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The Women of the Mountains conference organizing committee held their first Fundraiser last Saturday, August 29 at the Pacific Heritage Academy (http://phlearning.org) in Rose Park, Utah. “Pacific Heritage Academy is a DBA of Pacific Heritage Schools, a Utah Not-for-profit entity and a registered 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Pacific Heritage Schools received authorization in 2011 from the Utah State Office of Education to operate a public charter school, to be called Pacific Heritage Academy, in the Salt Lake City School District beginning in the Fall of 2012.”
This event would not have been possible without the generous in-kind donations, sponsors and volunteers, under the leadership of Kamaile Harris, Salt Lake City Liaison for the WOMC organizing committee, who created and coordinated the event. Kamaile Harris is a community leader who promotes sustainable ways of life through networking, building coalitions and partnerships in the area of Salt Lake City. She was thrilled to be a part of the organizing committee of the WOMC by organizing the fundraising event at the Pacific Heritage Academy to contribute to both the success of the WOMC and the activities of the United Nations affiliated Mountain Partnership with focus on sustainable mountain development.
(L to R): Kamaile Harris and Jennifer Starley
Great support to her was provided by Jenny Starley, PR and Fundraising for the WOMC organizing committee. The event was a great example for many UVU students of building long-term engaged learning experience through cooperation with local communities in Salt Lake City area.
There was a tremendous amount of support from local sponsors to make the event a success. Participants attempted to outbid each other at the silent auction which included over $4,000 in generous in-kind donations from local organizations, artists, individuals and sponsors. Even vegetables were donated by High Desert Produce Co. from West Valley City, Utah.
(L to R): Lisa Shepherd, member of the organizing committee of the WOMC with Alex Azmi, Director of the Documentary “To Climb A Cold Mountain”
Upon conclusion of the reception and closing of the silent auction, the guests and participants were treated to a screening of the documentary, To Climb A Gold Mountain (http://www.goldmountainmovie.com.) The movie was generously donated and attended by the Director and Producer, Alex Azmi, from Los Angeles, California. Mr. Azmi provided a QA after the screening where participants were able to further discuss the film’s compelling subject matter of the triumphs and struggles of Asian women in the United States throughout different eras.
Guests of the event inspect items for bidding
Participants were greeted by Genre Zero, a local music band from Rose Park, Utah. The reception included Asian Fusion vegan food samplings from Jennifer Russell-Fenus of SLCVeganista’s Kitchen. Participants enjoyed; eggless egg foo young with mushroom brown sauce, rice, vegan egg rolls and Thai tea.
The fundraiser volunteer staff; Jim Boswell, Thelma Rother and Manda Lujan are some of the best local experienced event staff in the Salt Lake area community. Hamyanie Gustafson is a Seventh grade student at Pacific Heritage Academy who also volunteered and was a great example of hard work.
(L to R): Event Volunteers Thelma Rother and Hamyanie Gustafson serve Refreshments to the guests of the Fundraiser.
Many members of the organizing committee of the Women of the Mountains conference were happy to volunteer during the event, including Deann Torsak, executive secretary of the conference, Tony Medina, VP for logistics and protocol among others.
The fundraiser brought a new awareness to our guests about the critical issues faced by women and overall gender inequality living in the mountain areas in particular. The organizing committee of the Women of the Mountains conference concluded their successful event by announcing the funds which were raised of just over $1,200.
Genre Zero’s Band Manager and Vocalist, Joshua Isbell has given organizing committee of the Women of the Mountains conference permission to utilize their song, Berry Blossom, in an upcoming promotional video. The song talks of growing gardens and sharing our bounty, which is in line with Women of the Mountains values to live sustainably.
This was the first experience with fundraising benefitting gender and SMD agendas of the United Nations. Next one Kamaile and her team would like to host after the WOMC and to contribute to the efforts of Sagar Basnet, Utah Valley University student from Nepal, who helps to rebuild school in his village. They already started preparations for that and some items for bidding were already sold during fundraiser on August 29, 2015 with those goals. We wish Kamaile, Jennifer and their team success.
Stacy Medina, member of the organizing committee of the WOMC
Join us for this Women of the Mountains UVU Fundraiser. It is a preview of the subject matter we will be presenting at the conference in October.
Here is the agenda:
6 to 7 pm
Refreshments by SLC Veganista’s Kitchen
Music by Empty Set Records
7 to 730 pm
Read of Silent Auctions
730 to 830 pm
Film Screening of “To Climb a Gold Mountain” Directed by Alex Azmi and Produced by Rebecca Hu.
830 to 9 pm
Q&A with Director Alex Azmi
Announcement of Funds raised
The Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah contributed to the 2015 International Women of the Mountains Conference by designing the conference poster.
We appreciate their support of the conference and the Sustainable Mountain Development agenda
Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, Dr. Rusty Butler, Dr. David Connelly
Utah Valley University (UVU) will hold the Fourth International Women of the Mountains Conference (2015 WOMC) on October 7-9, 2015. UVU traditionally co-hosts the WOMC with the International University of Kyrgyzstan as a gathering to advocate gender and sustainable mountain development (SMD) agendas under the auspice of the Mountain Partnership (MP) under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN). MP is a United Nations voluntary alliance of partners dedicated to improving the lives of mountain people and protecting mountain environments around the world. (For more information, see: http://www.mountainpartnership.org/)
One main feature of all WOMCs is their focus on raising awareness about the importance of gender and sustainable mountain development agendas of the United Nations throughout local communities in the state of Utah and the Rocky Mountains region as well as their contribution to the efforts of the MP on a global level. Another important goal of the WOMC is to continue traditions of gender advocacy established by international communities during the Celebrating Mountain Women conference in Bhutan in 2002 (part of the commemoration of the United Nations International Year of Mountains.)
The First WOMC hosted in Orem UT in 2007 gathered representatives from almost all the Rocky Mountain States and emphasized the importance of regional cooperation in contributing to gender and SMD advocacy globally. The Second WOMC hosted again in Orem, UT in 2011, continued the tradition of the previous gathering and at the same time helped to expand a network of the Mountain Partnership members in North America. As one of the results of the 2011 conference, the Mountain Partnership secretariat created a North American regional hub in Colorado State under the auspice of Aspen International Mountain Foundation and Telluride Institute.
The Third WOMC held in Puno, Peru in 2012 was the first gathering held outside of the state of Utah, implementing the decisions of the Orem Declaration of Mountain Women (the final document of the 2007 WOMC) to alternate the location of the conference between the State of Utah and mountain nations around the world.
WOMC is a grass-roots initiative which unites officials from different international organizations, led by the United Nations, the World Bank, diplomats, scholars and leaders of NGOs, educators, students and local community representatives. Their goal is to network, socialize and discuss joint initiatives and projects with a focus on engagement in global gender and SMD advocacy mountain communities from North America.What should we expect from the coming Fourth International Women of the Mountains conference on October 7-9, 2015?
This conference will be hosted for the first time by students from the State of Utah. In 2011, Utah Valley University students created the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of several student clubs with a focus on SMD promotion in their state and in the region (www.utahimf.org)They already have several achievements in that area:
- UVU students contributed research to the Report on SMD in North America, prepared by the Mountain Partnership for the landmark United Nations RIO+20 conference in Brazil in 2012.
- They were able to raise funds to send representative to the RIO+20 conference and to participate at the Third Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership as a side event there.
- Two UVU student contributed to the agenda of the Fourth Global Meeting of the MP in 2013 which developed strategies for SMD advocacies by MP members in 2014-2017.
- They advocated for the inclusion of mountain indicators among Sustainable Development Goals during sessions of several United Nations Open Working Groups in 2013-2014.
- Since 2010, they made a tradition to commemorate the United Nations International Mountain Day on December 1.
- Since 2011 they host an annual essay-contest on different SMD aspects among high schools in the state of Utah as a tool to foster new leaders for future SMD programs.
The student led initiative to host 2015 WOMC is based on UVU’s engaged learning approach which is “….in the spirit of the Carnegie Foundation designation, designed to help realize the two engagement categories that UVU has achieved:
- Curricular Engagement (Curricular Engagement describes the teaching, learning, and scholarship that engages faculty, students, and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration. Their interactions address community identified needs, deepen students’ civic and academic learning, enhance community well-being, and enrich the scholarship of the 2015 Carnegie Elective Community;
- Outreach and Partnerships (Outreach and Partnerships describe two different but related approaches to community engagement. The first focuses on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use with benefits to both campus and community. The latter focuses on collaborative interactions with community and related scholarship for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration, and application of knowledge, information, and resources (research, capacity building, economic development, etc.) (http://www.uvu.edu/gel/about/index.html)
During preparations for the conference, UVU students were able to expand their coalition by including in their organizing committee community organizers from Salt Lake City, Utah County and their peers from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, among others. Many of them are learning very important skills of managing logistics, protocol, and raising funds for the conference.
The organizing committee represents students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Many of them combine a membership in the organizing committee with their university study, full-time jobs and taking care of their own families.If you are interested in supporting them or wish to contribute to the conference and be a part of supporting student’s engaged learning experience at UVU, see for more details at: http://womenofthemountains.org/index.php/2015-utah-usa.
For additional questions please contact the following members of the organizing committee:
Deann Torsak, Executive Secretary of the Conference by: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Tony Medina, VP for Logistics and Protocol by: email@example.com;
Jennifer Starley, Press-Secretary and Fundraising by: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Yanko Dzhukev, Social Media coordinator by: email@example.com;
Kamaile Harris, Salt Lake City Liaison by: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Carlos Alarco, Liaison at University of Utah by: email@example.com;
Mary Cisneros, Economic Panel Moderator by: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Kiersten Palmer, Business Fair Coordinator by: KPalmer@uvu.edu;
Parker Nielsen, Head of Protocol by: email@example.com;
If you are interested in receiving the weekly WOMC newsletter, please contact Gabrielle Williamson, media specialist by GabrielleW@uvu.edu;
Dr.Baktybek Abdrisaev, was Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the U.S. and Canada (1997-2005), now Distinguished Visiting Professor of History and Political Science at Utah Valley University and an Advisor to UIMF, Dr. Rusty Butler, Associate Vice-President, International Affairs and Diplomacy and focal point (coordinator) for the Mountain Partnership at UVU, and Dr. David Connelly, Chair, Department of History and Political Science, UVU, and Editor-in-Chief of the “Youth and the Mountains” journal, published by UVU.
UIMF Introduces Women of the Mountains Conference at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics
Members of the Utah International Mountain Forum made a presentation titled: “Women of the Mountains 2015 conference and Students Engagement” to students at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics on April 16, 2015. They also extended an invitation to the University of Utah students to join with UVU in participating in the WOM Conference by making presentations, being members of the organizing committee, or moderating panels.
Jesler Molina, President of the Utah International Mountain Forum introduced the presenters and thanked Associate Director Jane Nelson for the opportunity to speak to the University of Utah. Jesler also explained what the International Mountain Forum is, the main focus of the UIMF coalition is, including promoting the United Nations agenda on sustainable mountain development. Jesler presented the upcoming Women of the Mountains Conference and then introduced a video that illustrated the work the UIMF has done and highlighted some of the student members of the club.
Jesler introduced Deann Torsak, Vice President of Cultural Affairs of the UIMF who presented the panels that are being organized and explained the topics, including Transmitting Family Values, Heritage and Culture, Education of Women and Children, and Climate Change and Gender. Deann also invited students to participate by assist in moderating the panels for the conference.
I spoke about the objectives for the WOM Conference to the audience, explaining the important goal of including other educational institutions such as the University of Utah. Other goals include engaging local communities in the conference and establish partnerships with NGOs from around the world and to strengthen ties with the United Nations, UNWomen, the World Bank and the US State Department. She also explained the goal to bring women in business from around the world to speak on behalf of women in their countries and expose them to business opportunities here in Utah.
Kiersten Dumas, Vice President of Community Outreach for the UIMF followed. Keirsten thanked the Hinkley Institute and the University for hosting the delegation from UVU, she highlighted some of the opportunities members of the UIMF have had in recent months to present the conference to other organizations such as the United Nations, UNWomen, and the US State Department. Kiersten reported on the recent High School Essay Contest which allowed local high school students to write and present their research on sustainable mountain development and women’s issues. Kiersten emphasized the importance of including youth and engaging local communities to promote the agenda of sustainable mountain development.
Jesler concluded by explaining how success can be achieved in hosting the WOM Conference and bring recognition of student activities to the United Nations. He emphasized the way to ensure success is through joint student involvement from other schools, like the University of Utah. The panel then concluded by answering questions from the audience.
Deena Ainge, President, Sustainable Mountain Development Club at UVU, and Deann Torsak, executive secretary, Women of the Mountains Conference