Category Archives: 2014

Dr. Roger Kangas on “Post-2014 Afghanistan”

Utah Valley Student Clubs Host Dr. Roger Kangas, Expert on Afghanistan and Central Asia

From February 25th-28th Utah Valley University students will continue its established tradition of hosting respected dignitaries. The guest of honor will be Dr. Roger Kangas, one of the leading U.S. experts on Afghanistan and Central Asia. His visit is made possible through the efforts of students. The students themselves took care of all of the aspects related to Dr. Kangas’s visit: protocol, logistics, funds, etc

Dr. Kangas is currently the Academic Dean and a Professor of Central Asian Studies at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at National Defense University. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University. Previously Dr. Kangas served as a Professor of Central Asian Studies at the George C. Marshall Center for European Security in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; Deputy Director of the Central Asian Institute at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC; Central Asian Course Coordinator at the Foreign Service Institute for the U.S. Department of State; and as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Mississippi. Outside of Academia Dr. Kangas has been an advisor to the Combatant Commands, NATO/ISAF, the US Air Force Special Operations School, National Democratic Institute, USAID, and other US government agencies.   Dr. Kangas holds a B.S.F.S. in Comparative Politics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University.

On February 27th, 2014 at 10:00am Dr. Kangas will address a general audience at UVU in the Student Center room 213b. His remarks will be focused on Afghanistan Post-2014. At 6:30 in the evening on the 27th Dr. Kangas will also speak to faculty and students of the Center for Constitutional Studies at UVU. His time at UVU also includes meetings with faculty and students with the aim of developing mutually beneficial cooperation in research and establishing exchanges between UVU, National Defense University, and interested partners in Central Asia. Dr. Kangas will meet ROTC and Utah National Guard representatives paying particular attention those who served tours to Afghanistan.

Dr. Kangas’ visit to UVU is a part of an initiative at the University to establish and strengthen ties between Utah, UVU, and Central Asia. This ongoing partnership has included a large number of exchange visits between UVU faculty and students, legislative groups from Utah and Central Asian nations, and experts in the field of Central Asian studies. Recently UVU hosted a number of groups from Central Asia which included a delegation from Kyrgyzstan. This spring a legislative group from Utah is planning to pay a visit to both Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

This is a great opportunity to hear from one of the preeminent sources on Central Asian Studies. Dr. Kangas brings years of pragmatic experience in the field as well as a solid academic base and will be sharing some of his experiences with the students at UVU. The event will be highly interesting and educational. Dr. Kangas will be able to share his expert opinion and analysis in regards to the role of the United States in an increasingly tenuous situation in Afghanistan and what the future holds for the Afghan people.

Dr. Kangas

Dr. Roger Kangas, an Academic Dean and a professor at the U.S. National Defense University’s Near East and South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, September 03, 2010

At the same time, this visit will allow members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU to build close relationships with a great scholar and expert, to improve their professional skills in handling protocol, logistics and other important parts of diplomacy.

Financial support for the visit of Dr. Roger Kangas was provided by the Office of International Affairs and Diplomacy, Department of History and Political Science and the Center for Constitutional Studies at UVU.

Andrew Allen, member of UIMF 


Agenda and Organizing Committee  



Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) Speaks on Why Benghazi Matters


Why Benghazi matters

 Graham Miller, UVU student with Major in Political Science 

Congressman Jason Chaffetz in his presentation on Benghazi had several objectives to portray and solidify in the minds of those who were present. I will discuss these points influenced by his opinion, then try and relate these to the terms and trends learned in the previous sections we have learned. Rep. Chaffetz approach on presenting was to provide a very simple outline of the events that occurred in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. He explores the ‘before’, ‘during’, and ‘after’, putting specific blame on the United States government for their lack of response to the situation which would result in 4 U.S. citizens being killed in the terrorist attack, which he believed could very easily been avoided.

Using the method of historical analysis Rep. Chaffetz explained the political climate of Benghazi, and why it was at it’s current state of being through specific events. For example the United States helped N.A.T.O. to clean up the area of Benghazi, Libya a few years prior to the event through a military operation that would grant them the space needed to build an “Embassy” there. However once this embassy was erected, it would prove to be the target to 2 different terrorist attacks before the most devastating in September of 2012. Of these two attacks Rep. Chaffetz mentioned the lack of security, personnel, and follow-up on these attacks that were given. In fact, there was none. Alarmingly enough, there were also 2 separate attacks inflicted upon the Ambassador of Britain to Libya, and the Red Cross office. The difference, however, is that those separate attacks were clear enough signs of the unsafe conditions that they left. The United States would stay right where they were which would lead us to the fateful attack early in the morning on September 11, 2012.

Rep. Chaffetz being slightly short on time, and wanting to send home the main point was unable to go into profound detail of the event itself. He was however very keen on mentioning a few very important points he believed could have saved these people. The fact that there were multiple military bases in the proximity of an hour or so, and the response of relief took more than the amount of time it would for us, here in Orem, Utah to arrive to Benghazi. Not to mention that the attack itself was very brutal and that the establishment itself did not meet up to previously set regulations by the United States. We see with this attack which was premeditated by the Al Qaeda, is a clear witness of the radical hatred towards the United States as well as Christians.

Rep. Chaffetz was also quite upset with the aftermath of this event and with those feelings comes his main point, to make this known to the public. He wants justice to be served. The Obama administration has reacted to this event by simply saying it was not their fault, and that it was a ‘hoax’. The congressman passionately described the amount of propaganda he feels the United States is selling its citizens on this subject and others. The climax of this whole event is interestingly the lack thereof. Simply nothing has been done, and currently it looks as if Rep. Chaffetz is one of few, if not the only seeking truth and justice to be done on this matter. In light of this event, presentation, and the knowledge learned previously in our chapters of International Relations its becoming very clear the advantages of utilizing the different methods at our disposal. With a historical point of view we can draw conclusions that this was, or could have been foreseen by the already well known terrorist attacks that have come from our presence in the Middle East. To look at this from a Behavioral point of view, there was also plenty of evidence given where specific events recorded  protests of Americans even being in Libya. Thus we see that the techniques of International Relations could have played a role with the information which was given, had an acceptance by those in power, acted.

Personally, having been able to attend a presentation dealing directly with International Relations has opened my eyes to how we truly can foresee events by looking in the past, by looking at the cultural climate, and of course by watching the daily unfolding of events in a specific area. Also with how a Democracy in its modern day and age almost never is in accord with itself, causing these sorts of problems to take a longer amount of time to be acted upon and resolved.  My hope is that through continued study of current events, application of methods used in current International Relations class, I may one day be able to come to a position where I can help avoid a future problem, thanks to the tools and knowledge I’ve obtained through these studies.


An All Too Common Problem

Matthew Rand, UVU student with Major in Political  Science

When is a government bureaucracy too large and complex to handle simple tasks without a strenuous strain on resources and assets? This type of question would be one of many republican policy makers in the aftermath of the 2012 Benghazi tragedy. When U.S. government agencies start to believe their work takes precedence over those of their co-workers, they undermine the precious lines of communication within the government. Such lack of communication during precursors to the attack such as threats, a bombing at the consulate, and assassination attempts; so strong was the evidence of a danger, that it was failed to be prevented. These are just a few in over 300 documented security incidences. I am not bashing on any methods our government may use but in the words of Congressman Chaffetz in his recent visit to UVU, “Self Criticism is good for the nation.”

After the revolution and the fall of Gaddafi, Libya was ruled by militias. Not one militia but many. They consisted of non-centralized, local bands of everyday citizens taking up arms against the regime. This lack of central leadership would make perfect conditions for every militia to form its own agenda. Most may be secular but there is always room for extremists that claim they fight for Islam. Whether way some may say extremist groups were involved or not, the evidence of threats has been there the whole time. The first such occasion is a threat against Christopher Stevens. He enjoyed a morning run outside the embassy compound. Somebody seemed to take notice when his daily running route; publishing it on Facebook with a threat against him, but no extra security measures were taken.

The second incident occurred in April 2012, when a lone man detonated a bomb in the wall of the consulate compound. The damage was done and even though he was caught on camera, still no extra security was added other than local guards with Walkie-talkies. This was during a time when Clinton wanted to “normalize” foreign security by reducing U.S. troop presence and keeping a low profile with local security forces. Still after military advice from leaders such as LTC Andrew Wood to add more security, the agenda of the state department was placed before the security of its personnel.

The third instance came in June when an assignation attempt on the British ambassador in the form of a car bomb. That was the final push for the U.K. government, U.N., and Red Cross. They all pulled out of Libya as violence increased. Suggestions were made over and over again to the state department for the U.S. to withdraw, but the ultimate decision was made to stay.

The only time when one U.S. government agency not listening to another actually worked was during the attack; When U.S. Navy Seals near the site responded to help fend off attackers. They do not respond to the State department but which freed them from any state protocol for defending.

We can see that the lack of communication can inhibit tragedy prevention but the real problem comes today as fingers are being pointed of whom is at fault and contradicting broadcasts of a “planned” vs “spontaneous attack.” And If the U.S. wants to make better foreign relations then they need to form stronger relations within themselves between agencies.


International Mountain Day Celebration 2013

The Utah International Mountain Forum celebrated International Mountain Day at Utah Valley University. This has been the 4th time students, faculty, and distinguished guests gathered to participate in this event. The celebration was held on 5th, 6th, and 11th of December, 2012. Here is the Conference Program   Additional information about International Mountain Day celebration at UVU can be found at this link.



13-11-27-FINAL POSTER- Conference Poster

 Below are some of the greeting letters we have received from institutions both local and international expressing their support for International Mountain Day.

Letter from the Office of Global Engagement
13-12-03-Orem-IMD-LetterLetter from Orem City
13-11-25-montanaLetter from Montana Senate 13-12-05-From-KydyrovLetter from the Permanent Mission of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Nations
13-12-03-03.12.13_Rusty_ButlerLetter from the Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences 13-12-02-Letter-From-IUK To IMD-2013-12Letter from International University of Kyrgyzstan


SKYPE-Master Class Gruppman International Music Institute

Working Session of the Mountains Partnership members


Candra Days Trunk Show in Salt Lake City, part of the Mountain Day Celebration

13-12-09-ImpossibleDreams-smWednesday’s event, 11th December 2o13

 Presentation of Dr. Geoff Tabin at Utah Valley University


Photos of the IMD2013


2014 Essay Contest

Call for Papers 

The Fourth Annual Utah High School Essay Contest
The Family Farm in Mountain Communities
March 28, 2014

2014 is the International Year of Family Farming. In conjunction with this celebration, the Utah International Mountain Forum will again host its annual High School essay contest. The goal of this essay contest is to educate and engage the public on the issues of family farming, mountain life, and the ways we can serve and lift up our fellow man. Given Utah’s history of endurance, innovation, and success in cultivating a high mountain desert, and the recent troubles with drought and water shortages, this topic is particularly relevant today.

For more information on how to participate, click here