UIMF is a UVU chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States of America

On November 13th, 2019, the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) established its chapter at Utah Valley University (UVU) through the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs on campus at UVU. UIMF advocates for the United Nations Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) Agenda in the State of Utah and in North America since 2011.

It would provide more opportunities for UIMF to involve our members in the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and sustainable mountain development in Utah as well.

UNA-USA has already supported efforts of UIMF in promoting SMD agenda and highlighted that by posting a toolkit on why mountains matter and adding the International Mountain Day to observe among the UN event recommended to all its chapters around the United States.    

The chapter was created as a result of the support from the UVU Office of Global Engagement which facilitated a partnership since 2018 between UIMF and UNA-USA youth engagement manager Anna Mahalak. Two sides worked closely during preparations and participation at the 68th United Nations Civil Society.  Conference, co-hosted by UVU with Salt Lake City on August 26-28, 2019, involved youth in all activities and UIMF contributed to it by hosting a workshop and a poster session.

UIMF is looking forward to continuing cooperation with UNA-USA and during the 64th session on the Commission on the Status of Women, which UIMF members are currently making final preparations for.

Samuel Elzinga, President, UIMF.

My Internship at the Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations

Brandon Pedler with Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, Ambassador Kelly Craft,

In the last several weeks, I have had the opportunity to work as an intern for the US State Department at the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN) in New York City. Situated directly across 1st Avenue from the United Nations, the twenty-three-story building overlooks the UN General Assembly building and the East River. On the twentieth floor of the building is the Political Section where I have been interning. This section is primarily responsible for issues pertaining to the UN Security Council but also helps with the General Assembly (GA) and its committees where needed.

I arrived at the Political Section at USUN on the 16th of September 2019, one week before the beginning of high-level week at the UN. High-level week saw the arrival of the heads of state of over one hundred and eighty countries to come speak in front of the General Assembly. During this week I had the opportunity to sit in the GA and listen to some of the heads of state hold their addresses on the world stage. In a small special gathering just for USUN staff and their families I also had the chance to meet the President of the United States. However, the real work began after all the world leaders left New York City.

Brandon Pedler at the podium in the UN General Assembly Hall

The Security Council has had a very busy few months leading up to the holidays, with the renewal of several Peacekeeping Missions around the world coming due in the last few months, and a few more still to come before Christmas. Under the direction of the mission staff, I helped with the renewal of the peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and am currently helping with the efforts to renew the mandate of the mission in Abyei, a disputed region on the border of Sudan and South Sudan (UNISFA), and the mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). While my role in all of these efforts have been primarily supporting in nature, I have had the chance to help inform US policy makers on what is happening in these negotiations and back the efforts of the diplomatic staff.

Brandon Pedler behind the US desk in the UN Security Council Chamber

Along with these efforts, I have been involved with the Fourth Committee, which deals with decolonization and special topics. While I have usually been taking notes and back benching for USUN staff, I have had the chance to sit in the chair as the representative of the United States in the committee when the primary was unable to attend the meetings. Many of the responsibilities here again included supporting the US staff and providing summaries of the events during the meetings. Nevertheless, the experience has taught me how the United Nations functions at the highest levels of multilateral diplomacy.

Additionally, I have engaged with other member states of the UN on different topics such as Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), Protection of Civilians (POC), and Disarmament (DDR). In some of these meetings I was sent alone as the representative of the United States when our own primaries were unable to attend due to other commitments. This has given me the chance to make professional connections with representatives of other countries and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) while representing the interest of the United States in these issues. This hands-on learning experience has been invaluable to my professional development and builds upon the skills learned at UVU and UIMF.

Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations in New York

As I come upon the end of my internship on the 22nd of November, I still have a lot of work ahead in the coming days. The process of peace never stops, and I am grateful for what I can do to be part of that progression and representing the United States’ interest in that peace. While the United Nations is not a perfect tool, it has helped prevent the development of large-scale conflict in the last seventy-four years. As the UN celebrates its sesquicentennial next year, I hope and believe that my efforts here have helped to make the world a safer and more peaceful place. I am grateful to all those who have helped me get here and the experience and education I received through the Utah International Mountain Forum and Utah Valley University through engaged student learning.

Brandon Pedler, member, UIMF

Utah Valley University Hosts 3rd Annual Diplomatic Conference

On November 4th, 2019, the Utah Valley University Office for Global Engagement hosted its 3rd annual Utah Diplomatic Conference focused on foreign trade and investment between Utah and the rest of the world. This conference usually brings together trade representatives, consuls general, honorary consuls, and members of Utah’s state and local government to learn more about Utah’s role in international trade and diplomacy, all while being accessible for Utah Valley University (UVU) students interested in these areas of focus.

This year’s conference brought to UVU campus hundreds of guests from around the state of Utah and beyond, all while hosting official representatives of 13 countries who focused specifically on trade and investment. The foreign governments in attendance included: Australia, Canada, Czechia, Finland, Hungary, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Dr. Astrid Tuminez, UVU President speaks during the diplomatic conference

The conference itself was divided into three distinct sections: the plenary session, the breakout sessions, and the networking session. The opening plenary was opened by Dr. Baldomero Lago, Chief International Officer on Global Engagement for Utah Valley University, who was then followed by President Astrid Tuminez, President of UVU, and lastly followed by Lieutenant Governor of the State of Utah Mr. Spencer Cox. Each of these esteemed presenters focused their remarks on welcoming all to the conference. Following him, David Utrilla, President of the Consular Corps of Utah, provided remarks, as did the Regional Director for the Office of Foreign Missions for the Department of State Christina J. Hernandez, followed by the Director of US Commercial Services, Shelby Daiek.

Dr. Val Hale, Executive Director for the Governor’s Office for Economic Development speaks during the diplomatic conference

After these remarks, attendees of the conference were able to hear from various business leaders from around Utah on their thoughts concerning foreign trade. Such presenters included Franz Kolb, the director of protocol for the State of Utah; Miles Hansen, the president of WTC Utah; Dr. Saeed Movani, Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology at UVU, and Vicki Bennet, the director for sustainability for Salt Lake County. These speakers all remarked how Utah was a unique place with its international focus and presence of many citizens who speak foreign languages. Additionally, Utah continues to lead in emerging sectors like technology and cybersecurity, and as the world becomes more globalized, the demand for employees in these fields will only grow. However, the economic growth Utah will have from an increasingly global economy must be done so sustainably to ensure the environment is preserved. I personally found these remarks from these presenters to be particularly insightful.

After the plenary session, attendees were invited to participate in breakout sessions in another section of UVU and learn more about investment opportunities for their businesses in the foreign countries that were attended. Following the breakout sessions, a special networking session was made specifically for students to network with these diplomats and consuls to learn more about student opportunities.

Dr. Baldomero Lago, Chief International Officer, speaks during the diplomatic conference

UVU office for Global Engagement continued the tradition of having students through the student engaged learning to assist with hosting the conference by providing logistical and protocol services for VIP guests. It was so great and important that members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU were able to contribute to co-hosting the event. 

From a student’s perspective, I think this was a fabulous conference and offered many new insights into an emerging and necessary field of international trade as it relates to technology and sustainability. Though this is the first time I have attended the conference, I was amazed at the ability of the UVU Global Engagement Office’s ability to put on an event like this. I am grateful for the chance I had to participate in this conference both as a volunteer and as a participant, and I am looking forward to attending next year.

Samuel Elzinga, President, UIMF




Jeff Hibbard – My Contribution to Utah Valley University 2019 Diplomatic Conference


Tom Webb – Lessons of the Utah Diplomatic Conference at UVU


Drew Tschirki – My participation at Utah Diplomatic Conference on International Trade Relations


Austin Meline – On the 3rd Annual Utah Diplomatic Conference on International trade Relations


Jon Downs- My Participation at UVU Diplomatic Conference


Abdulrahman Alghanmi-Diplomatic Conference at Utah Valley University

Preparations for 10th Annual International Mountain Day Celebration at UVU

On Monday, December 2nd, 2019, Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF) – a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) – will host 10th annual International Mountain Day (IMD) at UVU. The event will take place from 10:00am to 12:00pm at room LA 116 (International Student Office). The main theme of this year’s IMD is “Mountains matter for Youth”.

Main contributors to the IMD 2019 are:

  • Dr. Lago, CIO/Vice-Rector at UVU on Global Engagement;
  • Dr. Rusty Butler, Main Representative at UN, Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, an NGO in General Consultative Status with ECOSOC;
  • Ms. Wendy Jyang, President, Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC and
  • Mr. Uday Teki, Founder, and CEO, Project Work Groups (PWG).

Student speakers during IMD 2019 will include:

  • Mr. Samuel Elzinga, UIMF President,
  • Mr. Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President
  • Ms. Lacee Meyer UIMF Vice President

Speakers will talk about student advocacy for mountain communities during the 63rd and upcoming 64th sessions of the Commissions on the Status for Women and 68th UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City during August 26-28, 2019.

The event will be hosted by UIMF members through a student engaged learning model, when club members under faculty mentorship are actively involved as a group in the advocacy of mountain communities’ issues and promotion of Sustainable Development Goals in cooperation with private entities and governmental organizations.

Viktoriia Bahrii, Vice President for Logistics, Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF),



Thomas Ulrich -10th Anniversary of the International Mountain Day celebration at UVU


Meg Haroldsen International Mountain Day Engaging Rural Utah


Caleb Stowell – Celebrating 10 Years of International Mountain Day at Utah Valley University


Conner Schenk – I am Confident that Mountains Matter for Youth


Bethany Smith – Celebrating Utah Mountain Nature and Life


Anthony Jackson-Participation at International Mountain Day Celebration at Utah Valley University


Dillon Vanderhooft-International Mountain Day observed by students at UVU


Jake Jex – Utah Valley University – Mountain Day Observation


Victoria Bindrup-10th Anniversary of the International Mountains Day at UVU


Ashlyn Baker-Enlightenment to Rural Utah & mindfulness of the cause


Albeny Singh – Celebrating International Mountain Day Through Student Engaged Learning at UVU


Jeff Hibbard – Observing International Mountain Day at UVU


Moesinger Krosbi – International Mountain Day observation at UVU


Emily Burke – Utah’s International Mountain Forum 10 Years of Greatness


Yana Andersen – Contributing to International Mountain Day through Student Engaged Learning


Austin Meline – On the 10th International Mountain Day Celebration at Utah Valley University


Brennan Pearson – International Mountain Day 10th Celebration at Utah Valley University


Lee Kanyon – Learning about sustainable mountain development


Carter Morrison – Celebrating International Mountain Day at UVU


Titus Elanyu – 10th Annual International Mountain Day Observed at UVU


IMD Task List 2019 


UNA-USA About International Mountain Day

UIMF Contributes to 2019 UN Day Celebration at UVU

On October 24th, 2019, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), participated in the university’s celebration of United Nations (UN) Day. UN Day celebrates the formation of the United Nations, which occurred on October 24th, 1945 in San Francisco, USA.

Veronica Caballero, UVU Office of Global Engagement coordinates UN Day celebration at UVU

As a part of the UVUN initiative on campus, UIMF participates in UN-focused events like this at the invitation of the Office for Global Engagement. This year was the second time, when UIMF celebrated UN Day under the UVUN umbrella.  Members of the coalition of clubs hosted table alongside the National Security Studies Department, Peace and Justice Studies Department, the UVU Reflection Center, and the UVU Office for Global Engagement. UIMF was the only student club to be represented at UN Day.

(L to R): Veronica Caballero, UVU Office of Global Engagement, Samuel Elzinga, President, UIMF and Amy Barnett, UVU Office of Global Engagement  during the UN Day at UVU. 

At the tabling event, which occurred in the UVU Liberal Arts building  hallway, UIMF members highlighted their advocacy efforts at the 2018 High-Level Political Forum and the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women. They also shared experiences of contribution to the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference co-hosted by UVU in Salt Lake City during Augist 26-28, 2019.

Passers-by who were interested in the mission of UIMF were able to learn more about the coalition of clubs and its initiatives, all while learning more about student efforts to raise awareness in the State of Utah and globally about great disparities faced by mountain communities, who are among the poorest and most neglected in the world.

Overall, the UN Day Celebration with other members of the UVUN was a success. UIMF was able to advocate more for support to mountain women and communities to be in the focus of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by spreading awareness about the challenges faced by these communities, all while being able to recruit more members and interface with other members of the UVUN initiative to coordinate joint events together. In addition,  hosting tables is one of the ways for UIMF members to raise funds which they need for their advocacy campaigns.

Samuel Elzinga, President, Utah International Mountain Forum

World Polio Day Commemorated at Utah Valley University

On Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019, the Utah Valley University (UVU) Rotaract and the Orem Rotary Club co-hosted the World Polio Day Commemoration at UVU.  Rotaract is a student club at UVU, and part of the Rotary International (RI). Rotary  International is “a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” More than 35,000+ Rotary International clubs globally work together to: 1) Promote peace; 2) Fight disease; 3) Provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; 4) Save mothers and children; 5) Support education; and 6) Grow local economies. Rotaract Clubs bring together people ages 18-30 to exchange ideas with leaders in the community, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun through service.

Rotaract is also a member of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU to promote the United Nations sustainable mountain development agenda in the state of Utah and North America. The event at UVU focused on the most famous initiative of the RI: the Polio Eradication as part of the goal to fight diseases worldwide.  It was hosted through the student engaged learning model, where we students work as a group to implement practical task and our teachers help us as mentors.

Kyle Warren moderates the event 

Kyle Warren, UVU Rotaract President, moderated the event by welcoming the audience and the speakers. He also reported to the audience about UVU Rotaract activities and goals. Then he invited to the podium Yana Andersen Rotaract member, who introduced Dr. Baldomero Lago, the Chief International Officer at UVU Office of Global Engagement. As the first speaker, Dr. Lago spoke about the essence of engaging students in sustainable development and how his office does everything to assist UVU student’s participation and contribution to the UN activities at local and international levels. I liked what Dr. Lago told us because I participated at one of the events which his office co-sponsored, the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference (68UNCSC) in Salt Lake City in August 26-28, 2019.

    Dr. Baldomero Lago speaks during the event

Dr. Lago also reported to us about success of hosting the 68UNCSC in Salt Lake City. According to Dr. Logo, it is the first time that the United Nation Civil Society took place in another city beside its primary headquarters in New York and Geneva. He expressed appreciation to Rotary members and us for contributing to the success of the 68 UNCSC. Dr. Lago also invited the audience to participate at the 3rd Annual Utah Diplomatic Conference on International Trade Relations which will take place at UVU campus on November the 4th , 2019.

The keynote speaker of the event was Dr. John Hanrahan, the Rotary District Governor. Kyle Warren introduced Dr. Hanrahan by mentioning the most important facts from his bio and professional career as a medical doctor, and also humanitarian and contributor to RI projects.

Dr. John Hanrahan, the Rotary District Governor as a keynote speaker at the event

 Dr. Hanrahan spoke about and the necessity to end the polio in all around the world by vaccinating kids and the history of RI involvement with this important goal. Dr. Hanrahan has also shared with us many stories about RI effort to end polio since its beginning. However, Dr. Hanrahan has also explained how polio is rare in these days, but it is still a dangerous disease, and we need to work together to end this danger.

After Dr. Hanrahan, Kyle Warren invited to the podium Albeny Singh, another Rotaract member to introduce Dr. Steve Anderson, the UVU Director of community and government relations.  Dr. Anderson is UVU graduate and he reported to us about the activities of his office.

Dr. Steve Anderson, the UVU Director of community and government relations

At the beginning of his remarks, Dr. Anderson shared with us a story how his grandmother was treated and healed from polio. He reported to us about programs in his office which assist students with their education such as internships at local, national and international levels.

Abdulrahman Alghanmi introduces Dr. Robinson

The final speaker was Dr. Dean Robinson, the President-Elect of Orem Rotary. I was assigned personally to contribute to this event by introducing Dr. Dean Robinson.

Dr. Robinson speaks during the event   

Dr. Robinson shared with us the history of Rotary International from its establishment in Chicago by Paul P. Harris in 1905. He also explained how Rotary clubs work together to implement their main goal, which is to help the communities and to raise the awareness among them through action to create lasting change.

Group photo after the event at UVU

It was a great event for me and other UVU Rotaract members through a student engaged learning to gain new knowledge about Rotary International and its noble goal to eradicate polio worldwide. It was a great opportunity for us to meet and interact with many new respected individuals who make a difference in the lives of the people worldwide. The event was successful thanks to the support from the Orem Rotary members and the UVU office of Global Engagement.

Abdulrahman Alghanmi, UIMF member


Rotaractors hosted table as part of the World Polio Day   

UVU Rotaract members hosted table at UVU as preparations for the World Polio Day commemoration 

On October 21, 2019, members of the Utah Valley University Rotaract club hosted a table at university campus. The main goal for the tabling was to raise awareness among UVU students and faculty about Rotary International, its activities and in particular contribution to the polio eradication around the world.

The October 24th is the World Polio Day for  all members of the Rotary International to involve people around the world through various actions to fight this disease. Currently polio still exists in three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Rotaract is the student club and part of the Rotary International. UVU Rotaract works closely with the Orem Rotary club.   Members of the Rotaract led by Kyle Warren, its President, used the tabling also to raise funds for Rotaract activities.  UVU Rotaract is a member of the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at UVU, which focuses on the promotion of the United Nations sustainable mountain development agenda in the State of Utah and at the UN. Hannah Bieker, represented UVU Rotaract during the visit of UIMF delegation to the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March 2019.  

Abdulrahman Alghanmi, UIMF member


Video of the Event


World Polio Day Brochure


Task List for World Polio Day




Kyle Warren- Preparations for World Polio Day at UVU 


Samuel Elzinga-The Role of Rotary in the Eradication of Polio and its Place in the SDGs


Kyle Warren-World Polio Day Commemoration at UVU


Byan Alghanmi-World Polio Day at Utah Valley University


Kanyon Lee Learning about Rotary International and Polio Eradication


Albeny Singh – My contribution to the World Polio Day Event at UVU


Cory Levin-World Polio Day Commemoration at UVU


Jose Coreas-UVU Rotaract hosted World Polio Day-


Yana Andersen – Contributing to World Polio Day at UVU


Caleb Stowell-Commemorating World Polio Day at UVU Through Student Engaged Learning


Austin-Meline-On the World Polio Day Event at Utah Valley University


Sariah Gomez-Achieving a Polio-Free World Through Rotarians


Drew Tschirki – World Polio Day Event At Utah Valley University


Titus Elanyu – World Polio Day at Utah Valley University

On the Mauna Kea Mountain and Hawaiian Culture

Attendees and Mr. Lanakila Mangauil make a sing of solidarity for Mauna Kea

            On October 10, 2019, Utah Valley University (UVU) and its Multicultural Center’s Pacific Islander Initiative hosted Mr. Lanakila Mangauil, a speaker that instructed us on the situation of Mauna Kea mountain, Hawaiian culture and traditional hula dances.

As the name of the event, Mana’o Maunakea, implies the main focus was on learning more about the situation in Hawaii on the mountain Mauna Kea. This situation has a long history and is not just a recent event. The speaker informed us about the methods by which the United States took over the island nation and how this colonial attitude still pervades in the government today. In past years Hawaiian culture was outlawed and suppressed. This had allowed a colonial approach to the management of Hawaii to grow and become far more prevalent over the years.

Beginning in the 1970’s a movement of those in the younger generation began to push for a return to native Hawaiian culture. Since this movement began, the teaching of Hawaiian culture has increased on the islands and become allowed as opposed to historical restrictions.

The movement became key when construction projects began on the mountain of Mauna Kea. Due to its location, the mountain is a prime spot for astronomical research. Those involved in astronomy sought to construct telescopes on the mountain to aid in their research. The issue here is that the mountain is both a sacred and an ecologically important site for those in the region. This has not stopped many construction projects, in fact there are, as per the speaker, 13 telescopes already were built with a current project as another addition.

The Hawaiian people are already outraged at the existence of the telescopes and have filed legal complaints against further construction. Many of them refer to laws regarding the environment such as preventing permanent damage to vulnerable ecosystems. The telescope projects have violated many of these laws. The Hawaiian government however seem reluctant to move against outside construction and continues to allow any additional request.

Not only are the projects seen as a legal violation, but also as a violation of religious and cultural beliefs. Mauna Kea is a sacred place as it is seen as a connection from the world below to the world of higher gods above. Its name translated as the white mountain, but the word white has the connotation of being so pure that it is bright white. From this purity comes the waters from which the people on the mountain rely. They drink the water and the water feeds the plats from which they eat. The Hawaiian people are a people that live by sustainable living principles. The speaker spoke of fishing by “fours”, three days of feeding the fish and a fourth day catching them. They also clean and help the plant life prior to taking that which they need. If there is not enough for the wildlife to sustain growth, then they do not take. With the telescopes permanently damaging parts of the ecosystem, in a holy place as well, it is no wonder that the local people have been spurred into action.

Performing a native hula dance

            Those attending the event were not only taught about the Mauna Kea mountain, but also relatable elements of culture such as language and dance. The words of the Hawaiian language have deep significance as do the hula dances. These are not simple elements of the tourist economy but mean great and important things to the native peoples. These dances and their words were taught to us in attendance. As a person in the audience, I was able to participate in this native dance ritual with specific connections with Mauna Kea and thus developed a stronger connection and respect for the culture of the Hawaiian people. Afterwards, I was able to speak with the host and thank him for his time. This was a fantastic opportunity for multicultural learning combined with an engaged learning approach, and I thank the UVU faculty and university as a whole for making this possible.

 (R to L) Austin Meline with Mr. Lanakila Mangauil 

                Austin Meline, member of the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University 




Sariah Gomez – About Lanakila Mangauil and Protection of Mauna Kea Mountain


Titus Elanyu – Mountain Mauna Kea

Preparations for World Polio Day 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  luncheon on behalf of the Orem Rotary  in room SC 213C from 12:00pm to 12:50pm.

After that the main event will be hosted by members of the UVU Rotaract in  SC 213B from 1:00pm to 1:50pm. They invited for the event UVU faculty and students as well as members of the Orem Rotary.

Dr. John Hanrahan, Rotary District Governor will be the keynote speaker for our event.

Other contributors to the event will be: Dr. Lago, CIO/Vice-Rector at UVU on Global Engagement;  Dr. Steve Anderson, the UVU Director of community and government relations; and Dr. Dean Robinson, the President-Elect of the Orem Rotary.

The event will be hosted by UVU Rotaract as a student engaged learning model, when  members of the club will gain professional skills  by addressing real-world problems as a group with a faculty serving them as a mentor..

Kyle Warren, UVU Rotaract President


UVU Announcement


World Polio Day Commemoration Brochure


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




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




UIMF at CSW63                                     UIMF at 2018 HLPF





VIctoria Bindrup-UIMF members contribute to Club Rush at UVU


Abdulrahman Alghanmi and Hazim Alshanbari Participating at Utah Valley University Club Rush


A Coalition of UVU Clubs