April 8-11, 2019 the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) hosted Richard Jordan, a civil society activist, involved with the United Nations during 40 years, for a series of events and classes that could shape the future of UVU student involvement with the UN, and create educational and learning opportunities for years. Richard Jordan met with UVU students in 2018 when the UIMF members participated at the 62nd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development in July 2018 at the UN headquarters in New York City, and the connection formed resulted in this multi-day event for UVU students and faculty. The visit of Mr. Jordan was a result of the student engaged learning model, when UIMF members gain professional skills by addressing real-world problems of mountain communities as a group with a faculty serving them as a mentor. The Foreign Affairs Club was asked by UIMF to be the main host of the dignitary and to prepare an itinerary for the multi-day event. As such, members of the FA club, including myself, applied and received an ELLA grant through the UVU College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Responsibilities for the event were divided among students through a task list designed to work out all stages of the visit, including travel and accommodation reservations, and arranging agenda.
UVU faculty and students during lunch with Mr. Richard Jordan
We scheduled the main presentation of Mr. Jordan on April 8, 2019, which he titled, ““UN Turns 75: Still About We The Peoples??”. Before the presentation, we included in the agenda and worked out all details of having a lunch honoring a dignitary on behalf of the office of UVU Global Engagement. We learned how to raise additional funds for the event and get a support from the UVU administration. Lunch provided a great opportunity for students and members of UIMF like Taylon Thomas, to interact with Mr. Jordan. After lunch Mr. Jordan addressed UVU students and faculty about the history and status of the United Nations and NGO involvement. The discussion was an oral history of the UN and NGO planning for environmental projects that have allowed for the topic of mountain cultures to be discussed at the UN platform. As a conclusion to his discussion Mr. Jordan had several slides that contained suggestions for how the UVU engaged learning model could be utilized to help the UVU student body have personal experience with the UN and NGO councils. The session finished with a lively Q&A session. Such students as Drew Tschirki, Vanessa McCann, Kelly Hatch, to name a few,responded very grateful to Mr. Jordan, and many personally thanked him for traveling to our school to share his life experiences with us
Joel Frost introduces Mr. Richard Jordan to the UVU audience before the presentation
Over the next several days Mr. Jordan was constantly engaged with UVU students in a classroom setting, each time adapting his content to the curriculum taught in each class, and to the students involved. Mr. Jordan taught in the following classes:
- POLS2250 – “Globalization and Sustainable Mountain Development”
- POLS2200 – “Introduction to International Relations”
- POLS1010 – “Introduction to Political Science”
Mr. Jordan even participated in a discussion to high school students at East High School in Salt Lake City, UT on April 11, 2019, where more than 40 high school students from History and Government classes gathered for a basic overview of UN and NGO cooperation in international relations. In classic Richard Jordan style, even the high school students were left with suggestions for how to become more involved with the global UN community. The meeting was organized by one of our peer, Sariah Gomez.
Mr. Richard Jordan during lunch at Orem Rotary
On Wednesday, April 10th, 2019, through Hannah-Bieker and Hailee Hodgson, UVU Rotaractors and UIMF members, we were able to arrange a lunch at the Orem Rotary for Mr. Jordan to address the members of Orem Rotary Club about his role as Chairman of the 60th DPI/NGO conference in New York and the upcoming 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference. Mr. Jordan discussed Rotary’s historical involvement with many NGOs and with civil society conferences in the past. Mr. Jordan concluded the meeting with many suggestions for opportunities for the Rotary Club to become more actively involved in this historic event that will be hosted in Salt Lake City, Utah in August 2019.
Mr. Richard Jordan meets at UVU Library
A behind the scenes highlight of the trip, and possibly the biggest development for student involvement going forward, was Mr. Jordan’s meeting with the director and staff of the UVU Library to further discuss plans for Mr. Jordan to donate his extensive UN resource library to UVU.
Mr. Richard Jordan during lunch hosted by UIMF
Also on Tuesday, April 9th, the UIMF presidency help a lunch event with several students, such as William Gum, Michael Hinatsu among them, faculty and Mr. Jordan. The lunch event also resulted in many suggestions from Mr. Jordan to the UIMF for present and future plans of involvement in the international community. Mr. Jordan challenged the UIMF to continue with the UVU engaged learning model to continue participating in discussions about sustainability at the UN-level meetings.
Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, Michael Hinatsu, VP of UIMF and Mr. Richard Jordan during dinner
Mr. Jordan was continually giving of his time to any person who would ask it of him, and was accompanied by someone from UVU almost his entire stay at UVU, including meals in which he was invited to dine with a student or faculty at UVU. Michael Hinatsu, Jag Martin and myself were all students who dined with Mr. Jordan. In each dining occasion, Mr. Jordan was continually teaching and sharing of his experiences over the past 40 years in the halls of the UN, and encouraging student involvement with the upcoming conference.
Mr. Richard Jordan at the UVU Roots of Knowledge display
One common theme that Mr. Jordan spoke about with his different audiences was the impression made by the UVU Roots of Knowledge display at the UVU Library. He personifies his appreciation for our history of knowledge in the way he embraced every teaching opportunity that was put in his path throughout his prolonged stay. As a futurist, Richard is constantly using his concept of “The Arc of History” to determine what the UN at 75 will look like and it is coinciding so greatly with the Roots of Knowledge ideas.
This was an incredible experience for the Foreign Affairs club and myself as part of UIMF in hosting a civil society dignitary with incredible experience of working at the UN through the student engaged learning model. We were able to prove one more time to ourselves first and to the rest of the world second, that developed at UVU model is able to successfully involve students in UN activities.
Joel Frost, President, Foreign Affairs club at Utah Valley University
STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS