jointly the UN SMD agenda.

Information agency “Kabar” provided hosts services to organize meetings for the American delegation with local academic partners, representatives of business, political scientists and officials of the country.

Within the cultural activities of the itinerary, UVU faculty and students have the opportunity to get acquainted with places of interest in Bishkek, like visiting museums and orphanages in the capital of the country. Delegates visited Ala-Archa gorge as well.

UVU faculty and students and their hosts at Ala-Archa gorge

During the meeting with Mr. Almazbek Akmataliev, director of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, UVU students were able to learn about administrative system of the Kyrgyz Republic, training of the personnel in the country and the role used by the Academy in reforming administrative system of the country.

UVU delegation members and their hosts during the meeting with Mr. Almazbek Akmataliev, director of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic

During the meeting with director of Kyrgyz National Kabar News Agency, Mr. Kubanychbek Taabaldiev informed the UVU delegation about the role of media in the advancement of reforms within the country, including in the improvement of livelihoods of the mountain communities, alongside their development and cooperation with media outlets in other mountain nations.

UVU delegation members and their hosts during the meeting with Mr. Kubanychbek Taabaldiev, director of Kabar News Agency

Dr. Almazbek Atabekov, Chair, Department of Management at Osh Technological University  informed UVU delegation  about history of Osh, cooperation of the OshTU with other mountain countries and especially with academic institutions in Central Asian region. He also reported about cooperation, established since 2012 between OshTU and UVU; at that time the two academic institutions joint hosted in the Osh city international conference on the impact of climate change on the lives of the mountain communities. In addition, he outlined main priorities in a mutually beneficial cooperation between OshTU and UVU in the areas of SMD, especially water, environmental issues, etc.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Dr. Almazbek Atabekov, Chair, Department of management at Osh Technological University

During the meeting with Dr. Dr. Bolot Moldobekov, co-director of the Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences, American faculty and students were able to learn new data about climate change as an emerging challenge for the mountain countries, and Kyrgyzstan in particular. Dr. Moldobekov also dedicated time to the report by using the Kyrgyz Republic as an example, about scientific solutions for different challenges faced by the mountain countries.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Dr. Bolot Moldobekov, co-director of the Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences

During the meeting with Ms. Nurgul Asanova, Vice-Chair of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic,UVU delegates learned about judicial system of the Kyrgyz Republic and its differences from the ones in neighboring countries. She also shared information about current reform in the judicial branch of power, structure of the Supreme Court, and about its main activities. In turn, students inquired about the level of confidence among the populace to the courts and what kind of measures are undertaken to increase it.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Ms. Nurgul Asanova, Vice-Chair of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic

UVU delegation visit to Kyrgyzstan would be incomplete without meeting with representatives of business. For that purpose, UVU delegates visited the office of the International Business Council of KyrgyzstanMr. Askar Sydykov, its executive director described the role of business in the economic development of Kyrgyzstan. He also shared information about conditions, created in the country to attract large business companies, challenges, experienced by businesses in this mountain country and what is undertaken for development of business in Kyrgyzstan.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Mr. Askar Sydykov, executive director of the International Business Council of Kyrgyzstan

UVU delegation used an opportunity to visit a new campus of the American University in Central Asia. AUCA manager Diora Khakimhodjaeva served them as a campus tour guide and informed them about universities education programs.

UVU students during the tour at the campus of the American University in Central Asia.

During the meeting with Mr. Harry Linden, head of USAID in the Kyrgyz Republic, UVU delegates learned what kind of assistance is provided by the US administration to promote reforms in the Kyrgyz Republic; major programs functioning and implemented in the country and in the mountain regions in particular. Mr. Linden also described USAID plans for the future.

UVU delegation members after the meeting with Mr. Harry Linden, head of USAID in the Kyrgyz Republic

Mr. Maksat Damir Uulu, head of the Department of tourism under the Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic informed UVU delegation about tourism development in Kyrgyzstan, as a country located at the Great Silk Road. He also described major activities of the department to implement the program of development of tourism in the country.

UVU delegation members after the meeting with Mr. Maksat Damir Uulu, head of the Department of tourism under the Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic.

During the meeting with Mr. Edil Osmonbetov, international affair expert, UVU faculty and students learned about foreign policy of the Kyrgyz Republic since the country’s independence. The Kyrgyz expert described in detail about major challenges which the country has faced while strengthening its independence and major efforts undertaken for the development of a full-fledged democratic society in the country.

UVU delegation members and hosts after the meeting with Mr. Edil Osmonbetov, political expert

During the visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UVU delegation was informed about the role of the Ministry in development of cooperation with the United States. Mr. Seyit Ubukeev, director of the fifth political department of the MFA informed delegates about activities of his department under the umbrella of the Mountain Partnership, including a cooperation with other mountain countries. Mr. Karybaev Mirbek, MFA desk officer for the United States informed UVU delegates about main activities in bilateral cooperation with USA.

UVU delegation members and hosts during the meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic

UVU delegation also met with Mr. Parhat Tulendybaev, deputy of the Kyrgyz Parliament from the party «Republic-Ata-Jurt». Mr. Tulendybaev informed students and faculty about activities of the Parliament, its peculiarities, and specifics of the lawmaking process in the country.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Mr. Parhat Tulendybaev, deputy of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic

The UVU delegation was provided an opportunity to visit Issyk-Kul lake and on the way there to see Burana Tower, which belongs to the epoch of the Karakhanid empire of the XI century near the city Tokmok. At the Issyk-Kul lake, the UVU delegation met Mr. Danir Imanaliev, head of Issyk-Kul State Administration. Mr. Imanaliev informed guests about his region, measures undertaken to develop tourism and cooperation with other mountain nations and sister-cities, including with the State of Washington in the United States.

UVU delegation members and their hosts during the meeting with Mr. Danir Imanaliev, head of the Issyk-Kul region

During the meeting with Mr. Kurmanbek Diykanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, the UVU delegation learned about experiences of Kyrgyzstan in the development of its parliamentary democracy. Mr. Diykanbaev reported also about the initiative of the President of Kyrgyzstan, to develop regions of the country, which resulted in declaring 2018 as the Year of Development of Regions of the country, and 2019 – as the Year of Development and Digitization of Regions. He also informed UVU delegates about their achievements within the latest initiatives of the head of state.

UVU delegation members after the meeting with Mr. Kurmanbek Diykanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic

A very brief but intense visit of UVU faculty and students to the Kyrgyz Republic was finished on August 12, 2019. Knowledge and experiences gained during numerous presentations and meetings with officials, experts, businessman and by personally observing political life in the country, demonstrated to UVU delegates that the Kyrgyz Republic continues and intends to continue its uneasy path of building a democratic society despite numerous economic, political, and environmental challenges and obstacles. Both sides expressed their desire to continue their joint cooperation to improve economic conditions of mountain communities in both countries through educational programs with youth involvement in particular.

UVU delegation members and their hosts at Ruh Ordo Cultural Center, Issyk Kul Lake

Ermek Abdrisaev

Kabar News Agency

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Victoria Bindrup-UVU Students Visit Kyrgyz Republic

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Steven Thompson-UVU Students Work to Develop Cooperative Relations Between Utah And Kyrgyzstan

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Hannah Peay-My visit to Kyrgyzstan

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2018 Annual Report of the Mountain Partnership highlights UIMF

2018 Annual Report of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat highlighted Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF) efforts  “… to raise global awareness of issues affecting mountain women at the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), held at the United Nations Headquarters in March 2018” (P.5). The Mountain Partnership is a United Nations voluntary alliance of partners dedicated to improving the lives of mountain peoples and protecting mountain environments around the world.”

This was one more recognition of efforts of members of the UIMF, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) to advocate for the sustainable mountain development agenda in the State of Utah and the UN. 11 UVU students led by Matthew Rands, President of UIMF, Derek Garfield, Vice President, UIMF and myself  contributed to the CSW63 agenda by hosting a  side- and a parallel events and submitting a written statement, which was distributed as an official document of ECOSOC during March 19-21-2018.  UIMF members advocate the SMD agenda through the student engaged learning model by addressing real-world problems of mountain communities as a group with a faculty serving them as a mentor.

The 2018 Annual Report of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat also mentioned, that the UIMF “… highlighted issues affecting mountain women, who are among the poorest in the world and the most vulnerable to challenges such as climate change and outmigration.”

Dylan Genes, Vice President, UIMF

UVU Students and Study Abroad in Russia and Kyrgyzstan

Two faculty and six students from Utah Valley University are promoting  the sustainable mountain development agenda and activities through UVU partners in the Russian Federation and Kyrgyzstan.

Delegation members promote UVU in Moscow

They  are hosted by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS) in Moscow, Russian Federation, and the Kyrgyz National State Agency Kabar in Bishkek , the Kyrgyz Republic.  The UVU study abroad group will visit both sites during July 23 – August 13 2019

UVU delegation at Red Square in Moscow

Delegation includes the following individuals: 1). Dr. Lynn England, Director, Peace and Justice Program at UVU; 2). Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, Lecturer, History and Political Science department at UVU; 3). Victoria Ann Bindrup; 4). Hayley Michelle Conant; 5). Sarah May Michaelis; 6). Hannah Elizabeth Peay; 7). Graham Nicholas Taggart; 8). Steven Barrett Thompson,

Barrett Thompson and Sarah Michaels at the Exhibition of National Economy Achievements (ВДНХ) 

Samuel Elzinga, President, Utah International Mountain Forum

 

2019 Issue of the Youth and the Mountains Journal

The 2019 issue of the Youth and the Mountains  journal  consists of the research of undergraduate students from Utah Valley University (UVU) on certain aspects Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) as part of their efforts to advocate for implementation of three mountain targets under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 2019 issue will be presented to the participants of the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference (UNCSC2019) in Salt Lake City during August 26-28, 2019.

The first section of this issue includes a copy of the written statement made by UVU students during the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), which advocated for mountain women and girls to be in the focus of the UN. Another document in this section is a copy of the extension of remarks of Congressman Ben McAdams, who highlighted students’ efforts at the UN in promoting the mountain agenda.

The second section is comprised of student papers that focus on different SMD topics in the state of Utah and in the United States. These papers study such issues as sustaining economic growth in Utah by balancing the growth of tourism and economic development; the importance for the US to address sexual assault crimes experienced by indigenous peoples; contribution of infrastructure for sustainable development in Utah; and how the IT industry has contributed to economic development of Utah County.

The third section addresses the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and mountain targets in such countries as Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, and Russian Federation. Two papers study challenges in the implementation of the SDGs and mountain targets in war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq. The last paper studies the role of the potato for the sustainable life of mountain communities in Peru and globally.

The advising faculty members of the journal provided students an opportunity to implement the student engaged learning model in publishing this journal.

Deann Torsak, Editor-in-chief of the journal 

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2019 issue of the Youth and the Mountains  journal

UVU Rotaract contributes to the Positive Peace Building in Utah

On June 26th, 2019, I had the opportunity on behalf of the Utah Valley University Rotaract to attend the Positive Peace Building conference held by Utah’s Positive Peace Action Group. Attending this conference were representatives from 18 different Utah Rotary clubs ranging from Cache County’s Logan Rotary Club to the Rotary Club of St. George. Many of these clubs were able to attend in person, others were able to join the conversation via video conference capabilities. The purpose of the meeting was to raise awareness of the Positive Peace movement as well as gain additional support among the many Rotary clubs from Utah.

Jose Velasco, Midvale Rotaract Club Adviser speaks before the participants of the meeting 

Positive peace, an action group existing within the rotary organization, is designed to help bring lasting peace to countries all over the world. Within Rotary International there are a variety of different action groups, all designed to help focus on certain areas that help to support people across the globe. As Rotary International has pushed to be able to aid people in all walks of life, they have strived to teach a system of peace that will be one created from the ground up, supported by the people of the individual countries that these efforts are being led in.

Positive peace is a special definition of the word peace that helps to give a more significant meaning. Positive peace stands in contrast to negative peace. Negative peace is simply the existence of peace due to lack of conflict. The peace comes and goes with no system to support it. However, positive peace is the active decision making of everyday members of society to chose to live in harmony with those around them. Positive peace seeks to grow and attain a level of consistency within a community, society, and eventually hold firm across the world.

Kyle Warren during the meeting

A variety of Utah Rotary Clubs have given endless hours in pursuit of positive peace. Many of these efforts have been to help the people of the South American nation of Columbia. Working with local Rotary clubs from Columbia, the positive peace movement has focused on educating Columbian Youth on the effects of positive peace as well as their role in the pursuit of Global peace. The efforts to teach positive peace have not been conducted merely by members of the Utah Rotary. Instead, it is the Columbian Rotary leaders that have led the charge in their own country to help their youth come to a better understanding of how to lead their nation into a time of peace. Brayden Fairbourn, President of the Midvale Rotaract, spoke extensively on the history of violence within Columbia and how the efforts of the Positive Peace Action Group have played out in the nation thus far.

Peace is a significant subject on the minds of Governments and world leaders from countries all over the world. This can be seen in the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable development goals that have been agreed upon in recent years as critical areas of focus for members of the United Nations. Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, UVU Rotaract adviser spoke on this briefly towards the end of the meeting.

During the conversation about peace, emphasis was placed on educating the rotary clubs on this positive peace movement so that they could also become involved and grow this important effort. Clubs were encouraged to have their members go to www.Rotarypositivepeace.org and complete the one-hour Positive Peace Academy training. In doing this, local Rotary clubs will be able to contribute to the Positive Peace Building in Utah and help to support this important global endeavor.

Event participants agreed to hold a report meeting during March 2020 to feature the initiatives and projects that the Utah Rotary Clubs created.

Kyle Warren, President, UVU Rotaract

UIMF to Advocate for Mountain Women at the 68th UN Civil Society Conference

On May 15, 2019, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), received approval from the United Nations (UN) to host three workshops during the 2019 UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah which will be held on August 26-28, 2019.

The workshops will highlight how UVU’s successful student engaged learning model empowers all learners, including non-traditional students, to advocate for mountain women and girls under the UN 2030 Development Agenda, as well as to address issues of sustainable development within their own communities.

The first workshop is titled “Implementation of Mountain Targets through Student Engaged Learning in North American and Globally” and it will feature presentations by Dr. Ross E. Butler, main representative at the UN of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, an NGO in general consultative status with ECOSOC; Mr. Kurmanbek Diykanbaev, special representative of the President to the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic; and Dr. Sara Ulloa, Chair of the Department of languages at Utah Valley University.

The speakers will highlight how Utah Valley University developed a co-curricular student engaged learning model to advocate for the United Nations Sustainable Mountain Development Agenda since 2007 and implementation of mountain targets since 2016 in the state of Utah and such mountain countries as Kyrgyzstan and Peru.

SHORT BIOS AND STATEMENTS:

Dr. Butler 

    Mr. Dyikanbaev 

    Dr. Ulloa

The second workshop is titled “Utah International Mountain Forum Leaders on promoting mountain targets through student engaged learning since 2011.” It will feature presentations by John McClure, who was the first President of UIMF during 2011-2012; Tony Medina, who served the UIMF in several capacities during his tenure with the organizations (2014-2016), including, VP of Protocol and Logistics, and President; and Jesler Molina who was the President of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF) during 2013-2015. The speakers of UIMF throughout the years will discuss the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 by UIMF in interaction with mountain targets during 2011-2015.

SHORT BIOS AND STATEMENTS:

Mr. McClure     

Mr. Medina 

Mr. Molina

The third workshop is titled “Student Engaged Learning to Advocate for Mountain Women and Targets at UN ECOSOC forums,” and wiil feature presentations by William Gum, Megan Davis, myself, as members of UIMF delegation to the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2019.

SHORT BIOS AND STATEMENTS:

Mr. Hinatsu     

Mr. Gum Causey

The UN civil Society Conference will provide UIMF members a great opportunity not only to advocate for the mountain targets,  women and communities, but to include a relevant language in the final document of the forum.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President

Path to the State Department and UN Internships Goes through UIMF

 

On April 23, 2019 I received an email communication from the US Department of State confirming that I had been selected as an Intern in the extremely competitive State Department Internship program for Fall 2019. This program receives thousands of applications per semester, and many are disappointed when they are not selected. I had previously applied for the Summer 2019 program but had not been selected. With my new application for the Fall 2018, I focused far more attention on my activities with the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) and this was a major factor in landing the internship.

(L to R): Brandon Pedler, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN, Ambassador Jan Kickert, Dr. Geoffrey Cockerham, Associate Professor at UVU and William Gum-Casey, UVU student 

When I started with UIMF about a year ago, I did not know that it would be one of the defining moves of my career as a student, and what experiences it would enable me to have. I thought of it simply as another club on campus, and something to add to the resumé with little to no work. UIMF advocates the United Nations Sustainable mountain development agenda in the State of Utah and North America since 2011. These thoughts were quickly dispelled as I found myself attending and contributing to the agendas and activities of high-level political forums of the United Nations and panels with distinguished diplomats such as Director of Outreach in the UN Department of Public Information, Mr.Maher Nasser,   Permanent Representative of Tajikistan to the UN, Ambassador Mahmadaminov, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN, Ambassador Jan Kickert, and Consul General of Azerbaijan, Mr. Nasimi Aghayev among others. I have written several write-ups and papers, one of which is pending publication in the 2019 edition of the Youth in the Mountain Journal on Sustainable Development in Afghanistan.

All of these things were of great interest to the State Department. A short time after, I received a call from both of the bureaus to which I had applied. Both mentioned that they were very interested in the work that I had done with UIMF in helping to host and evaluate the visits of foreign dignitaries. One bureau offered me a conditional internship during the interview, and the other only a few short hours later after they had finished their other interviews. Now that I have received the official offer from the Internship Office, I can begin to prepare to work in the US Mission to the UN in New York City. I am also proud to continue a tradition for UIMF to help several other members to intern at an international level: in October-December, 2013, UIMF President Joseph McCain  was an intern at the Permanent Mission of Kyrgyzstan to the UN and in January April 2016, Yanko Dzhukev  was the first UVU intern at FAO-UN in Rome, Italy and then during May-August, 2016, Yanko Dzhukev became the first UVU intern at the United Nations Secretariat, within the Office of Legal Affairs at the UN headquarters in New York.

I am especially grateful to the UIMF and Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, UIMF mentor for the club, and for the opportunities they have made available, and doors that they have opened for me. This would not have been possible without my fellow UIMF students, and the great faculty at Utah Valley University.

Brandon Pedler, President German Club at UVU