United Nations day at UVU

United Nations day will be celebrated at Utah Valley University (UVU) on Thursday, October 24, 2019. Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU, will contribute to the activities at UVU campus that day and host own table.

UIMF members will raise awareness among UVU faculty and students about the importance to  implement  three mountain targets among the 17 United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. Mountain targets are designated by UN to ensure sustainable development for mountain communities, the poorest and the most neglected ones both at national and international levels.

Samuel Elzinga, President, UIMF

World Polio Day commemoration at Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University Rotaract will host a World Polio Day at noon of Wednesday, October 23, 2019. The agenda will include a  lunch on behalf of the Orem Rotary  in room SC 213C from 12:00pm to 12:50pm.

After that the presentation will be given by Dr. John Hanrahan, Rotary District Governor in SC 2213B from 1:00pm to 1:50pm.

Dr. Hanrahan will speak on the history of polio as well as modern day efforts leading to its eradication and Rotary International’s involvement.  He will be followed by brief remarks by Dr. Lago, CIO/Vice-Rector at UVU on Global Engagement as well as other speakers on subjects such as student engaged learning and community awareness.

Kyle Warren, UVU Rotaract President

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UVU Announcement

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International Day of Peace celebrated at UVU

September 21th, 2019 has marked the 20-year anniversary of the conception of the United Nations’ International Day of Peace. This day is honored around the world by the United Nations member states as a reminder of the unanimous commitment and devotion to “strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” (via www.un.org ).

This commitment has even more meaning in light of the adoption of the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). SDGs are focused on economic and social development for countries around the world in a variety of different areas including gender equality, sanitation, education, climate change and more.

Utah Valley University (UVU) students had the opportunity to participate in celebrating and honoring this international commitment through an event sponsored by UVU’s reflection center in conjunction with UVU’s Peace and Justice Studies program.

This event brought together students of different races, economic backgrounds, religions, and interests to communicate their personal definitions and applications of the idea of peace.

Utah Valley University students discussing the role different theology plays in social ideals

After introductions, each student was provided the opportunity to express a portion of their personal identity or cultural affiliation. This provided a pathway for positive dialogue between people with different views and beliefs. Students were able to effectively communicate with others and discuss distinctions in identity.

On the wall of the Reflection Center on campus where the event was held there were seventeen posted pictures, one for each of the UN’s seventeen SDGs. Each person in attendance was invited to view and ponder these displayed goals. Despite each individual’s unique culture, beliefs, values and identity, the room agreed unanimously upon the validity and importance of the necessity and importance of taking action in order to achieve this specific set of goals.

United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals Displayed in UVU Reflection Center

Representing the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of clubs at UVUI was able to introduce our mission in relation to the UN’s goals and sustainable mountain development. The interest of several students in bringing about positive change for suffering women in mountain communities was touching.

The event really impressed upon me the power in bringing together people from all backgrounds to work towards the common good. Each student or represented organization (such as environmental activists or non-denominational Christian groups) in attendance had a different advocated cause, each of which could be placed inside one of the seventeen goals of the UN. Through collaboration with other groups, larger, multi-dimensional objectives can be accomplished. It lent itself to the idea that small changes on local levels leads to larger change within communities.

UVU students participating in reflection and dialogue about UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The ideas and possibilities presented at the International Day of Peace event represent the construction of an inclusive model for increasing sustainability on many different levels here on campus. This model we are creating as UVU students can be used on many larger scales as we refine and work towards the accomplishment of the goals we have set that define and defend the idea of peace we seek for all to have the opportunity to obtain. It is reflective of the larger goals we have for all countries and humankind.

            Yana Andersen, UIMF member

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 THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE 

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UIMF Participates at Utah Valley University Club Rush

Club Rush at Utah Valley University

On September 10 and 11, 2019, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), participated in the annual Club Rush event hosted by UVU. Club Rush is an event whereby UVU students can learn about and join the many student clubs on campus.

Our magic stress balls were popular among students  during Club Rush

UIMF took this opportunity to raise funds,  recruit new members to participate in its advocacy work and inform UVU students in general about its mission, which since 2007 has been empower women and girls living in mountain communities and “to promote the sustainability of the world’s Mountain Environments and livelihoods through youth efforts and community-engaged learning, both locally and globally, through advocacy, networking, knowledge sharing, and exchanges of best practices.”

(L to R) UIMF members Ahmed Alsharif, Hazim Alshanbari, and Abdulrahman Alghanmi at Club Rush

As the vice president of UIMF, I had the opportunity to organize member efforts to prepare and participate in Club Rush. Thankfully, UIMF members were eager to help out with both the preparation of the table and materials for our display, as well as working shifts to promote UIMF’s cause to UVU students and recruit prospective UIMF members.

New UIMF member Yana Andersen helping out at Club Rush

There was a substantial amount of UVU students who had never heard of UIMF and were impressed with the different advocacy campaigns UIMF has performed, such as the advocacy at the 68th United Nations (UN) Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 26-28, 2019. Many UVU students participated in the conference but were unaware that UVU had student groups contributing to the conference’s mission; as a result, many students were eager to get more information about how they could contribute to similar forums under the umbrella of UVU and UIMF.

The two days of Club Rush were a success, both for recruiting prospective UIMF members, and for promoting the empowerment of women and girls in mountain communities as part of the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. Many UVU students are interested in sustainability topics, including Utah-specific issues such as water quality, air quality, rural economic issues, and sustainable infrastructure; UIMF thus provided an important opportunity for more learners to be empowered to implement the 2030 Agenda in their own communities, per Sustainable Development Goal target 4.7.

UIMF continues to work to prepare to advocate for mountain women and girls, as well as the education of all learners, at the upcoming 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2020.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President

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POSTERS  AND BROCHURE USED AT CLUB RUSH

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UIMF at CSW63                                     UIMF at 2018 HLPF

UIMF BROCHURE

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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VIctoria Bindrup-UIMF members contribute to Club Rush at UVU

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UIMF Advocated for Mountain Targets at the 68th UN Civil Society Conference

From August 26th to the 28th, 2019 members of the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), participated in the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference (UNCSC) in Salt Lake City, Utah. This conference was the first time the UN hosted a meeting in America outside of New York City since the UN was formed in San Francisco in 1945.

UIMF members advocated for mountain targets implementation at the UNCSC by hosting:

1) UIMF’s exhibit #124 titled “Student Engaged Learning to Advocate for Mountains “ from August 26th to 28th and;

2) a workshop titled “Student Engaged Learning to Advocate for Mountain Women and Targets at UN ECOSOC forums “ on August 28th.

Initially UIMF applied and was approved to host three workshops at the UNCSC, but one month before the conference it was asked to consolidate it in one because of too many requests from other institutions around the world. As a result, that one workshop was comprised from representatives of UVU, UIMF, the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, and the government of Kyrgyzstan.

Most importantly, however, several UIMF members lead by Michael Hinatsu focused and were able to secure language in the outcome document of the (UNCSC) that specifically states the importance of promoting sustainable mountain development. This is the first time such language has been included in a final document of a major UN civil society conference.

(L to R): Mr. Sam Elzinga, President UIMF and William Gum, member, UIMF  during the workshop at UN Civil Society Conference

UIMF was one of the only organizations at this conference that had a youth-led workshop as well as a youth-led exhibit. This made UIMF a key organization at this conference due to its strong youth presence. What truly made UIMF unique among all of the youth-led exhibits and workshops, however, was its inclusion of non-traditional students. UIMF places special emphasis on including non-traditional students due to the unique perspective they provide when conducting advocacy efforts at the United Nations. One such UVU student, Mr. D. William Gum-Causey , was able to present his research regarding violence against Native-American women and its impact on the sustainable mountain development agenda.

Group photo after the UIMF workshop at UNCSC 

During the workshop on promoting the sustainable mountain development agenda, I moderated while presenters shared their findings with the audience. Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev, the President’s Representative to the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan, presented on Kyrgyzstan’s implementation of the sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda; Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, faculty mentor of UIMF, presented on behalf of Dr. Rusty Butler, the UN focal point for the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences on the RANS/UVU/UIMF partnership and how that has impacted advocacy efforts at the United Nations; Dr. Sara Ulloa, the Chair of the languages and cultures department at UVU, addressed gender equality as it relates to the SMD agenda in Peru;    Dr. Alexander Stecker,  former Political Science Coordinator at UVU, presented on a history of UVU’s involvement with both Kyrgyzstan and the UN to support the SMD agenda; Mr. Jesler Molina, former UIMF President, presented on his role in advocating for the SMD agenda by participating in the Open Working Group on the SDGs to include three mountain targets; Mr. Michael Hinatsu, the Vice-President of UIMF, discussed the dire importance of implementing the SMD agenda as it relates to other UN initiatives like food insecurity; Ms. Rebecca Bindraban, the editor-in-chief of the Youth and the Mountains journal, discussed about the contents of 2018 and 2019 issues and how the journal helps highlight UIMF activities at the United Nations; and Mr. Carlos Alarco from the UVU Office for Global Engagement discussed his involvement with the Women of the Mountains Conferences and managing its web-site in particular.

(R to L): Tyler L. Jaynes, B.Sc., UVU alumnus; Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev, official from Kyrgyzstan; Michael Hinatsu, Vice-President of UIMF; and Tokona Dyikanbaeva, wife of Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev; at the UIMF booth during the UN Civil Society Conference

The exhibit of the UIMF was prepared with professional help from the UVU Marketing: we were provided with a backdrop for our booth and leaflets  about UIMF activities.  It was maintained and handled during all three days of the UNCSC by Tyler Jaynes, Viktoriia Bahrii, Rebecca Bindraban, Michael Hinatsu, Kyle Warren,  and William Gum.

(L to R): Mr. William Gum, Mr. Michael Hinatsu, Ms. Julie Kofoed and Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev  during the UN Civil Society Conference

By the initiative of William Gum, UIMF members  were able also to successfully host Mrs. Julie Kofoed, Senior Manager for Social Sustainability with UN Global Compact, who provided excellent insight into how to prepare for the 64th Commission on the Status of Women, as well as how the UN system works with the private sector to promote and implement the SDGs.

Austin Melina, UIMF member contributed to hosting the delegation of the Global University System comprised from five scholars from the United States.

Overall, UIMF’s advocacy and participation in this conference was a great success. We were not only able to be one of the only youth-led organizations at the conference but also to complete our advocacy goals by getting language into the outcome document. Participating in this conference was certainly the highlight of my undergraduate career, and I look forward to continuing promoting the SMD agenda at the United Nations in future conferences.

Samuel Elzinga, President, Utah International Mountain Forum

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UIMF WORKSHOP JOINT POWERPOINT

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STATEMENTS

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Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev   Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev

Dr. Sara Ulloa                                    Dr. Alexander Stecker  

Mr. Jesler Molina                                     Mr. Michael Hinatsu

Mr. D. William Gum-Causey        Ms. Rebecca Bindraban

Mr. Carlos Alarco

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Video of the event

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MEDIA ABOUT UIMF AT 68th UNCSC

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In building sustainable and inclusive communities, Utah’s youth will lead the way

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Youth group UIMF puts mountains on the map at UNCSC

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Kyrgyzstan promoted sustainable mountain development during the UN conference in the State of Utah, USA

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Students and teachers represent UVU United Nations Civil Society Conference

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FACULTY REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Paul Gallo-Nations Uniting on Mountain Tops: What Utah Offers to International Diplomacy

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Michael Hinatsu-68th UNCSC Outcome Document Focuses on Mountain Communities

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Viktoriia Bahrii UIMF Workshop during 68th UN Civil Society Conference

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Kyle Warren-Representing UVU Rotaract at the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference

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Tyler Jaynes – My Contribution to the 68th UNCSC Conference Activities

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Viktoriia Bahrii – Attending Thematic Session on Peaceful Societies at the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference

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68th UNCSC Outcome Document Focuses on Mountain Communities

On August 26-28, 2019, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), participated in the 68th United Nations (UN) Civil Society Conference (UNCSC) in Salt Lake City, Utah, to advocate for the empowerment of communities who live in mountainous areas. UIMF members hosted a workshop titled “Student Engaged Learning to Advocate for Mountain Women and Targets at UN ECOSOC forums” on August 28, 2019 and a booth during the duration of the UNCSC.  A major part of UIMF’s advocacy was to ensure that the UNCSC Outcome Document included language about mountains and their communities, as well as language about the importance of education in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Several dignitaries contributed to UIMF efforts: Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Kyrgyz President to the Kyrgyz Parliament, who brought a letter from the head of the country urging for the mountain language to be included in the final document of the UNCSC and Mrs. Julie Kofoed, Senior Manager for Social Sustainability with UN Global Compact, who advised coalition members how to achieve that goal not only with UNCSC final document, but also next year during the 64th session of the Commission on Status of Women.

(L to R): Ms. Amy Barnett, UVU office of Global Engagement, Mr. Miles Hansen, President, Utah World Trade Center, Mrs. Julie Kofoed, Senior Manager for Social Sustainability with UN Global Compact, Mr. William Gum, UIMF member and Mr. Michael Hinatsu, VP, UIMF during the conference 

Since 2016, UIMF has conducted similar advocacy campaigns to ensure such language was included in other UN forums on sustainability, including the 62nd and 63rdsessions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, as well as the 2018 High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development.

To prepare for this conference, Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, UIMF’s faculty mentor, and myself worked to analyze the various drafts of the Outcome Document to find places where we could insert language about women and girls in mountain and small island areas, as well as UVU’s student engaged learning model (SEL) and the empowerment of all learners as implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

 

Much of  our language submitted  to the draft Outcome document was not included in the final draft exactly as we suggested it in our submission; for example, UIMF’s language also included mention of the importance of empowering women and girls in mountain communities in particular, as well as empowering all learners, specifically nontraditional students, to implement the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

However, thanks to the efforts of UIMF members, UVU faculty, and key partners within the UN system, including from Kyrgyzstan and  NGOs, some of UIMF’s proposed language about mountains was included in the preamble of the 68th UNCSC Outcome Document in the following way: “We recognize the interdependence of rural and urban prosperity, as well as the need to address the specific conditions of mountainous areas and small island developing States.” 

Additionally, the document included language statingthe need to empower all generations with education, skills, and opportunities.”(R to L): Michael Hinatsu discusses proposed language about mountains to the UNCSC Outcome Document with Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Kyrgyz Parliament. 

During the UNCSC, I had the task and opportunity to monitor the progress of the Outcome Document and working to advocate during civil society caucuses and other meetings for UIMF’s language to be included in it. I divided time between my responsibilities with UIMF member William Gum-Causey to host Mrs. Julie Kofoed with my work of attending civil society and youth caucuses regarding the content of the Outcome Document drafts.

 

(R to L): Michael Hinatsu discusses proposed language about mountains to the UNCSC Outcome Document with Mr. Felipe Queipo, UN Department of Public Information   

With the help of Dr. Abdrisaev and in particular Mr. Richard Jordan, Dean of UN Non-governmental representatives, New York, Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Kyrgyz Parliament, and Mr. Felipe Queipo with the UN Department of Public Information, I was able to attend the most important caucus meetings and follow important advises on how best to raise awareness for UIMF language.

(L to R): Mr. Richard Jordan, William Gum and Michael Hinatsu discuss  proposed language about mountains to the UNCSC Outcome Document.  

I attended one such caucus on Tuesday, August 27, which was moderated by the UNCSC Chair, Mrs. Maruxa Cardama. During this town hall meeting, I was able to address Mrs. Cardama and the other moderators about the importance of including mountains in the Outcome Document, since mountains and their communities, especially women and girls, suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change, as well as poverty and food insecurity. I also addressed the need to include all leaners, not just youth, in the Outcome Document, as part of implementation of SDG target 4.7. I similarly attended one of the sessions of the youth caucus to monitor the progress of the UNCSC Youth Climate Compact.

I am very grateful to Mr. Jordan, Dr. Abdrisaev, and my fellow UIMF members, as well as all others who helped UIMF to advocate for its language to be included in the UNCSC Outcome Document. On behalf of UIMF, I also very much thank UVU, in particularly the Office of Global Engagement, for assisting UIMF to attend the UNCSC and providing the groundwork by which UIMF connected with NGOs, diplomats, and others to conduct our advocacy work. Such work shows the effectiveness of civil society partnerships and UVU’s SEL model to empower students to implement the 2030 Agenda both locally and on a global level.

UIMF is preparing under SEL to attend the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2020, with the goal of ensuring that similar language will be included in that forum’s final document.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President

Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev Speaks at UVU About Reforms in Kyrgyzstan

Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev speaks before Comparative Politics of Central Asia class

Kurmanbek Diykanbaev, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic to the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament of Kyrgyzstan), visited Utah from August 21 to 28, 2019 to represent his government at the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference (UNCSC) in Salt Lake City and speak at the workshop there hosted by the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU). Along with  participating in the conference, Mr. Dyikanbaev also was able to hold meetings with students and members of UVU faculty. One of the classes he visited was the Comparative Politics of Central Asia Class, taught by Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, on August 23rd. This class, entirely focused on Central Asia, was a perfect forum for Mr. Dyikanbaev to talk about the Kyrgyz Republic and its history, politics, and role in the Central Asian region.

Mr. Diykanbaev presented for about 30 minutes, with Dr. Abdrisaev translating from Russian to English. During this time, Mr. Dyikanbaev talked about Kyrgyzstan’s role in the Soviet Union, how decisions were made during Soviet times. Personally, I found the discussion on decentralization and decision-making in the USSR to be rather interesting. Mr. Dyikanbaev, though a veterinarian by trade, is an expert on decentralization and how rights are redistributed in his country with empowering municipalities. It was very interesting to hear his perspective on decentralization, especially in Kyrgyzstan, which is my country of focus.

Mr. Dyikanbaev also touched on the governmental structure of Kyrgyzstan, which has changed quite drastically since the dissolution of the USSR. Mr. Dyikanbaev specifically talked about the role of the parliament in the new system, which was interesting to listen about. Mr. Dyikanbaev has worked both as a deputy of parliament and currently as the President’s representative to the parliament, so he was able to discuss the role of the legislature from a variety of perspectives. It was interesting to hear him talk specifically about the transition from a government specifically centered around the president to a government where the parliament holds the majority of the power. After Kyrgyzstan’s 2010 violent regime change, the government shifted to a parliamentary model with the adoption of a new constitution. This constitution also severely limited the power of the executive branch. It was interesting to hear Mr. Diykanbaev talk about the relationship between the executive and the legislative branches of Kyrgyzstan, and I am sure many of my colleagues in the class felt similarly.

Group photo with Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev

Having Mr. Dyikanbaev in our class was an excellent way to start the semester. Not only was he an important figure from Kyrgyzstan visiting Utah, he had a plethora of regional knowledge and insight to share with our class, which is solely focused on Central Asia. Though I was able to work with Mr. Diykanbaev throughout his time in Utah and during the UNCSC in particular, listening to his lecture in the class was surely a highlight of my interaction with him.

Samuel Elzinga, President, Utah International Mountain Forum

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Kanyon Lee-Learning about Kyrgyzstan from Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev

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Sariah Gomez-Lecture of the Kyrgyz official at Utah Valley University

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Abdulrahman Alghanmi-Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaevs visit to Utah Valley University

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Utah Valley University strengthens cooperation with Kyrgyzstan through Mountain Partnership

Utah Valley University (UVU) faculty and students at Osh market

Utah Valley University delegation, comprised of six students and two faculty members, visited Kyrgyzstan through a study abroad program during August 2-12, 2019. The delegation included: Dr. Lynn England, director, Peace and Justice Program; Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, lecturer, department of history and political science and students: Hannah Elizabeth Peay, Sarah May Michaelis, Hayley Michelle Conant, Victoria Ann Bindrup, Graham Nicholas Taggart, and Steven Barrett Thompson.

The main goal of the visit was to get delegation members acquainted with the process of strengthening Kyrgyzstan as an independent nation, including the study of its history and culture. Additionally, the visit allowed UVU to strengthen cooperation established since 2006 with several partners in Kyrgyzstan, through the angle of joint advocacy of the United Nations sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda.

Before coming to Kyrgyzstan, the UVU delegation visited Moscow under the same program by the invitation of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS). During the visit to Moscow from July 24 until August 1, 2019, delegation members were able to learn more about different aspects of political and economic life in Russia and also to discuss further cooperation between UVU and RANS at the United Nations Economic and Social Council to advocate jointly the UN SMD agenda.

Information agency “Kabar” provided hosts services to organize meetings for the American delegation with local academic partners, representatives of business, political scientists and officials of the country.

Within the cultural activities of the itinerary, UVU faculty and students have the opportunity to get acquainted with places of interest in Bishkek, like visiting museums and orphanages in the capital of the country. Delegates visited Ala-Archa gorge as well.

UVU faculty and students and their hosts at Ala-Archa gorge

During the meeting with Mr. Almazbek Akmataliev, director of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, UVU students were able to learn about administrative system of the Kyrgyz Republic, training of the personnel in the country and the role used by the Academy in reforming administrative system of the country.

UVU delegation members and their hosts during the meeting with Mr. Almazbek Akmataliev, director of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic

During the meeting with director of Kyrgyz National Kabar News Agency, Mr. Kubanychbek Taabaldiev informed the UVU delegation about the role of media in the advancement of reforms within the country, including in the improvement of livelihoods of the mountain communities, alongside their development and cooperation with media outlets in other mountain nations.

UVU delegation members and their hosts during the meeting with Mr. Kubanychbek Taabaldiev, director of Kabar News Agency

Dr. Almazbek Atabekov, Chair, Department of Management at Osh Technological University  informed UVU delegation  about history of Osh, cooperation of the OshTU with other mountain countries and especially with academic institutions in Central Asian region. He also reported about cooperation, established since 2012 between OshTU and UVU; at that time the two academic institutions joint hosted in the Osh city international conference on the impact of climate change on the lives of the mountain communities. In addition, he outlined main priorities in a mutually beneficial cooperation between OshTU and UVU in the areas of SMD, especially water, environmental issues, etc.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Dr. Almazbek Atabekov, Chair, Department of management at Osh Technological University

During the meeting with Dr. Dr. Bolot Moldobekov, co-director of the Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences, American faculty and students were able to learn new data about climate change as an emerging challenge for the mountain countries, and Kyrgyzstan in particular. Dr. Moldobekov also dedicated time to the report by using the Kyrgyz Republic as an example, about scientific solutions for different challenges faced by the mountain countries.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Dr. Bolot Moldobekov, co-director of the Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences

During the meeting with Ms. Nurgul Asanova, Vice-Chair of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic,UVU delegates learned about judicial system of the Kyrgyz Republic and its differences from the ones in neighboring countries. She also shared information about current reform in the judicial branch of power, structure of the Supreme Court, and about its main activities. In turn, students inquired about the level of confidence among the populace to the courts and what kind of measures are undertaken to increase it.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Ms. Nurgul Asanova, Vice-Chair of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic

UVU delegation visit to Kyrgyzstan would be incomplete without meeting with representatives of business. For that purpose, UVU delegates visited the office of the International Business Council of KyrgyzstanMr. Askar Sydykov, its executive director described the role of business in the economic development of Kyrgyzstan. He also shared information about conditions, created in the country to attract large business companies, challenges, experienced by businesses in this mountain country and what is undertaken for development of business in Kyrgyzstan.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Mr. Askar Sydykov, executive director of the International Business Council of Kyrgyzstan

UVU delegation used an opportunity to visit a new campus of the American University in Central Asia. AUCA manager Diora Khakimhodjaeva served them as a campus tour guide and informed them about universities education programs.

UVU students during the tour at the campus of the American University in Central Asia.

During the meeting with Mr. Harry Linden, head of USAID in the Kyrgyz Republic, UVU delegates learned what kind of assistance is provided by the US administration to promote reforms in the Kyrgyz Republic; major programs functioning and implemented in the country and in the mountain regions in particular. Mr. Linden also described USAID plans for the future.

UVU delegation members after the meeting with Mr. Harry Linden, head of USAID in the Kyrgyz Republic

Mr. Maksat Damir Uulu, head of the Department of tourism under the Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic informed UVU delegation about tourism development in Kyrgyzstan, as a country located at the Great Silk Road. He also described major activities of the department to implement the program of development of tourism in the country.

UVU delegation members after the meeting with Mr. Maksat Damir Uulu, head of the Department of tourism under the Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic.

During the meeting with Mr. Edil Osmonbetov, international affair expert, UVU faculty and students learned about foreign policy of the Kyrgyz Republic since the country’s independence. The Kyrgyz expert described in detail about major challenges which the country has faced while strengthening its independence and major efforts undertaken for the development of a full-fledged democratic society in the country.

UVU delegation members and hosts after the meeting with Mr. Edil Osmonbetov, political expert

During the visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UVU delegation was informed about the role of the Ministry in development of cooperation with the United States. Mr. Seyit Ubukeev, director of the fifth political department of the MFA informed delegates about activities of his department under the umbrella of the Mountain Partnership, including a cooperation with other mountain countries. Mr. Karybaev Mirbek, MFA desk officer for the United States informed UVU delegates about main activities in bilateral cooperation with USA.

UVU delegation members and hosts during the meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic

UVU delegation also met with Mr. Parhat Tulendybaev, deputy of the Kyrgyz Parliament from the party «Republic-Ata-Jurt». Mr. Tulendybaev informed students and faculty about activities of the Parliament, its peculiarities, and specifics of the lawmaking process in the country.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Mr. Parhat Tulendybaev, deputy of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic

The UVU delegation was provided an opportunity to visit Issyk-Kul lake and on the way there to see Burana Tower, which belongs to the epoch of the Karakhanid empire of the XI century near the city Tokmok. At the Issyk-Kul lake, the UVU delegation met Mr. Danir Imanaliev, head of Issyk-Kul State Administration. Mr. Imanaliev informed guests about his region, measures undertaken to develop tourism and cooperation with other mountain nations and sister-cities, including with the State of Washington in the United States.

UVU delegation members and their hosts during the meeting with Mr. Danir Imanaliev, head of the Issyk-Kul region

During the meeting with Mr. Kurmanbek Diykanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, the UVU delegation learned about experiences of Kyrgyzstan in the development of its parliamentary democracy. Mr. Diykanbaev reported also about the initiative of the President of Kyrgyzstan, to develop regions of the country, which resulted in declaring 2018 as the Year of Development of Regions of the country, and 2019 – as the Year of Development and Digitization of Regions. He also informed UVU delegates about their achievements within the latest initiatives of the head of state.

UVU delegation members after the meeting with Mr. Kurmanbek Diykanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic

A very brief but intense visit of UVU faculty and students to the Kyrgyz Republic was finished on August 12, 2019. Knowledge and experiences gained during numerous presentations and meetings with officials, experts, businessman and by personally observing political life in the country, demonstrated to UVU delegates that the Kyrgyz Republic continues and intends to continue its uneasy path of building a democratic society despite numerous economic, political, and environmental challenges and obstacles. Both sides expressed their desire to continue their joint cooperation to improve economic conditions of mountain communities in both countries through educational programs with youth involvement in particular.

UVU delegation members and their hosts at Ruh Ordo Cultural Center, Issyk Kul Lake

Ermek Abdrisaev

Kabar News Agency

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Victoria Bindrup-UVU Students Visit Kyrgyz Republic

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Steven Thompson-UVU Students Work to Develop Cooperative Relations Between Utah And Kyrgyzstan

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Hannah Peay-My visit to Kyrgyzstan

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2018 Annual Report of the Mountain Partnership highlights UIMF

2018 Annual Report of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat highlighted Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF) efforts  “… to raise global awareness of issues affecting mountain women at the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), held at the United Nations Headquarters in March 2018” (P.5). The Mountain Partnership is a United Nations voluntary alliance of partners dedicated to improving the lives of mountain peoples and protecting mountain environments around the world.”

This was one more recognition of efforts of members of the UIMF, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) to advocate for the sustainable mountain development agenda in the State of Utah and the UN. 11 UVU students led by Matthew Rands, President of UIMF, Derek Garfield, Vice President, UIMF and myself  contributed to the CSW63 agenda by hosting a  side- and a parallel events and submitting a written statement, which was distributed as an official document of ECOSOC during March 19-21-2018.  UIMF members advocate the SMD agenda through the student engaged learning model by addressing real-world problems of mountain communities as a group with a faculty serving them as a mentor.

The 2018 Annual Report of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat also mentioned, that the UIMF “… highlighted issues affecting mountain women, who are among the poorest in the world and the most vulnerable to challenges such as climate change and outmigration.”

Dylan Genes, Vice President, UIMF

UVU Students and Study Abroad in Russia and Kyrgyzstan

Two faculty and six students from Utah Valley University are promoting  the sustainable mountain development agenda and activities through UVU partners in the Russian Federation and Kyrgyzstan.

Delegation members promote UVU in Moscow

They  are hosted by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS) in Moscow, Russian Federation, and the Kyrgyz National State Agency Kabar in Bishkek , the Kyrgyz Republic.  The UVU study abroad group will visit both sites during July 23 – August 13 2019

UVU delegation at Red Square in Moscow

Delegation includes the following individuals: 1). Dr. Lynn England, Director, Peace and Justice Program at UVU; 2). Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, Lecturer, History and Political Science department at UVU; 3). Victoria Ann Bindrup; 4). Hayley Michelle Conant; 5). Sarah May Michaelis; 6). Hannah Elizabeth Peay; 7). Graham Nicholas Taggart; 8). Steven Barrett Thompson,

Barrett Thompson and Sarah Michaels at the Exhibition of National Economy Achievements (ВДНХ) 

Samuel Elzinga, President, Utah International Mountain Forum

 

A Coalition of UVU Clubs