Category Archives: 2020

UVU Rotaract and United Nations 75th Anniversary

On Monday March 2, 2020, Utah Valley University (UVU) Rotaract in junction with the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), and the UVU Office for Global Engagement hosted a panel in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The event was hosted from 10:30-11:30AM (MST) in the Liberal Arts Building (LA) 116. “UVU and the United Nations 75th Anniversary” was open to all interested members of the community.

Kyle Warren, UVU Rotaract President moderated the event

Rotaract is the student organization of Rotary International which is an international organization founded in 1905. Since its founding, Rotary has grown to over one-million members worldwide. Individual Rotary clubs exist all over the globe. Each club is actively involved in humanitarian and other service efforts in their local communities and around the world. Rotaract, Rotary’s student branch is comprised of individuals whose ages range from eighteen to thirty. These student branches are also found all over the world, the first one being formed in 1968. UVU Rotaract is also a member of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU to promote the United Nations sustainable mountain development agenda in the state of Utah and North America.

The main event of UVU and the United Nations 75th Anniversary was a panel consisting of five individuals from the local community. The panelists were selected from among UVU faculty, as well as local NGOs: Dr. Baldomero Lago, Dr. Geoffrey Cockerham, Dr. Ryan Vogel, Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, and Clark Merkley. Each Panelists focused on a different aspect of the United Nations, with subjects ranging from the history of the UN to the effects of the UN in our local communities. The current efforts of local groups in reaching for the UN 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs) were also discussed. Kyle Warren, President of the hosting organization, UVU Rotaract, moderated the panel. As the panelists concluded remarks, we then turned the time over to the audience for a period of questions and answers.

Dr. Baldomero Lago Speaks about UN -UVU Partnership

The fist panelist to speak was Dr. Baldomero Lago, CIO for UVU Global Engagement. Dr. Lago works with many international organizations. He serves as the Honorary Consul of Spain for Utah and was awarded the title of Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Civil Merit by King Phillip VI of Spain. Dr. Lago spoke on Utah Valley University’s involvement with the United Nations and how the University interacts with the UN. He made remarks about how UVU was able to help coordinate the recent civil society conference which was held in Salt Lake City in the summer of 2019. In addition to the past civil society conference, Dr. Lago talked about how UVU held its very first high school model UN conference, as well as the upcoming global Civil Society Conference being planned for August of 2021 on sustainable development being held at Utah Valley University.

Dr. Geoffrey Cockerham during round table at UVU

Following Dr. Lago, Dr. Geoffrey Cockerham addressed the audience. Dr. Cockerham, Associate Professor of Political Science and UVU, received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Arizona with a specialization in international relations. Dr. Cockerham took the time to explain the history of the United Nations, including its origins in the League of Nations as well as other important aspects of its history.

Professor Ryan J. Vogel Speaks about United Nations reform

Our third panelist was Professor Ryan J. Vogel, founding director of the Center for National Security Studies at UVU. Dr. Vogel served at the Pentagon as a senior policy advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Dr. Vogel spoke to the audience regarding the United Nations Security Council. He expressed the reasons behind its formation and its current functions in todays international political environment. Among other points mentioned, he explained past efforts as well as current ideas of expanding the UN security council and the plausibility of these efforts. Dr. Vogel had the chance to expand on these subjects during a period of Q&A after the conclusion of the panel.

Mr. Clark Merkley, President of Orem Rotary during round table

Clark Merkley, Executive Director of BootUP PD, then addressed the audience. Clark currently serves as President of the Orem Rotary Club, a local branch of Rotary International. Clark spoke from a different perspective then most of the other panelists, from the perspective of the NGOs. He described the United Nations role in working with NGOs and providing a forum where they are able to gather together and discuss global issues and efforts. A key point mentioned by Clark is that Rotary has been involved with the United Nations since its creation 75 years ago. Rotary has also recently commented on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations saying that it was intending to continue its partnership into the future.

Our final speaker was Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, former ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States and Canada from 1997 to 2005, and member of the Kyrgyz Parliament from 1995 to 2000. Dr. Abdrisaev spoke on aspects of Utah’s mountainous living and the United Nations commitment to sustainable mountain development. The Utah International Mountain Forum, under the mentorship of Dr. Abdrisaev, has continued over the course of several year to promote sustainable mountain development as an agenda item at the UN. This effort has led to increased international awareness toward mountain communities, a population generally overlooked in global politics. Dr. Abdrisaev spoke about Utah’s model of sustainable mountain development being an excellent model for international implementation, something that UIMF as well as UVU Rotaract, in combination with other local partners, intends to present on in a parallel event at the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, being held in New York later this month.

UVU Students in the Audience

UVU Rotaract is committed to continued efforts with the United Nations. As a club, we were happy to extend our efforts toward educating the student body and attending faculty on the subject of international collaboration between such political bodies and other NGOs. As a member of UIMF, Rotaract is also committed to continued efforts with local organizations for the advancement of the sustainable mountain development agenda. We look forward to future events in which we may demonstrate our commitment to these causes through active participation.

Kyle Warren, UVU Rotaract President

BROCHURE

Front side

Back side

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Dallas Karren-UVU Celebrates 75 Years of United Nations

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Yana Andersen-UVU Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the UN through Engaged Learning

Reviewing UIMF Preparations for Mountain Women Advocacy at CSW64

On March 17-20, 2020, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University, will participate in the 64th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) in New York City to advocate for women and girls living in mountainous communities globally, as well as highlight how Utah Valley University’s (UVU) developed student engaged learning model (SEL) constitutes best practices for empowering youth and other learners to contribute to implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

CSW64 marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, considered by many to be the first comprehensive global agreement on gender equality. The priority theme of CSW64 is to assess the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and how to fully realize gender equality as part of the 2030 Agenda.

Given the priority theme and in continuance of its important advocacy of sustainable mountain development (SMD) topics, the delegation’s goals for CSW64 are to:

  • Raise awareness about mountain communities and families as the most neglected groups at the national and international levels and most vulnerable to modern challenges such as climate change, outmigration, food insecurity, etc.;
  • Urge the members of the Group of Friends of Mountainous Countries to include language about mountain women and girls in the CSW64 final document, as well as reporte about measures to empower mountain communities and families in national review reports;
  • Urge the CSW64 audience to implement three mountain targets, designated by the UN among 17 SDGs as a roadmap for mountain communities to be in the focus of 2030 UN Agenda for sustainable development;
  • Host a parallel event titled “Mountain Women Empowerment Through the Inclusive Student-Engaged Learning Model” under co-sponsorship of RANS and UIMF at the Salvation Army Auditorium on March 19, 2020 at 6:15pm;
  • Promote Utah as the one of the examples of sustainable mountain development (SMD);
  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of the student engaged learning (SEL) model to advocate for mountain communities and Utah as the SMD example;
  • Deliver an oral statement and intervention from the floor during CSW64 about the above topics.

Along with sponsorship of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS) and Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce (Utah China F.I.S.H. D&C)—two NGOs under consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)—the delegation includes for the first time Project Work Groups, a company that works to find global sustainability projects related to food security, agriculture, and the environment and provide services and support for such projects from various stakeholders, including UVU and other Utah academic institutions.

Since the fall of 2019, UIMF members have worked closely with Mr. Uday Teki, founder and CEO of Project Work Groups, and other delegation members to make all preparations to attend CSW64 under SEL, which gives students the primary responsibility of solving problems related to SMD implementation by working together as a grout with faculty serving as mentors. Under SEL, the delegation has accomplished the following preparations:

  • Wrote and submitted with RANS, Utah China F.I.S.H. D&C, and Project Work Groups a written statement highlighting UIMF’s implementation of SEL to solve problems related to advocating for SMD, mountain communities and families, nontraditional students, and other sustainability issues. The statement was published by ECOSOC as official document E/CN.6/2020/NGO/91 on November 20, 2019;
  • Contacted permanent missions of various UN member states, including members of the Group of Friends of Mountainous Countries, to have meetings about building a coalition within the UN system to ensure mountain women and girls are not neglected by the UN;
  • Set up continuing partnerships with UVU Rotaract, a student club sponsored by Rotary International, to address SMD issues locally, as well as the UVU Foreign Affairs Club, to mobilize student members of the delegation;
  • Contributed language about SMD, mountain communities, nontraditional learners, and SEL to the NGO Recommendation document for the priority theme of CSW64

Under SEL, the delegation is also finalizing plans for a parallel event mentioned above in order to share best practices related to advocating under SEL for mountain communities and families, empowering all learners—including nontraditional ones—to implement the 2030 Agenda under SDG target 4.7, as well as to highlight Utah as the best model for addressing local, regional, national, and global SMD issues.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President

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UIMF delegation members/statements:

Samuel Elzinga, UIMF President

Jon Downs, Sustainable Mountain Development Club Vice President   

William Gum, Foreign Affairs Club Vice President

Michael Hinatsu, Foreign Affairs Club President

Mizuki Olivares, Foreign Affairs Club Vice President

Megan Raines, UVU Adjunct faculty, UIMF Alumni   

Bethany Raines, High school student

Kyle Warren, Rotaract Club President

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UIMF delegation advisers:

Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, lecturer, History and Political Science, UVU ; mentor, UIMF

Dr. Ross E “Rusty” Butler, RANS focal point at the United Nations

Ms. Wendy Jyang, founder, Utah China F.I.S.H. D&C

Mr. Uday Teki, Project Work Groups founder/CEO

Democratic Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard at UVU

Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard at Utah Valley University

On February 21, 2020, Democratic Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard came to Utah Valley University (UVU) to present her platform on which she is running for President. She was hosted by UVU History and Political Science Department and answered questions from mainly political science students. Mrs. Gabbard is a Hawaii Army National Guard major and is currently serving as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s second congressional district.

            One of the main points Mrs. Gabbard made during her speech is that she believes that one of the biggest problems in Washington D.C. right now is that politicians there have forgotten who they work for. They are more concerned with getting and keeping power instead of serving the people. One of the examples she used to prove this point was the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. People in Washington were so involved in the trial they forgot that most Americans had other, more pressing issues they were concerned about. She believes that politicians and people need to leave their partisanship at the door to make sure we have a government that is of, for, and by the people. We as the people need to use our power to vote and hold leaders accountable.

Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard speaks before UVU students

            After this, the floor opened to students in the audience to ask her questions. I think one of the most relevant questions that was asked was about speakers view on second amendment rights and how she differs from her running mates. VIP-guest said that we need to first encourage a dialogue so both sides can better see eye to eye. It is a complicated issue because some are worried about their rights getting taken away while other are more concerned about shootings and how to ensure that those who wish to do harm cannot obtain firearms. We need to be able to have a conversation and find a middle ground. 

            Another question that she addressed was her take on healthcare. Congresswoman Gabbard started with discussing the issue of our current medical industry that is very greed driven. From this we are seeing prices on many medical supplies continue to rise. Some say this is because research is expensive, but this isn’t the case for all medications and technology. Things like insulin, a drug many people need to live, had its patent sold for $1 yet now a single vial can cost people over $300. She said that she would push for a single payer plus plan loosely modeled after Australia. This would provide all Americans will healthcare while still giving people the freedom to choose different options. She also said that the country can save money by pushing for prevention of health issues through education and awareness.

Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard responds to student question

            One other question that was asked was how Congresswoman Gabbard would shift America from a culture of partisanship to compromise. She said the first thing she would do would be to invite leaders of Congress to the White House to talk. Nowadays whenever members of Congress go the white house it is a big deal and it is always scripted, not a real conversation. She said that her first years as a congresswoman was under a Republic majority, so people said she wouldn’t be able to get anything done. To try and overcome the barrier she asked her mother to make over 800 boxes of toffee for the members of Congress as well as staff. She also hand wrote notes. Because of this people from the Republican started to come up to her to thank her. Following this she was able to get things done and eventually pass a bill. She said that there needs to be a way for us to come together, treat each other with respect and have levelheaded discussions and debates.

            Finally, one other question she addressed that I found interesting was Congresswoman Gabbards’ perspective on cyber security threats coming both from China and Russia. She said that one problem is that our laws have not caught up with this threat. The government doesn’t know whose jurisdiction cyberattacks fall under and what the rules of engagement are. She also said that we need more people working within our government to protect and ensure us against threats. Many of the best people in the field are taken up into the private sector. We need to figure out a way to get these people to work for the government.

            Overall, I was very happy I had the opportunity to attend this advent. Congresswoman  Tulsi Gabbard was a candidate that I knew little about, so it was a great opportunity to hear her speak in person and see her view on issues that I and many other Americans are concerned about. One reason I think that she would make a great president is her background has given her a lot of experience that sets her apart from other candidates. Aside from serving in the National Guard, she is a woman, a Samoan-American, and the first Hindu member of U.S. Congress. I think these things give her a unique perspective that is becoming more important as the United States becomes increasingly diverse. I appreciate efforts of the UVU History and Political Science Department to arrange a presentation for us, students of such an important and interesting dignitary, which contributes to our professional advancement.

(Left to right) Jeff Hibbard, UVU student, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Megan Davis, UVU student

I had a brief opportunity to meet and take a picture with Congresswoman Gabbard. She was very nice and took time to stay and talk to all who wanted to meet her.

Jeff Hibbard, UVU student

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MEDIA ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TULSI GABBARD VISIT TO UTAH

Deseret News: Democrat Tulsi Gabbard Makes Campaign Stop in Utah to Share Hope to End War Unite Country

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Daily Herald – Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard Talks on Ending-Division at Provo

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Salt Lake Tribune – Tulsi Gabbard Brings Her Campaign to Utah ahead of Super Tuesday Vote

STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Megan Davis-Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard Speaks to UVU Students

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Jake Lamoreaux-Attending Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard Event

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Dallas Karren-Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard Presents before UVU students

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Yana Andersen-Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard at Utah Valley University

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McKay Anderson-Tulsi Gabbard Presentation at UVU

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Thomas Ulrich-Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard Visit to UVU

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Paige Laursen-Democratic Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard Visits UVU

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Anthony Jackson-Tulsi Gabbard and Working Across the Aisle

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Miriam Funk-Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard With UVU Students

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Rotaract and UIMF at Utah Valley University Club-Rush 2020

On January 14-15, 2020, Utah Valley University (UVU) Rotaract participated in UVU’s semiannual Club-Rush. In attendance with over 50 clubs, members of UVU Rotaract sought to raise funds, recruit new members for its activities, and to promote seventeen of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Rotaract student members also spoke to UVU students to educate both about Rotary International (RI) and Rotaract’s role as a student club to contribute to the implementation in the state of Utah for the six areas of RI’s focus: promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies. 

In addition to myself, Rotaratct members such as Albany Singh, Yana Andersen, and Jose Coreas were able to aid in our efforts at Club-Rush. All our members discussed their excitement about the opportunities, which our organization provides for professional growth and networking on a global scale,  with other UVU students attending Club-Rush during the two-day event.

Left: Kyle Warren (UVU Rotaract President), Albeny Singh (UVU Rotaract Secretary)

Using the student engaged learning  model (SEL), we worked jointly with our partner clubs, Foreign Affairs and Sustainable Mountain Development, which are united under the umbrella of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU.  SEL model encourages students to work on practical tasks as a group with faculty mentoring them throughout the process. As a result, over twelve students were present at our table. Each of them were happy to discuss our club’s implementation in a variety of UN-sponsored SDGs that Rotaract had been assisting, and would continue to assist in. We shared with UVU students how Rotaract members and UIMF successfully contributed to the 68th UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City during August 2019 and commemorated the World Polio Day at UVU on October 23, 2019. UVU Rotaract currently is preparing to participate and contribute to the agenda of the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which will be hosted by the UNWomen in March of 2020.  We were excited to discuss with UVU students our involvement and the efforts of our coalition to contribute to the implementation of the SDG #5 on gender equality with focus in particular on mountain communities and families during the CSW64 in the UN headquarters. 

Rotaract members were also excited to discuss the upcoming Pan-American Conference being hosted by District Rotary in April of this year in Mexico. With Rotaractors gathering from around the world, UVU students were interested in hearing about options to get involved in such a historic event. UVU Rotaract is planning on having a few of its club members travel to Puerto Penasco for this Pan-American Conference, and contribute to the many amazing events that will be taking place under the umbrella of the District Rotary.

Overall, Club Rush was  successful in achieving both goals to raise funds and gain new student members. With a large number of individuals signing up to join the team, we now look at our upcoming opportunities with excitement and anticipation. With all the good that needs to be done in the world, UVU Rotaract is excited to be the ones who are out there doing it.

Kyle Warren, President, UVU Rotaract

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

20-01-14-Megan-Davis-Promoting the UIMF Agenda During the 2020 Spring Semester Club Rush

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20-01-24-Yana Andersen-Rotaract at Club-Rush

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20-01-25-Samuel Elzinga-Utah International Mountain Forum Clubs Participate in UVU Club Rush

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20-01-24-Jose Coreas-Rotaractors contributed to UVU Club Rush

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20-01-31-Albeny Singh-Rotaract Club Rush at Utah Valley University

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