Club Rush Provides UIMF an Opportunity to Promote Mountain Cause


(L to R): Hagen Isaacson and Megan Davis during Club Rush

            On September 18th and 19th of 2018, I had the privilege of representing for the first time  the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF) (, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) at their table during UVU’s annual Club Rush event. We had a join table representing the Foreign Affairs Club, National Security Studies Club and Rotaract Club. This was an incredible opportunity to represent this outstanding coalition and help to share their ideas to promote United Nations agenda of Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) with other students on campus. In addition, the participation at the Club Rush allowed for UIMF to earn funds to implement different initiatives by our coalition.  It was important for more than 15  members of UIMF who were assigned to be at the table during the event to work as one team and be at the table during assigned time frames to ensure that somebody will be able to interact with the student audience and explain the mission and priorities of the coalition and recruit new members.

On the first day of the event I was at the table for the opening hour. During this time, I was working with Megan Davis and we got to experience the opening of the event. On the September 19th, I spent two hours working at the table with various other members. On both days I helped in cleaning up and putting the promotional items away at the end of the event.

As students approached the table we greeted them and informed them of the basic ideas of what UIMF does and how they could potentially benefit from working with us and promoting State of Utah as one of the best models of SMD both in this nation and globally. One of the greatest strengths of our organization is the fact that thanks to the focus on SMD advocacy we can use students involved in any major and give them productive jobs to benefit themselves and the club. As I would first start to have a conversation with some of the students I could tell that they felt like they weren’t a fit for what we do based on their field of study. As I explained more and more about UIMF you could see them change their mindset and realize that they really could help, even if their major has nothing to do with mountain development or politics. This was a great learning opportunity for me personally because it allowed me to practice interacting with other students and share the core ideas and functions of UIMF.

Another huge benefit from helping with Club Rush was the knowledge I gained about the beliefs and ideas of the importance to promote SMD agenda through Utah International Mountain Forum: as a result, we could raise more awareness among ourselves and other audiences about necessity to advocate for sustainable development of mountain communities, who still remain among the poorest and the most forgotten ny international community. Being in the Foreign Affairs club and in a coalition is great because I get to interact with other like-minded members and discuss the issues of what we are doing. However, I found talking to people who had no idea what UIMF was or what it did way more interesting and beneficial because it helped me gain a better understanding. Having to be able to explain mountain development and the Utah model to students who had no previous knowledge forced me to understand the concepts in more depth and be capable of explaining it to these students in a clear way. It was an unbelievable experience to be able to communicate our message to my interested peers and see them become interested as well. Club Rush helped me to gain some practical knowledge of UIMF and allowed me to be able to spread it to other students.

(R to L): Kyle Warren, member and Kendra Martell, President of Rotaract Club talk to Sam Elzingga, President, Foreign Affairs Club ad Kyle Williams, member, Foreign Affairs Club during Club Rush    

Overall, Club Rush was a huge success and a great opportunity for new members like myself. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to spread the positive message of UIMF and engage others in gaining interest. I hope this event succeeded in putting our name out there and allows us to garner more support and grow to be even better.

Hagen Isaacson, member, Foreign Affairs Club at Utah Valley University

Mark Wayman about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

The Utah Valley University (UVU) Peace and Justice Studies program hosted Rick Wayman, Director of Programs at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), on September 11, 2018. During his presentation, Mr. Wayman discussed the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and how the treaty was devised, the prohibitions within the document and the positive obligations that accompany it, and the future of the United States’ involvement with the disarmament of nuclear weapons.

First, Mr. Wayman discussed how this treaty originated and gained traction to eventually make it to the United Nations (UN). Early on, before the treaty was established, countries including Hungary, Mexico, and Austria held conferences that highlighted some of the humanitarian issues brought on by nuclear weapons and the testing of them. These countries had survivors share their stories and express the pain and suffering that has been a result of these weapons. These smaller sessions helped to get the issue to the bigger world stage, the United Nations. In 2016, the UN held the first vote on the issue of nuclear weapon disarmament in the general session. Six months after that the treaty had its first round of debate. Shortly after this, in July of 2017, the treaty was agreed on by 122 nations of the world and became open to signatures and ratification. As of today, sixty-one countries have signed the document and fifteen have ratified it in their own countries. None of the nine countries that have nuclear capabilities have signed onto the treaty

Mr. Wayman then moved to explain the prohibitions and obligations within the treaty. The final text of the treaty contains many prohibitions on nuclear weapons; some being that nations cannot develop or research nuclear weapons, can’t transfer them to any state or group, can’t threaten to use these weapons, and cannot finance or invest in companies that produce nuclear weapons. The treaty also has a number of positive obligations placed on the countries who agree to it, a lot of which resulted from testimonies and research from non governmental organizations like NAPF. A few examples of these obligations are that nations provide victim assistance to those who have been affected by nuclear weapons in their country and they help to stabilize any part of the environment that has been impacted negatively by use of the weapons.

Finally, Mr. Wayman reviewed the United States’ stance on the treaty and how we can move forward towards progress of disarmament in our country. As the first discussions began, the US was quick to denounce the ideas behind the treaty, stating it was dangerous and could cause instability if countries gave up their nuclear arsenal. They encouraged other nations, especially those part of NATO, to not sign the treaty. This behavior was exerted by the Obama administration and the Trump administration has pushed it even harder. As the US State Department continues with this bipartisan agenda, Mr. Wayman proposed that the change is going to have to start on the state and local levels. Just recently California passed a resolution that called on the federal government to focus on the removal of nuclear weapons from the United States. This has no forceful backing, but is a start to a bigger movement that can bring around change. As more and more cities and states join in and express their concerns, it will eventually reach the point where our government has no choice but to listen to what they have to say.

This presentation was very informative on the highly important Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but also gave inspiration on how to get involved in making change in regards to nuclear weapons. This is a crucial point in our world, with nine countries possessing the ability of complete annihilation in a matter of minutes. We must urge our own government and nations around the world to commit to denuclearization, for the safety of ourselves and of future generations.

Hagen Isaacson, Member, Foreign Affairs club at Utah Valley University


Kyle Williams-Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons

Congressman from Utah recognizes student contribution to the mountain targets implementations at HLPF 2018

Congressman John Curtis (R-UT), made a statement at the U.S. House of Representatives on September 4, 2018 with recognition of members of the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University for their advocacy of the mountain communities and the promotion of the Utah model of sustainable mountain development.

Damon Ashcraft, Samuel Elzinga and Andrew Jensen, UIMF members participated at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York on July 16-19, 2018. They made an oral statement during general debates of the HLPF on Sustainable Development on July 19, 2018.

Below is the statement of Congressman John Curtis (R-UT): 


Mr. CURTIS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend Samuel Elzinga, Damon Ashcraft, and Andrew Jensen, members of the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University,  on their recent success at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development under the auspices of ECOSOC on July 19, 2018 in New York. During general debates at that global forum, they highlighted the importance of advocating for mountain communities, who are among the most impoverished and forgotten communities globally. They demonstrated student engaged learning, one of UVU’s core philosophies, by planning every aspect of the trip, while Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, a UVU faculty member served them as a mentor to guide them through their endeavors. Through this engaged learning model, Samuel, Andrew, and Damon engaged also such non-governmental organizations registered with the ECOSOC as the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the Mountain Institute and Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Cooperation. As a result, those NGOs provided them an opportunity to make an oral and written statement, highlighting the state of Utah as a model for sustainable mountain development. Utah is consistently ranked as one of the best states for doing business and has some of the fastest growing communities in the country. I am very proud they highlighted how students are able and have to be counted as contributors to sustainable development both in Utah and mountain communities worldwide. Below is their oral statement, which was presented during ECOSOC’s general debate on July 19th, 2018

Mountain Targets Implementations Through Student Engaged Learning

We thank the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences for allowing us to speak in support of mountain communities, who are among the poorest and most-neglected globally. Climate change and migration make their living conditions even worse. According to a recent study by the FAO-UN and the Mountain Partnership (MP) Secretariat, an estimated 39 percent of the mountain population in developing countries are vulnerable to food insecurity. From 2000 to 2012, there was a 30-percent increase in the number of mountain people vulnerable to food insecurity, with their population only increasing by 16 percent.

Two SDGs under the review of this forum contain three mountain targets and it must address the challenges facing mountain communities: Target 6.6: by 2020, protect and restore water related ecosystems, including mountains, …; Target 15.1: by 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular….mountains and drylands….; Target 15.4: by 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.

Since 2007, Utah Valley University, with the support of the Mountain Partnership, involves students, including non-traditional ones, in the implementation of mountain targets. Members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU, gain professional skills through an engaged learning model by addressing real-world problems of mountain communities with a faculty serving them as a mentor.

UIMF members have already advocated for the mountain women during the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Students, jointly with their Kyrgyz peers, reported about hosting the International Women of the Mountains conferences as an implementation of the UN Resolution “International Year of Mountains, 2002.” The 2016 UN Secretary-General’s Report on Sustainable Mountain Development featured recommendations provided by UIMF in the latest conference document about the role women play in implementation of two mountain targets.  Through the model students raised and contributed $250,000 to the mountain targets adoption and implementation.

The model demonstrates that students are able and must play an active role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It can be used by universities in rural and mountainous states worldwide to provide similar benefits to students, and to transform mountain communities towards sustainable and resilient societies.

Congressional Record, September 4, 2018, P. E1189


Mountain Partnership about UIMF members recognition by Congressman John Curtis (R-UT) 


UVU Rotaract and UIMF jointly will implement UN SDGs

(L to R): Samuel Elzinga, Kendra Martell and Enoch Chapman during the meeting.

As of Tuesday August 28th, 2018, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University, has added Rotaract, the university student branch of Rotary International, to its coalition. The partnership was formally established during our meeting with Kendra Martell, the current president of Rotaract. The partnership discussions were very substantive, and both clubs think it is in their mutual interest to forge a strong partnership.

The goals of UIMF and Rotaract are nearly one in the same, though the means by which they accomplish these goals are different. At UIMF, the ultimate goal is to promote the implementation of the United Nations (UN) mountain targets and the Utah model of sustainable mountain development on the global stage and in turn promote global advocacy through student engagement. Rotaract has a very similar goal of student involvement in the mission of Rotary International by providing opportunities for students to complete international service projects and attend global conferences on youth advocacy. With such similar missions, it makes sense why UIMF and Rotaract have forged a partnership.

We discussed also an idea about UIMF and UVU Rotaract making a joint statement during the United Nations forums on implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), taking into account that the Rotary International has a status of the non-governmental organization in a special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN). With the support of Orem Rotary club and UVU Rotaract, UIMF is confident this very well may become a reality at next year’s High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development when many SDGs relevant to Rotary International’s mission will be under review.

Ms. Martell seemed very excited to get UVU Rotaract involved with UIMF, and I am confident that our two organizations can benefit each other in a great deal of ways. With Rotary International so well connected to humanitarian work, which is a central theme in sustainable development, it was the next logical step as UIMF continues to grow.

Enoch Chapman, Rotarian with a very good knowledge about activities of Rotary International and Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, UIMF mentor participated at our meeting.

Samuel Elzinga, Vice President, Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University

Ms. Bridget Matty’s counter-terrorism presentation at Utah Valley University

The Utah Valley University (UVU) National Security Studies program hosted Ms. Bridget Matty, a regional representative for the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), on August 29, 2018. Ms. Matty spoke on the current state of counterterrorism, described the current terrorism threats, and talked generally on the role and mission of the NCTC. First, she presented a review of the past terrorism landscape, stating that in the wake of 9/11, counterterrorism was focused on Afghanistan and areas throughout the Middle East, where terrorist groups had clandestine, scattered presences. The context of pre-2011 counterterrorism was the post-Gulf War period of the mid 1990s, when Islamic extremist groups such as Al Qaeda became more prolific in attacks and mobilizing local influence. Additionally, the September 11 attacks and the ensuing Iraq and Afghanistan wars brought Islamism and Islamic extremism to the forefront of American Policy.

Ms. Matty then explained that the period from 2010 to 2014 was characterized by a substantial increase in terrorist propaganda on the internet, and that in 2011, the counterterrorism priority shifted from Afghanistan to Yemen, with Al Qaeda remaining the main focus. Additionally, terrorist groups in the Middle East spread their areas of influence, so that terrorist groups now held a greater presence throughout the Middle East and North and East Africa. Additionally, counterterrorist efforts began to focus on homegrown violent extremism (HVE), or instances of US citizens being mobilized into terrorist activities abroad. Matty spoke briefly on Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Yemeni imam who joined Al Qaeda and was instrumental in making recruitment videos for the group, as well as planning terrorist attacks.  She then explained that HVE is a small but important phenomenon, stating that while there are relatively few US citizens being mobilized into terrorist groups, the number is higher than most would realize; currently, 295 or so have been identified, being won over by groups such as Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The counterterrorism focus shifted again in 2014, with the rise of ISIS and the increase of terrorist fighters in the Middle East. ISIS proved popular among terrorists and extremists, gaining nearly 40,000 members mostly from Turkey, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia, but also attracting around 5600 people from western countries. Although ISIS wielded significant influence during this period, their influence has sharply decreased with coalition efforts—the group only controls 3% of the land it previously had in 2014, and the groups media output (i.e., propaganda propagation) decreased 70% during the latter half of 2017. Additionally, the group has less foreign fighters, and regional security groups and armed forces in the Middle East are responding more effectively to the threat of ISIS. ISIS is weak, Ms. Matty explained, because of lower talent pools, counterterrorism efforts outside of battlefield contexts, ideological disagreements among key ISIS leaders, lower funds, and the group’s tendency to claim all terrorist attacks as theirs, regardless if that is true. However, Ms. Bridget pointed out that ISIS still remains a threat and a focus of counterterrorism efforts, stating that while their land is largely gone, they are still wielding a presence in international affairs.

The state of terrorism in 2017 was the continued threats of Iraq, Syria, and Yemen (because of ISIS and political instability), and the number of small scale terrorist attacks increased. Additionally, new kinds of threats emerged, outside of the conventional suicide bombings and terrorist attacks. For example, Ms. Matty cited the Underwear Bomber’s unconventional methods as well as an instance where bomb-making materials where shipped via parcel service from the Middle East to Australia. While threats like these, thankfully, are many times stopped, they speak to the adaptation of terrorist groups in finding novel ways to carry out their work. Other tools, such as the internet, have become avenues for new kinds of terrorism, as well as continue to aid terrorists in recruitment and propaganda. Additionally, while the numbers in terrorist groups have decreased, there exists still a strong presence of veteran fighters, whose actions account for much of the loss of human life and property. Fighters such as these are still spreading to Europe in areas like the UK, Germany, and France, where refugee crises and the influx of Middle Easterners create unique and complicated dynamics in domestic politics and local affairs. Terrorists also have been identified in Central Asia and South America; the NCTC therefore expects terrorism to pop up anywhere around the globe.

Today, the NCTC’s efforts of info gathering and sharing focus counterterrorism on HVE, Al Qaeda, and Hezbollah. World events related to Iran, Syria, and the Middle East in general continue to be monitored and addressed. NCTC also focuses on decreasing instances of HVE. The group notes that terrorism is increasingly attractive to teens in the west, many of whom desire attention, fulfilment, meaning, and camaraderie. The NCTC, along with addressing intelligence gaps and sharing knowledge with government agencies and politicians, seeks also to increase community awareness outside of government, by empowering community efforts to both identify extremists and possible extremists, but also to prevent HVE, especially among teens. According to Ms. Matty, there is a clear role of the American public in counterterrorism efforts: to develop societal resilience along with identifying and preventing terrorism at home.

The presentation was very informative, not only on the basis of providing a survey of recent counterterrorism efforts, but also in helping to contextualize the role of US intelligence and counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East, especially given recent events concerning the coming end of the Syrian Civil War, Iran’s partnership with Syria, and what the near future may look like from a counterterrorism viewpoint. Ms. Matty’s presentation helped me to understand that while coalition efforts have been successful in stemming terrorism from these regions, there is still a great need for western and eastern nations to coordinate intelligence gathering and counterterrorism efforts that include, but are not limited to, putting boots on the ground. Certainly, current regional issues deserve a more in-depth analysis in order to understand the role that counterterrorism will play in the coming years. I very much appreciate the efforts of the UVU National Security Studies program to bring such a high-level official to our campus.

Michael Hinatsu, Political Science Major Student, Utah Valley University 




Jesse-Sandstrom-Ms Bridget Matty about countering terrorism


Kyle-Williams-Countering Terrorism


UIMF will contribute to the UN DPI Conference in Utah in 2019

Meeting about preparations for the UN DPI/NGO conference in 2019

On August 28, 2018, Andrew Jensen and I participated at the meeting about the results of the Utah delegation visit to the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN DPI/NGO) Conference during August 21-24, 2018. It was a meeting of students and faculty engaged in the UVUN initiative which means a partnership between UVU and the UN, established in November 2017.  Dr. Baldomero Lago, head of the UVU office of Global Engagement informed us that Mayor of Salt Lake City, Jackie Biskupski announced last week at the UN that Salt Lake City will host the 68th UN DPI/NGO Conference in August 2019.  (See: Mayor Biskupski encouraged the UN to make Sustainability Goal 11 the focus of the 2019 Conference. UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 lays out a series of targets for cities to reach by 2030, including access to safe and affordable housing, transportation, and green and public spaces. Goal 11 also encourages cities to adopt and implement plans to reduce the environmental impact of cities, particularly air quality.

The effort to bring the UN DPI/NGO Conference to Utah began with the UVU Office for Global Engagement. As the first step, Dr. Lago was able to secure for UVU in November 2017 affiliate membership status with the UN DPI with an important task to educate the UVU and larger community on the 17 UN SDGs. Then, Dr. Lago approached Mayor Biskupski about the possibility of hosting the Conference. “Given Salt Lake City’s mission of building a sustainable and resilient city,” as press-release of the Salt Lake City Mayor make reference on Dr. Lago, “it made perfect sense to approach the City to help make this dream a reality.” The 2019 Conference is expected to take place in late August with events hosted at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Downtown Salt Lake City.

(L to R): Andrew Jensen, Samuel Elzinga and Professor Ryan Vogel during the meeting

Dr. Lago informed all of us about several steps in preparations for the next year UN conference: in October 27, this year several high-level representatives of the UN DPI will come to UVU to hold a training seminar for NGOs from the state of Utah. This will be an exciting event for us, members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU, which focuses on the advocacy and implementation of mountain targets in the State of Utah and globally.

Participants of the meeting informed about their activities to be contributed to the agenda of the UVUN initiative during entire year as preparations for the UN Conference. For example, representatives of the UVU Women’s Success Center focused on the celebration of the International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2019, while we, as UIMF members will host annual International Mountain Day commemoration at UVU on December 11, 2018.

One of the important priorities for our coalition would be to work with Dr. Lago to ensure that the agenda of the UN conference will include activities to promote the sustainable mountain development topics and implementation of mountain targets, as we preliminary discussed those issues in October 2017 with Dr. Andrew Taber, Chair of the Mountain Partnership Steering Committee at that time and with a newly elected Chair of the MP Steering Committee, Mr. Grammenos Mastrojeni during recent visit to the High Level Political Forum on sustainable development of ECOSOC on July 16, 2018.

We were grateful to Dr. Lago and his staff for support to UIMF activities during our visits to the UN and this meeting was another example of student engagement from his office in preparations to the unique UN conference which will be hosted for the first time in the wstern part of the United States.

Samuel Elzinga, President, Foreign Affairs Club at UVU      




UIMF members inform Dr. Lago about achievements at the HLPF 2018

Dr. Lago watches a video of UVU students making an oral statement at the UN

Members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) and myself had the opportunity to report our achievements during the visit to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development on July 15-19, 2018 to Dr. Baldomero Lago. Dr. Lago is the Chief International Officer and an official representative to the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN DPI) at UVU. Dr. Lago provided essential assistance to our delegation to achieve our goals at the UN  in particular with arranging meetings with Permanent Representatives to the United Nations of Uzbekistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana and Uganda. As the Chief International Officer, he has a lot of experience navigating and furthering the mission of UVU within the UN. As such, it was our duty to report about the achievements of UVU delegation within the UN at the 2018 High-Level Political Forum.        

Dr. Lago, Andrew Jensen, Samuel Elzinga and Amy Barnett after the meeting

Within our meeting with Dr. Lago, we began by showing him the footage of our delegations presentation to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN (footage can be found at: We explained to him, that it happened thanks to the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS), which as a non-governmental organization in general consultative status with ECOCOS, was allowed to make an oral statement within three minutes. Dr. Butler as the main focal point of RANS to the UN was not able to go to the UN and asked us, students to make an oral statement on his behalf. This was also a demonstration of a true student engaged learning in practice. Therefore, it was interesting to hear how the President of the session, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila, invited three of us to speak, as representatives of RANS, instead of UVU. We explained also that at the end of our presentation, the President of the session thanked us for delivering our presentation in English and in the allotted time. Dr. Lago watched the video and then commentated that he was very impressed with our achievements and with our presentation.

Afterwards I was allowed time to give Dr. Lago a brief reflection on our events from my perspective. I told him that overall, I felt that the experience was a positive one and that the opportunity to give an oral presentation allowed for many contacts with a wide range of different people and organizations within the UN. I explained that as President of the Model United Nations club at UVU, my peers and I had competed at the UN Conference in San Francisco and were awarded a certificate for our excellent performance. I explained that this experience was valuable because it gave me an inside view into the nuances and policies within the UN. I expressed that this was valuable experience and that the Model United Nations club and the UIMF would benefit from further interaction and partnership.

After this I explained that a valuable resource that we attained while at the UN was a new partnership with the Global University System (the article which can be found at: As explained in the aforementioned article, the Global University System is an organization that works with various universities with the intent to promote global best practice educational programs. The opportunity to communicate with the Global University System came from the opportunity to submit a joint cross-cutting statement to all nations that were giving a Voluntary National Review (more information which can be found at: I explained that this meeting was valuable and that I looked forward to Dr. Lago’s further communication with the Global University System. At the end of this portion of the meeting we had the opportunity to further discuss with Dr. Lago, the opportunities and implications of the United Nations DPI conference that is slated to occur next year. Though the details are still in the works, UVU will assuredly be actively involved with future UN activities.

Sam Elzinga, my colleague reported about his experiences of managing protocol for the delegation. We had meetings with Permanent Representatives of several nations accredited to the UN, like Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and others and it happened thanks to the assistance from the office of Dr. Lago and his assistant Amy Barnett.

Andrew Jensen, President, Model UN club at UVU



UIMF reports to Dean Clark about 2018 HLPF activities

Samuel Elzinga, Dean of CHSS, Dr. Steven Clark, and Damon Ashcraft during their meeting.

             On Friday, August 3rd, 2018, delegates from the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), met with the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Steven Clark to follow up on UIMF’s recent visit to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The meeting was a grand overview of the preparation for the event and a report on the event itself, which included us watching with Dr. Clark our oral statement as recorded by UN Web TV.

One of the concepts we highlighted in the meeting with Dr. Clark was the emphasis on student engaged learning. Since it is one of the core philosophies of UVU and because this visit to the HLPF on Sustainable Development was a prime example, the emphasis on student engaged learning was well received. Dr. Clark was very impressed at all our work to get this visit set up and executed properly. UIMF prides itself on its successful approach to student engaged learning, and one of the best examples of this model is shown through visits to the United Nations.

We also expressed our gratitude for all the support we received from the Dean’s office, as the College of Humanities and Social Sciences gave each student that participated in the trip 400 dollars each to use as a travel grant to pay for tickets to New York. Without these travel grants, the trip would not have been possible, so we made sure to express our appreciation for the funding. Though the meeting with the Dean was somewhat brief, it was a great way to follow up with the university to show everyone what we did over the summer. I am looking forward to the other meetings we will have in the future about this trip.

Samuel Elzinga, President, Foreign Affairs Club

UIMF at High Level Political Forum on sustainable development 2018


Utah Valley University (UVU) delegation at HLPF 2018 (L to R): Andrew Jensen, Samuel Elzinga, Damon Ashcraft, UVU students and Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, Lecturer, History and Political Science Department , UVU


Agenda of the visit to the UN          Task list for the visit 


Written statement E/2018/NGO/17 submitted by Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce, for delivery during HLPF 


Recommendation  E/2018/67 for RANS to be heard by the ECOSOC

UIMF members make the oral statement during general debates at HLPF on July 19, 2018 


Oral statement of the UVU delegation at HLPF 2018


Video of the oral statement of UIMF members at HLPF 2018, time frame 1:20:15-1:23:15 (Courtesy of the 


UN Press Release – ECOSOC/6945 from July 19, 2018 about UIMF members statement 


Mountain Partnership about UIMF contribution to HLPF2018


 Op-Ed about the visit in Higher Education Tomorrow, Volume 5, Article 6    


Photos of UIMF activities at HLPF


UVU delegation passes for making the oral statement during general debates at HLPF on July 19, 2018




Damon Ashcraft-UIMF prepares to participate at HLPF


Samuel Elzinga-UIMF at UN High Level Political Forum A Protocol Perspective


Andrew Jensen Preparations to advocate the mountain targets at High Level Political Forum




Sam-Elzinga-Day Before the HLPF



Sam Elzinga-Discussing Mountain Activities with Mr. Mastrojeni During HLPF 2018


Damon Ashcraft-UIMF focuses on mountains during first day at HLPF 2018


Samuel Elzinga-UIMF attends a side event on mountains at HLPF 2018


Andrew Jensen-UIMF participated at the Mountain Partnership activities at HLPF 2018


Andrew Jensen-UIMF networks with professionals at HLPF 2018



Samuel Elzinga-UIMF discusses SDG17 with PR of Uzbekistan to UN


 Samuel Elzinga- Learning from Romania about NGOs involvement in SDGs implementation


Damon Ashcraft – Attending a side event on the involvement of the civil society in the monitoring of the SDGs



 Andrew Jensen-UIMF asked mountain-focused question during VNR of Romania


Samuel Elzinga-UIMF HLPF 2018 delegates learn about Tajikistan’s water decade initiative


Sam Elzinga- UIMF discussed mountain targets with envoy of Kyrgyzstan during 2018 HLPF


Andrew Jensen-UIMF partners with the Global University System at HLPF 2018


Samuel Elzinga-UIMF attended a 2018 HLPF side event on Central Asia


Sam Elzinga-UIMF members discuss advocacy at the UN with LDS Charities



Andrew Jensen-UIMF engaged learning lessons during general debates at HLPF 2018


Samuel Elzinga-UIMF oral statement and general debates at HLPF 2018



UIMF Congratulates Utah China F.I.S.H.D.&C. with Joining the Mountain Partnership

Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce (Utah China F.I.S.H.D.&C.) , a non-governmental organization in special consultative status with Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, joined the Mountain Partnership.

Utah International Mountain Forum congratulates Ms. Wendy Jyang, President of Utah China F.I.S.H.D.&C. with such a new important step in this NGO activities.

Ms. Wendy Jyang and her NGO supported several UIMF initiatives with focus on the promotion of the sustainable mountain development agenda of the United Nations in the State of Utah, North America and at the United Nations.

Ms. Jyang was a very active contributor to the activities and agenda of the fourth international Women of the Mountains Conference which UIMF hosted at UVU in October 2015. The conference was highlighted in the UN Secretary Generals report on SMD  A/71/256  on July 29, 2016.

Her NGO co-sponsored joint written statements, which highlighted UVU student engaged learning model to advocate for SMD agenda, during the 53rd session of the UN Commission on Social development in January-February, 2018, during 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2018, and during the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July, 2018.

Yanko Dzhukev, UIMF Liaison for MPS under FAO-UN 



A Coalition of UVU Clubs