Tag Archives: IMD

International Mountain Day 2017 at Utah Valley University

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On December 4th, 2017, Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) were able to again host International Mountain Day (IMD) at UVU campus. First established by the United Nations in 2003, this will be the seventh IMD celebration held by UIMF at UVU. IMD is usually celebrated on December 11th, however students decided it best to hold the event a week prior to the designated date so that students would not have conflicts with their final examination schedules.

Dr. Baldomero Lago addressing audience members at Utah Valley University

Students, members of UIMF hosted the event as a tradition through student engaged learning initiative, when students are provided an opportunity to gain professional experiences and skills while working on all details of the event by themselves as a team with faculty giving up them power and serving as mentors only. Students were pleased to assign responsibilities through task list posted online: some of them invited academics, community members, and student speakers to give presentations during the event. others handled protocol or logistics or media coverage, and many other important aspects of hosting such high-level event like IMD.  This year’s celebration included the following agenda featuring many prominent presenters;

  • Keynote Speaker: Dr. Baldomero Lago, CIO/Vice-Rector of the Office of Global Engagement at Utah Valley University
  • Letters of greeting from Governor of Utah Gary Herbert, Mayor of Orem Utah Richard Brunst, and Dr. Ross “Rusty” Butler of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences
  • Chelsey Butchereit, a refugee advocate and professor at Brigham Young University
  • Gina Cornia, the executive director of Utahns Against Hunger
  • Colleen Bye, a representative of the lobbyist group Citizens Climate Lobby chapter in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Derek Garfield, a student at UVU
  • Megan Raines, a student at UVU
  • Baktybek Abdrisaev, a former Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States and Canada from 1997-2005; a current professor and focal point for the United Nations Mountain Partnership at UVU

      Mayor Brunst of the City of Orem greets audience  on occasion of the IMD 2017

Speakers addressed topics from the 2017 IMD theme: “Mountains Under Pressure: climate, hunger, migration.” Students worked hard to find speakers who could adequately address each theme for IMD both for Utah, nationally, and internationally. Many from the audience commented that the list of speakers was very diverse and allowed each topic in the 2017 theme to be covered.

Dr. Baldomero Lago, the CIO and Vice Rector for the office of Global Engagement at Utah Valley University was identified as a keynote speaker. IMD celebration as prominent gathering featuring the United Nations mountain agenda during already seven years provided him a unique opportunity to make major announcement that UVU joined a partnership program with the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN/DPI). When Dr. Lago colleagues applied for such status to the UN DPI, they made references on many initiatives and achievements of UIMF in promotion of mountain agenda during last 10 years. As Dr. Lago emphasized in his speech, UVU hopes to continue to be a leading player in sustainable mountain initiatives and is honored to be afforded such a prestigious opportunity.

Honoring student’s efforts in hosting IMD 2017 and as a response to their invitation to IMD 2017, Governor of Utah, Gary Herbert, sent a letter of well wishes to those who set up the event, and also about his beliefs in the importance of Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) goals. Mayor of the City of Orem Richard Brunst, supports IMD celebrations since 2011, when Orem joined the United Nations Mountain Partnership and he warmly greeted the audience as well. Similarly, Dr. Ross Butler, the main representative of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, and NGO registered under the United Nations spoke and highly evaluated his experiences of working with UIMF both in IMD celebrations and in general in advocacy of the SMD agenda.

Ms. Chelsey Butcherit, refugee advocate and adjunct faculty at Brigham Young University, spoke on the importance of helping refugees in Utah. She spoke of the need to see the humanity in all humans no matter how far away or how different their culture may be, that we ought to help them and Utah is the perfect place where such an ideal could be sustained.

Ms. Gina Cornia, the executive Director of Utahns Against Hunger spoke on the vast poverty divide that is so ever present even in modern-day developed societies (such as Utah). She urged audience members to understand that many people in Utah Valley struggle to feed themselves and/or their families. Furthermore, that we ought not to look down upon these underprivileged people, rather we ought to empower them and provide them with more resources and different opportunities within their respective communities.

Ms. Colleen Bye, a resident faculty member at UVU, who also actively involved and represent prominent NGO Climate Change Lobby spoke passionately about climate change – a rather hot topic in Utah today. She showed audience members factual evidence of the harm modern day people are doing to planet Earth and the ramifications of what could happen if our current (negative) trajectory. Furthermore, she also gave audience members ways in which they are able to positively impact their environment by becoming active in local organizations and movements working in climate change.

Our two student speakers Mr. Derek Garfield and Ms. Megan Raines took the time to address specific cases they have been tirelessly studying. Mr. Garfield educated audience members on climate change impact on Sami indigenous groups in Sweden and Ms. Raines was able to show what a bit of money and compassion can do to provide help to children and families in Uganda. Both undergraduate students showed extreme passion and promise, and myself and other audience members included were moved by their research and passion in their respective areas of study.

During the event students were able to engage with speakers about the 2017 theme and learn the ways in which they would be able to engage with sustainable mountain development in the future. However, they were able to invite not only students in the audience. Community members from Utah Valley and faculty and staff from UVU were also able to attend the event to learn the ways they can influence their community, workplaces, and better ways in which they can teach their students to progress the agendas of mountain sustainability. One audience member stated “I was not aware of the problems mountainous communities were facing before today. I am happy that I chose to attend because I have been inspired to learn more about my own mountainous community, and understand how to help internationally!”.

Aaron Holloway, UIMF member with certificate of contribution from FAO-UN

After the event concluded many stayed around to have further conversations with speakers, and to engage with each other. During this time Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, UVU faculty and a focal point for the United Nations Mountain Partnership with the help of Matthew Rands UIMF President  and Danny Davis, UIMF Vice-President presented certificates to all those throughout 2017 that helped to advance the sustainable mountain goals. It was incredible to see the huge amount of people that actively helped in the process. It also helped students to see and understand the importance of working together with one’s community and the help that can be found as long as one asks for it. In all, the event was a huge collaborative effort from students and the community and the UIMF leadership was so pleased with the outcome of the event.

Pictured: Audience members during IMD 2017.

UIMF is beyond pleased with all the student’s effort in making IMD a reality for this seventh annual celebration and hopes to continue to implement practices from the UN’s 2015 agenda, and work towards the 2030 agenda.

Lacee Meyer, Vice-President, UIMF

 

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Brochure                      Task List

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MP about IMD at Utah Valley University

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                      UVU Press-Release         Daily Herald about IMD          

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Video: UVU Office for Global Engagement

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Photos

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Greetings From Governor Herbert

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Letter of Greetings From Mayor Brunst, Orem City 

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Greetings From Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, MP member

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Logan Environmental Action Force

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UIMF MEMBERS REFLECTIONS

Lacee Meyer: Seventh Annual International Mountain Day Celebration at UVU

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Andre Jones: From mountain development to national security: UVU becomes a member of the United Nations DPI

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Dylan Genes: Hosting the International Mountain Day at UVU

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Ruben Garces: Utah Valley University becomes a member of the United Nations DPI

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Mark Wait: International Mountain Day at UVU

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Kristine Beardall: UVU’s seventh annual International Mountain Day: a student’s perspective

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Pamela Miller: International Mountain Day 2017

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Kimberlee Anderson: International Mountain Day Commemoration

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Logan Perfili: International Mountain Day at UVU

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Celebrating International Mountain Day 2015 with Ambassador Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations,

On 7 December 2015, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) had the honor and privilege to host the Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations, His Excellency Peter Thomson as part of the agenda to celebrate the International Mountain Day (IMD) 2015. Ambassador Thomson gave a lecture entitled “Why small-island developing states matter at the United Nations” which was attended by UVU students and faculty in addition to the local Fijian-community members. His Excellency Peter Thomson held office as Vice President of the UN General Assembly for the 2011-2012 session and currently he is the President of the Council of the International Seabed Authority for its 2015- 2016 session.

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Ambassador Peter Thomson during presentation at Utah Valley University

The Ambassador’s lecture was very enlightening and synonymous with the major goals of the UIMF to support and promote adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. VIP guest began lecture by mentioning that his visit was not the first one to Utah, but it was his first actual stay. He told a story of a Greyhound bus trip he took across the United States, ultimately using the Salt Lake City station as a transfer point back in 1969. Today, much like back in 1969, he made a point to mention that Utah is a very clean and tidy place and doesn’t have a trash-pollution problem like New York City or Washington D.C.

            He then began to hit on the main topic of his lecture, which of course we at the UIMF were very interested in hearing. As Ambassador Thomson explained, there are approximately 53 Small Island Developing States (SIDS), most of these countries belonging to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), making up 25-27% of the United Nations’ voting body. What makes them ultimately unique, and as his lecture title alludes to, is that this group of nations has come together in a united coalition to become a very powerful and impactful group which performs lobbying and negotiating functions for the SIDS within the United Nations, most notably focusing on climate change and its impact on the SIDS worldwide.

            This was why we at the UIMF were so interested in his lecture. How can we, a group advocating for implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in the mountainous regions of the world, create a similar group with the same amount of impact and respect as AOSIS? Similar to the SIDS, mountainous regions are deeply impacted by climate change, and are just as dependent on the SDGs as SIDS. The message we took from Ambassador Thomson’s lecture was the mountainous regions of the world need to unite in a unified voice of change and adherence to the SDGs to garner the same respect and impact as SIDS.

            Ambassador Thomson also briefly touched on the human migration problem facing the world. Another grim aspect of climate change, if it continues to go unabated, is that the populations on atoll-type nations will be completely flooded and displaced by approximately 4-5 feet of sea water. Fiji has set a precedent by offering all of the people on their neighboring islands a home on Fiji should climate change claim their homes. He urged the mainland nations and countries to act similarly, as coastal regions house millions more people than Small Island Developing States, and all of those people will need to migrate and resettle.

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Members of UIMF with Ambassador Thomson

Following the Ambassador’s lecture, Dr. Rusty Butler, the Associate Vice President of International Affairs and Diplomacy and focal point for the Mountain Partnership at UVU, during special meeting introduced UIMF members to Ambassador Thomson. This was a very unique opportunity for us to inform Ambassador Thomson about our contribution to the United Nations gender and sustainable mountain development agendas and our interest to create a group similar to AOSIS, only for the mountainous regions of the world. His advice was to continue the course that we are currently on. He specifically mentioned that group voices are heard more because they are louder and if they are united. He encouraged us to continue to pursue our North/South partnerships, to make sure that we are engaging the communities living in developing mountain nations throughout the world. And finally, he shared with us two thoughts before he had to leave to another meeting. He said, “Partnership is the leadership,” and “remember it’s one planet-one people. Don’t give up.”

            Ambassador Thomson’s visit was very impactful and gave all of us in attendance a renewed sense of urgency of working together on many urgent issues including climate change. Although we all face separate issues resulting from it, we all have a common interest in stopping it before it is too late. By doing nothing, we solidify our death as a species on our planet. But, by coming together as a people to fix a problem we created only unites us and brings us closer together as nature intended.

            Ambassador Thomson’s visit to UVU was arranged thanks to the special program of hosting foreign dignitaries at UVU campus of the office of International Affairs and Diplomacy led by Dr. Rusty Butler.

Tony Medina, President, Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University

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Fiji Ambassador: small island nations matter in the climate change war

2015 INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN DAY CELEBRATION IN UTAH

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Poster of the 2015 IMD Celebration

On Friday December 4th 2015, members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), students, faculty, community members and friends, gathered at the Gould Auditorium in the University of Utah’s Marriott Library to celebrate International Mountain Day (IMD). This event has been celebrated in Utah every year since 2010 as part of continual joint effort from all interested institutions and individuals to promote the Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) agenda of the United Nations across the state of Utah. Another important goal of that event is to raise an awareness among different communities in Utah about importance to share best examples and experiences in SMD across the state with mountain communities globally.

In general IMD celebrations coordinated by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, which is part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy. Contribution to the event and its hosting on a local level in Utah was done before by a number of institutions and NGOs in the State of Utah, members of the Mountain Partnership, including Utah Valley University, City of Orem, Gruppman International Music Institute.

With this in mind and as part of the recommendations adopted in the final document of the Fourth International Women of the Mountains Conference (October 7-9, 2015), the UIMF has collaborated with the University of Utah (UofU) to engage all interested institutions at UofU and Salt Lake City area and to host IMD 2015 at the Marriott Library’s Gould Auditorium. Thus, it was the first time the event was hosted outside the campus of Utah Valley University. Support for the event was provided by a number of organizations from Greater Salt Lake area, including the Marriott Library at University of Utah, which created posters to promote the event among other activities.

The theme of this year’s event was “Promoting Mountain Products for better livelihoods” and the program included many organizations local to this mountain city that traditionally provide services for the local community. To be inclusive to the need of so many different organizations, organizers of the IMD celebration broadened the scope of the event and included Community Services as products for better livelihoods. While any discussion of mountains regions needs to include the people and services that reside there, agenda of the event included presentations from eight local groups and a keynote speaker as a highlight of the IMD 2015. Several organizations also presented their products and services on specially arranged tables to the people in the audience.

The event started with refreshments and time allowing for participants and visitors to speak with the various organizations like Onchenda Open Global Group, Edible Campus Gardens, Americorps and Norwex, the Bennion Community Service Center and Office of Sustainability at the UofU. Organizations in presence there were only a small percentage of the many groups that people can choose to become involved with to support sustainability and community goals. Some of these groups also presented that evening were able to share their goals and ideas with all those in the audience.

The formal program began with a welcome by Tony, Medina, President of UIMF and two of us, with explaining goals of the IMD2015 celebrations and reading greetings from institutions, members of MP from Utah, in North America and from overseas: the Mountain Institute, Washington, D.C., International University of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic, Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences, Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic, city of Orem, Utah, Gruppman International Music Institute, Provo, Utah and others.     To showcase some of the many young talents the local community has to offer, the evening included a musical performance by the students of Pacific Heritage Academy of Rose Park, Utah, “We are Friends.” The Pacific Heritage Academy is a public charter school authorized by the Utah State Board of Education.

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A musical performance by the students of Pacific Heritage Academy of Rose Park, Utah.

The first presentation was made by Colleen Grant Dick from Onchenda Open Global Food Cooperative. She spoke about Agriculture in the Mountains and how biodiversity and going with the flow of nature will ensure mountain communities survival and sustainability. Onchenda is a start-up social enterprise with the goal of ending world hunger by empowering local farmers, urban/suburban and rural families, would-be edible horticulturalists, and anyone else interested in growing/raising their own organic food and selling the surplus through local online food webs.

The University of Utah supported the event well, with half of the presentations being given by organizations on campus as well as student groups. The first of these groups to present was the University of Utah’s Sustainability Office. Ayrel Clark-Proffitt, Marykate Glenn and Alya Hussain presentation was titled “Sustainability Office: What’s Our Product? Engagement” and they talked about the different programs of their office to promote sustainability. Some of these programs include: Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF), Student Energy Ambassadors, U of U Farmers Market and the Edible Campus Gardens. The Edible Campus Gardens teaches students how to create a sustainable food cycle by growing and then selling organic produce on campus. It is also a place where students and community members can learn about food self-sufficiency.

Next presenters, Julia Maciunas and Sam from the Food Recovery Network (FRN), a student group from the University of Utah, talked about the importance of recovering food to feed people in need. The FRN is partnered with Chartwells Dining Services, which provides food services across campus, to receive surplus food donations. The food is then donated to local food pantries in the Salt Lake Valley. Gina Cornia from Utahn’s Against Hunger (UaH) a local food policy and advocacy group spoke about the need to increase access to food through advocacy, outreach and education. Since 1981 UaH has been working to eliminate hunger in Utah.

Ryan Pleune from the Pacific Heritage Academy spoke about the school’s use of Expeditionary Learning as a teaching model as well as social studies and Pacific Islander cultures in order to teach the Utah Core Curriculum. Knowledge of one’s culture is an important aspect of sustainability as it draws on traditions of respect for the mountains, land and sea that are used by all.

Roger Crandall, Brand Ambassador for the Transit Solar Car “Elf”, shared ersonal experience of owning such car in Salt Lake City. This vehicle runs on solar, lithium batteries to power the small electric motor and peddle power. This type of transport causes zero emission, is easy to drive and presents a healthy way of driving for communities and the environment.

Jennifer Jones from the Lowell Benin Community Service Center, another organization from the University of Utah, spoke about the many ways the center involves students in the community activities, and through the partnerships with local community organizations in particular. The Center also is looking for additional organizations that would be interested in partnering with them to provide students, and the University community, different opportunities to build a better society. Sawson Gholami from the Real Food Challenge, another student group based at the University of Utah, spoke about the importance of food justice. The Real Food Challenge is tied to a national movement that aims to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms/factory foods and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources – “real food”.

The keynote presentation of the 2015 IMD celebration was made by Jason Singer Smith, professional climber, speaker and writer. He spoke about his love of the mountains and the importance of nature to our wellbeing. During the main part of his presentation Jason told the story of his abduction by militant group, part of Al-Qaeda in Central Asia, and Kyrgyzstan in particular and how he, and his partners, were able to survive as hostages, escape from captivity and how that changed him immensely. During his time in captivity he learned how trust can be an important aspect of any relationship and how this can be used to escape from potentially dangerous and life threatening situations.

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(L to R) Tony Medina, President of UIMF presents certificate to Jason Singer Smith, professional climber, speaker and writer.

The evening ended with presenting of certificates from the Mountain Partnership to individuals in the audience who contributed to the Fourth International Women of the Mountains conference in October 2015 at UVU. Overall this event was a success in engaging new institutions across the state of Utah by members of the UIMF in raising an awareness and advocacy of the sustainable mountain development agenda. As one of the outcomes, some NGOs in attendance consider the opportunity of joining the Mountain Partnership and continue working towards sustainable mountain development. Click here for more information.

 Hosts of the IMD 2015 at University of Utah: Carlos Alarco, University of Utah Liaison, at UIMF and Kamaile Tripp, Salt Lake City Liaison at UIMF