UNA-USA About UIMF’S Advocacy at CSW63

On April 2, 2019, the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) published an article about the advocacy of mountain women and girls by the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), at the 63rd Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), held in New York on March 18-20, 2019.

The article, written by UIMF member and UVU’s UNA-USA Liaison Megan Davis, describes UIMF’s preparations for CSW63 since September 2018 conducted under UVU’s student engaged learning (SEL) model, which gives students the primary responsibility to solve problems by working together as a group, with faculty serving as mentors.

As examples of such preparation, the article highlighted a written statement prepared by students under SEL, and advocating for mountain women, was sponsored by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce, and published as official document E/CN.6/2019/NGO/64 by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on November 19, 2018. Additionally, UIMF held at CSW63 a parallel event titled “Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls” at the Church Center for the UN on March 19, 2019.

Additionally, the article highlights how UIMF at CSW63 also for the first time worked closely with Rotary International, UN Academic Impact (UNAI), and UNA-USA to advocate for global mountain women.

For more information, see: https://unausa.org/uvu-advocates-for-mountain-women-at-csw63/

By Hazim Alshanbari, UVU student

UIMF members participate in the panel with UN Under Secretary General Alison Smale

The poster signed by Under Secretary General Alison Smale: ” To UIMF, Good luck with advocacy of SDGs and mountain targets. “ 

On Friday, March 29, 2019 I was able to participate in a panel with Under Secretary General for Global Communications, United Nations (UN), Ms. Alison Smale. The Under-Secretary General (USG) was in Utah to discuss the upcoming UN civil society conference with members of the state legislature, the city of Salt Lake, and Utah Valley University (UVU). Sitting on this panel was a great honor considering she is the highest-ranking member of the UN to ever visit Utah. The other panelists were Andrew Jensen, and Lauren Johnson, who both sit with me on the youth subcommittee with me of the conference.

USG Mrs Alison Smale speaks before the audience at UVU

When Dr. Baldomero Lago CIO/Focal Point for UVU at the United Nations, introduced USG to the audience, he mentioned many highlights in the career of Ms. Smale, like her tenure as the editor for the New York Times in Berlin, and her graduate study at Stanford. The USG made a short presentation about her thoughts on Utah, the role of the conference this coming August, and how youth are stakeholders that should demand a serious position in the conference. Utah is a state filled with young people, and Ms. Smale emphasized the importance of registering and participating in the conference.

As the president of the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University, I focused my questions to the UN official on youth engagement and creating a lasting impact at the Civil Society Conference this August. As Madame Under-Secretary Smale noted, youth are an integral part of the 2030 agenda at the UN, and as such, should play an integral role at the Civil Society Conference. As a club and organization that highlights youth in promoting the 2030 agenda and sustainable mountain development at the UN, UIMF is playing an active role in the conference planning and development of youth-centered activities, which is exactly what Madame Under-Secretary Smale is hoping for the conference.

Another key question asked by Andrew Jensen dealt with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11, which is the theme of the UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City in August.  SDG 11 is centered on sustainable communities, and as noted in the panel, sustainable and thriving communities incorporate many other SDGs, such as quality education, gender equality, clean water, and hunger. Understanding how SDG 11 incorporates itself into the other 16 SDGs will be key for the conference in August.

Dr. Cameron Martin presents a token of UVU’s appreciation to USG

During the event, Dr. Cameron Martin, UVU Vice President – University Relations presented Ms. Alison Smale a commemorative token of UVU’s appreciation for participating on the panel as well as conducting meetings at the state legislature and Salt Lake City and County offices. The event also provided an opportunity for faculty and students to interact with USG and my peers at UIMF, such as Megan Davis, Michael Hinatsu, Hailee Hodgson, and Laila Mitchell, were able to talk to Mrs. Alison Smale and inform about their activities with SDGs implementations and in particular with the advocacy of the mountain women during the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. USG was very impressed by the achievements of the UIMF as one of the example of youth promotion at UVU and Utah in general.

UIMF members with USG, Mrs. Alison Smale

Overall, the panel was a big success. Not only did we draw large crowds for the panel, but we were able to have a substantive conversation with one of the highest-ranking official in the United Nations. Youth excitement for the conference is growing, and it gives me hope that we will be able to make a large and continuing impact at the conference. I am looking forward to seeing all of our hard work continue to pay off.

Samuel Elzinga, President, UIMF

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MEDIA ABOUT USG VISIT TO UTAH

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19-03-29-DESERET NEWS-Photos: Salt Lake City preparing to welcome the world this summer

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19-03-30-DESERET NEWS: Here’s why this United Nations conference will be held in Utah instead of New York for the first time ever

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UIMF MEMBERS REFLECTIVE ESSAYS:

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Michael Hinatsu-UIMF Joins UN USG Ms. Alison Smale for Panel on the Role of Civil Society

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Megan Davis-The Importance and Power of Civil Society Discussion with Ms. Alison Smale, USG, United Nations

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Austin Meline-The Importance and Power of Civil Society Discussion with Ms. Alison Smale, USG, UN

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Victoria Bindrup-Meeting Under Secretary General Alison Smale

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Shea Sawyer The Importance and Power of Civil Society Discussion

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Brianna John UN Under Secretary General, Ms. Alison Smale speaks at UVU

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UIMF President attends UN Civil Society Conference and visits Brighton Beach

From March 20th to 22nd, I was given the opportunity to travel with a cohort of young people from Utah to participate in planning the youth section of the 2019 United Nations-Department of Global Communications Civil Society Conference. Our cohort encompassed three universities, a plethora of non-governmental organizations, and many adult advisors.

Samuel Elzinga (Center) with other youth committee members from Utah

            Thursday was the day we spent at the United Nations. We first started our day off with a meeting hosted by Mr. Jeff Brez, Chief of the UN-DGC NGO section. After he welcomed us to New York, we met with Mr. Felipe Queipo, a member of the UN DGC NGO section, who also provided us with a personal tour of the UN. This was a really cool experience mostly because we were able to go to the floor of the security council, which almost no one gets to do. After the private tour and lunch on the 4th floor of the UN, we began our meetings. Both the New York and Utah youth subcommittees were divided into working groups to focus on a specific aspect of the conference. Because I am planning on being gone during the conference, I was assigned to the planning working group. We were able to meet with youth from previous conferences who had planned the conference before to see what worked and what would be good to implement in Utah. Because Salt Lake is so different from other cities that have hosted the conference, some special challenges may exist when implementing some of the projects. After the meetings concluded, we met with Ryan Koch of LDS Charities. It was nice following up with him as I have met him at the HLPF and in Utah. He shared some advice with us about how NGOs work with the United Nations, which was insightful. After that, we had a pizza party at UN DGC headquarters. It was a really good day.

Though we had meetings to attend on Thursday, we were all still able to find time to be tourists as well, which was a welcome change for me because every time I have been to New York I have not had a lot of time for sightseeing.

(L to R): Samuel Elzinga, Baltybek Abdrisaev, Michael Hinatsu, Paul Gallo and Viktoriia Bahrii at the Kebab Empire restaurant

During my time in New York, I tried to find as much Central Asian and Russian tourist attractions as possible. Since I am planning on going to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for the 2019-2020 academic year, I wanted to have cultural experience and also try some of the food I might be eating there. After I arrived at JFK International Airport on Wednesday night, I made my way over to Times Square for some Uyghur food to celebrate the re-union of our team after the successful contribution of UIMF delegation to the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women with Michael Hinatsu, Viktoriia Bahrii, Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, and Paul Gallo. The restaurant was named Kebab Empire, and it was absolutely delicious. I got some kebab and fried noodles, along with a traditional yoghurt drink called doogh, which I split with Paul Gallo. It was an excellent way to start my third trip to New York.

Samuel Elzinga and Michael Hinatsu at the entrance to the bookstore

On my last day in New York, I wanted to visit Brighton Beach and look at a Russian bookstore “Saint Petersburg” for some books. I invited Dr. Abdrisaev and Michael along as well, and we ventured down to Brooklyn. It took some time, but once we were finally there it was well worth the travel time. I was able to pick up the book titled “The Great Game,” which I have read in English and now plan to do in Russian. We also stopped at a restaurant named Bek and got more Central Asian food. This time we had a soup called lagman and some shashlik. Lagman is a soup with beef, vegetables, and spices, which is flavorful indeed. Shahlik is another word for kebab, and it was really good. We got three different types, and each were amazing. It was a great way to end the trip. After that, we made our way back to JFK airport and left for Utah.

           This is lagman

        Overall, the trip was a success. I was able to balance work and play, all while trying out Russian and Central Asian food. I am even more excited at the prospect of going to Bishkek this coming year and strengthen our cooperation with local institutions there through the advocacy of the UN sustainable mountain development agenda.

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

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UIMF MEMBERS REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Michael Hinatsu-Days four and five in New York following CSW63

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UIMF advocated for mountain women at CSW63

In memory of Dr. Danielle Butler,  who passed away on March 7, 2019  

Dr. Danielle Butler, the Honorary Co-Chair of the Women of the Mountains Conferences and the Honorary Professor of the International University of Kyrgyzstan 


Poster  for the parallel event 

Our team of students from the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University, presented during a parallel event titled, “Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls,” at the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. We had been preparing for several months now, in our Political Science 2250 class titled “Globalization and Sustainable Mountain Development,” at Utah Valley University (UVU). In January our class met for the first time, discussing the message we wanted to share at CSW63, about UVU’s student engaged learning model (SEL), sustainable mountain development (SMD) (using Utah as a model) and advocating for the inclusion of language about women living in mountain areas in the CSW63 final document, which makes recommendations for ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly for further action on international cooperation to bring equality to women globally. That message was included also in the written statement, which our team submitted to the approval of ECOSOC through the co-sponsorship of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and Utah-China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands development and Commerce, two NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC.  the statement was approved and distributed as the official document  by ECOSOC on November 19, 2019.

We all arrived at the Church Center of the United Nations on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 8 a.m., to set up the room for our event. We had prepared pamphlets, folders, and agendas for the event, showcasing the very important work that the UIMF has completed in the past in advocating for the SMDs.

The pamphlets and agendas about UIMF

We also brought plenty of stress balls, a UVU and UIMF staple at these high level forums.

Guest visitors from Asbury University, Kentucky

UVU/UIMF stress ball: useful to promote our coalition and university

Once our guests had arrived, and found their seats, the UIMF team members took their seats in the front, and our moderator, Michael Hinatsu, began the program. Michael introduced the UIMF, and our mission, and explained just how the students on our team have used the SEL model given us the tools we need to advocate for the implementation of different aspects of mountain targets, and in particular relation to CSW63, mountain women.

The students who spoke today all spoke on their individual experiences with the SEL model, and how with the guidance of our advisor and mentor, Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, what we learned. We heard first from Dr. Baldomero Lago, the CIO/Vice-Rector for Global Engagement at UVU. Dr. Lago helps the UIMF host many dignitaries at UVU and spoke about the level of student involvement that UVU has made possible. He also praised Dr. Danielle Butler, who contributed to the student engaged learning model and student efforts in advocating mountain women and girls cause in the State of Utah and globally. After Dr. Lago we heard from Mr. Taylor Bell, UVU’s newly elected Student Body President. Taylor expanded on the student engaged learning experience at UVU, saying that, “UVU serves as a portal of civic engagement and an engine of regional economic and business development. UVU employees demonstrate a commitment to student success, professionalism, and accountability.” As a student that has taken advantage of the SEL model, I agree with Taylor, UVU has provided myself and my colleagues opportunities to develop skills a student could not learn in a classroom setting alone.

Following Taylor, we heard Mr. Abdulrahman Alghanmi a UVU student from Saudi Arabia majoring in Political Science; Ms. Viktoriia Bahrii, Director of Logistics for UIMF and Political Science major with minors in National Security Studies and Mathematics at UVU; Ms. Noorani Barkat who is currently doing her Ph.D. in agriculture from Washington State University; Ms. Hannah Bieker a UIMF Member, Rotaract Liaison, and National Security major at UVU; Ms. Rebecca Bindraban, the Editor in Chief for the Youth and the Mountains Journal, ; Ms. Megan Davis, the UNA-USA Liaison and Director of Public Relations for UIMF and Political Science major at UVU; Mr. William Gum-Causey, a non-traditional student majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Policy at UVU; myself, and a close colleague of mine, Ms. Laila Mitchell, who is a National Security Studies major at UVU, like myself; Mr. Ezra Pugliano, a Senior at UVU studying Political Science; and finally Mr. Aldon Trimble, a UVU student passionate about advocating for engaging students and sustainable development goals.

“Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls” panel speakers

The statement I prepared for the parallel event today pertained to my interest in the issues facing modern Utah women and girls. Under UVU’s engaged learning model, I researched Utah women in the workforce. I also researched the differences of economic diversity and growth across the urban-rural divide, and how the growing gap creates tension in Utah’s economy. Rural counties are often constricted by lower access to services, and currently lead the state in the highest poverty and unemployment rates, and they have the lowest incomes and produce the least college graduates. UIMF and its members are also concerned with these issues, and UIMF member Ms. Lacee Meyer is planning, using the SEL model, to host a roundtable discussion with local leaders at UVU on April 19th, 2019, about the importance of rural Utah, titled “Sustainable Development in Utah.”

Aside from the statement, I have a very unique SEL experience that I participate in behind the scenes-as the UIMF Media Specialist, I take photos of all of the events UIMF is associated with. Therefore, during our event today, I was talking pictures of our speakers, and recording excerpts from their statements, in order to put together media for our social media platforms when we have returned home. Here are pictures from the UIMF’s trip to CSW63.

UIMF member Laila Mitchell Live Streaming our event to Facebook

After all the weeks and class periods of planning, writing drafts for statements, fundraising, and handing out stress balls, our parallel event had come to an end. In January, when our class began talking about CSW63, I understood that we were discussing empowering other women in the world, but I truly believe that through this experience, and by utilizing the SEL model and working closely with very smart and strong women, I became more empowered every step of the way. I am grateful to UVU, and my advisor Dr. Abdrisaev, for guiding me through the preparations it took to be with the UIMF team today and share with the men and women at our event this morning. I am more honored than ever to be a UVU student, and excited for the opportunities to come with my future engagement at UVU and involvement in UIMF.

“Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls” panel speakers with Dr. Lago and UIMF mentor and advisor Dr. Abdrisaev, out front of the United Nation Headquarters in NYC

 By Hailee Hodgson, UIMF Member, Media Specialist

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A written statement distributed as official document by ECOSOC

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Agenda of the visit to CSW63 

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UIMF’s DELEGATION  AT CSW63:

Abdulrahman Alghanmi               Statement 

Viktoriia Bahrii                                  Statement  

Noorani Barkat                                 Statement

Hannah Bieker                                   Statement

Rebecca Bindraban                        Statement

Veronica Caballero                          statement 

Megan Davis                                       Statement

William Gum                                       Statement

Michael Hinatsu                               Statement 

Hailee-Hodgson                               Statement

Laila Mitchell                                     Statement

Ezra Pugliano                                    Statement

Aldon Trimble                                   Statement  

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Brochure of parallel event    Group powerpoint    

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Task List

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UIMF MEMBERS DAILY REFLECTIVE ESSAYS:

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MEDIA AND PARTNERS ABOUT UIMF VISIT TO CSW63

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March 18, 2019- Daily Herald: “UVU student, Saratoga Springs native to address U.N.” 

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April 2, 2019-UNA-USA: “Utah Valley University students advocate for mountain women at CSW63”

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April 3, 2019, UTAH ROTARY-Utah Rotaractor Contributed to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

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PREPARATIONS FOR UIMF VISIT TO CSW63:

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UIMF to advocate for mountain women at CSW63

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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FINAL DOCUMENT OF CSW63

UIMF Participates on Civil Society Discussion on Zero Draft for CSW63

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UIMF Contributed to Final Online Discussion on CSW63 Zero Draft Document

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A Review of UIMF Efforts to Contribute to the Zero draft for CSW63

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UIMF Continues to Discuss Online Zero Draft Outcome Document for CSW63 (PART 3)

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UIMF Continues to Discuss Online Zero Draft Outcome Document for CSW63

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UIMF Discusses Online Zero Draft Outcome Document for CSW63

Day 4 at CSW63: Networking with Civil Society and UN Diplomats to Advocate for Mountain Women

The UIMF delegation in the UN compound

 On Wednesday, March 20th, 2019, members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), continued their advocacy for mountain women, sustainable mountain development (SMD), and UVU’s student engaged learning (SEL) model at the 63rd Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), by participating in civil society meetings and discussions related to global advocacy for issues related to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #5 on gender equality.

According to the student delegation’s schedule created by Aldon Trimble, the students gathered at 8:30am in Conference Room 4 in the UN compound to participate in a daily morning briefing reviewing member state negotiations of the final document for CSW63. The event, hosted by the NGO Commission on the Status of Women, New York (NGO CSW/NY), included an opening message by a representative of the UN Women organization, but primarily involved leaders of NGO CSW/NY fielding questions from the large audience of civil society members. UIMF member Michael Hinatsu inquired whether or not there was a committee among the negotiators that was specifically advocating for minority groups, specifically mountain women, to be represented in the negotiations, to which he was answered by Mrs. Hellen Swales,  National President for New Zealand Federation for Business & Professional Women, in the affirmative. Later, UIMF members in attendance took a photo with Mrs. Swales, who expressed a desire to work with UVU and UIMF regarding SMD and mountain women issues. Furthermore, UIMF members were able to network with many members of civil society from around the world, with many expressing interests to partner with UIMF to promote aspects of UVU’s SEL model, as well as promote nontraditional students and female students to promote the 2030 Development Agenda.

From left: Abdulrahman Alghanmi, Dr. Baldomero Lago, PR of Turkmenistan H.E. Mrs. Aksoltan Ataeva, Ms. Amy Barnett, Michael Hinatsu, Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev inside the Permanent Mission of Turkmenistan to the UN.

Afterward, delegation members assembled their luggage at faculty mentor Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev’s hotel room, in preparation for later departures. Delegation members Abdulrahman Alghanmi and I joined afterward with Dr. Abdrisaev, Dr. Baldomero Lago, CIO/Vice-Rector of Global Engagement at UVU, and Ms. Amy Barnett, Coordinator for the UVU Office of Global Engagement, to have a meeting for the first time ever with the Permanent Representative (PR) of Turkmenistan to the UN, H.E. Mrs. Aksoltan Ataeva.

UVU and UIMF meet with the PR of Tajikistan to the UN, H.E. Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov.

At the meeting, Dr. Lago and Ms. Barnett spoke about UVU in general, as well as the work the UVU Office of Global Engagement does in promoting the SDGs and brining high-level officials to UVU. Abdulrahman Alghanmi and I were able to share with the PR about UIMF’s mission to empower mountain women and students to contribute to the UN 2030 Development agenda. After this meeting, the group met with the PR of Tajikistan to the UN, H.E. Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, where they made additional preparations for the upcoming UN Civil Society Conference to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 26-28, 2019. This meeting occurred because UIMF members ran into the PR near UN and set up the meeting (see picture below). As a result of these meetings, the PR of Turkmenistan expressed interest in visiting Utah and UVU in particular, and UIMF will play an important role in helping the UVU Office of Global Engagement to prepare for the UN DPI Conference, as well as other high-level events, such as the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development in July.

From left: Aldon Trimble, Paul Gallo, H.E. Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Michael Hinatsu, and Abdulrahman Alghanmi, upon meeting the PR near UN.

After these meetings, I bid farewell to many of the UIMF delegates returning to Utah; Dr. Abdrisaev and I will remain until Friday, March 22nd, to observe the results of the member state negotiations on CSW63’s final document.

UIMF members departing for Utah.

In the evening, UIMF leadership were able to get together for dinner, given that UIMF president Samuel Elzinga arrived to the UN as a representative of the Youth Organizing Committee to conduct preparations for the UN Civil Society Conference upcoming in Salt Lake City on August 26-28, 2019.

From left: UIMF president Samuel Elzinga, Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, Michael Hinatsu, Paul Gallo, and Viktoriia Bahrii.

We ate dinner at a Uighur-owned restaurant because of Samuel Elzinga’s interest in Central Asia and his upcoming internship with the State Department Bureau on South and Central Asia, where Viktoriia Bahrii and I reported to him the results of UIMF’s advocacy at CSW63, as well as in being able to meet with the PR of Tajikistan to the UN, H.E. Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, who is a personal friend to Samuel Elzinga.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF member

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UIMF MEMBERS REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

Abdulrahman Alghanmi Day 4 at CSW63 Last meetings and heading home

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Megan Davis Reflections on the Final Day at the CSW and Advocating for UIMF Language to be Included in CSW63’s Final Document

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William Gum Casey-Day 4 at the CSW63 Working with Civil Society for Mountain Women

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Ezra Pugliano-Last Day on the CSW63, What I Learned & Experienced

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Viktoriia Bahrii-Day 4. CSW63 final document briefing and New York sightseeing

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Day 3 for UIMF at CSW63: hosting parallel event on mountain women through SEL

 

Hailee Hodgson speaking at parallel event, “Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls”

             Today our team of students from the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University, presented during a parallel event titled, “Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls,” at the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. We had been preparing for several months now, in our Political Science 2250 class titled “Globalization and Sustainable Mountain Development,” at Utah Valley University (UVU). In January our class met for the first time, discussing the message we wanted to share at CSW63, about UVU’s student engaged learning model (SEL), sustainable mountain development (SMD) (using Utah as a model) and advocating for the inclusion of language about women living in mountain areas in the CSW63 final document, which makes recommendations for ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly for further action on international cooperation to bring equality to women globally.

We all arrived at the Church Center of the United Nations on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 8 a.m., to set up the room for our event. We had prepared pamphlets, folders, and agendas for the event, showcasing the very important work that the UIMF has completed in the past in advocating for the SMDs.

The pamphlets and agendas about UIMF

We also brought plenty of stress balls, a UVU and UIMF staple at these high level forums.

Guest visitors from Asbury University, Kentucky

UVU/UIMF stress ball: useful to promote our coalition and university

Once our guests had arrived, and found their seats, the UIMF team members took their seats in the front, and our moderator, Michael Hinatsu, began the program. Michael introduced the UIMF, and our mission, and explained just how the students on our team have used the SEL model given us the tools we need to advocate for the implementation of different aspects of mountain targets, and in particular relation to CSW63, mountain women.

The students who spoke today all spoke on their individual experiences with the SEL model, and how with the guidance of our advisor and mentor, Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, what we learned. We heard first from Dr. Baldomero Lago, the CIO/Vice-Rector for Global Engagement at UVU. Dr. Lago helps the UIMF host many dignitaries at UVU and spoke about the level of student involvement that UVU has made possible. After Dr. Lago we heard from Mr. Taylor Bell, UVU’s newly elected Student Body President. Taylor expanded on the student engaged learning experience at UVU, saying that, “UVU serves as a portal of civic engagement and an engine of regional economic and business development. UVU employees demonstrate a commitment to student success, professionalism, and accountability.” As a student that has taken advantage of the SEL model, I agree with Taylor, UVU has provided myself and my colleagues opportunities to develop skills a student could not learn in a classroom setting alone.

Following Taylor, we heard Mr. Abdulrahman Alghanmi a UVU student from Saudi Arabia majoring in Political Science; Ms. Viktoriia Bahrii, Director of Logistics for UIMF and Political Science major with minors in National Security Studies and Mathematics at UVU; Ms. Noorani Barkat who is currently doing her Ph.D. in agriculture from Washington State University; Ms. Hannah Bieker a UIMF Member, Rotaract Liaison, and National Security major at UVU; the Editor in Chief for the Youth and the Mountains Journal, Ms. Rebecca Bindraban; Ms. Megan Davis, the UNA-USA Liaison and Director of Public Relations for UIMF and Political Science major at UVU; Mr. William Gum-Causey, a non-traditional student majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Policy at UVU; myself, and a close colleague of mine, Ms. Laila Mitchell, who is a National Security Studies major at UVU, like myself; Mr. Ezra Pugliano, a Senior at UVU studying Political Science; and finally Mr. Aldon Trimble, a UVU student passionate about advocating for engaging students and sustainable development goals.

“Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls” panel speakers

The statement I prepared for the parallel event today pertained to my interest in the issues facing modern Utah women and girls. Under UVU’s engaged learning model, I researched Utah women in the workforce. I also researched the differences of economic diversity and growth across the urban-rural divide, and how the growing gap creates tension in Utah’s economy. Rural counties are often constricted by lower access to services, and currently lead the state in the highest poverty and unemployment rates, and they have the lowest incomes and produce the least college graduates. UIMF and its members are also concerned with these issues, and UIMF member Ms. Lacee Meyer is planning, using the SEL model, to host a roundtable discussion with local leaders at UVU on April 19th, 2019, about the importance of rural Utah, titled “Sustainable Development in Utah.”

Aside from the statement, I have a very unique SEL experience that I participate in behind the scenes-as the UIMF Media Specialist, I take photos of all of the events UIMF is associated with. Therefore, during our event today, I was talking pictures of our speakers, and recording excerpts from their statements, in order to put together media for our social media platforms when we have returned home. Here are pictures from the UIMF’s trip to CSW63.

UIMF member Laila Mitchell Live Streaming our event to Facebook

After all the weeks and class periods of planning, writing drafts for statements, fundraising, and handing out stress balls, our parallel event had come to an end. In January, when our class began talking about CSW63, I understood that we were discussing empowering other women in the world, but I truly believe that through this experience, and by utilizing the SEL model and working closely with very smart and strong women, I became more empowered every step of the way. I am grateful to UVU, and my advisor Dr. Abdrisaev, for guiding me through the preparations it took to be with the UIMF team today and share with the men and women at our event this morning. I am more honored than ever to be a UVU student, and excited for the opportunities to come with my future engagement at UVU and involvement in UIMF.

“Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls” panel speakers with Dr. Lago and UIMF mentor and advisor Dr. Abdrisaev, out front of the United Nation Headquarters in NYC

 By Hailee Hodgson, UIMF Member, Media Specialist

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UIMF MEMBERS REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Michael Hinatsu Reflections on UIMF activities during day 2 at CSW63

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Ezra Pugliano-My Day 2 at CSW63 by hosting parallel event

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Laila-Mitchell-Hosting parallel event at CSW63

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Megan Davis-Reflection of the CSW63 Parallel Panel Event

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William Gum-How UIMF hosted parallel event at CSW63

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Abdulrhman Alghanmi-My day 3 at CSW63 speaking at parallel event

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Rebecca Bindraban My presentation at UIMF’s parallel event at CSW63

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Viktoriia Bahrii-Day 3. UIMF’s Parallel Event about the role of SEL in Empowering Mountain Women

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Hannah Bieker UIMF Presents at the UN’s 63rd commission on the Status of Women

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Reflections on Day 2 UIMF Activities at CSW63

Michael Hinatsu at the UN compound

 On Monday, March 18, 2019, members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), continued their activities related to the 63rd Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), by obtaining UN grounds passes, touring the UN compound, participating in side events and parallel events, and meeting members of civil society from around the world.

In accordance with the agenda created by Aldon Trimble, members of the UIMF delegation met at 8:30am outside the UN ID and pass cards office they had identified the day before. It was important that we met this early, not only because many people would arrive later to do the same, but some of the students were not able to find rides in time and one delegation member, Noorani Barkat, had some issues that prolonged her check-in process. However, the receiving of grounds passes occurred without any major issues and by 9:30, our entire delegation made its way to the UN compound to take a group photo. During this, we were joined by two students and a faculty advisor from Asbury University in Kentucky, who, like us, were visiting the UN for the first time in order to weight the benefits of creating a program similar to UIMF’s, whereby students are given tasks to prepare to advocate for certain issues at the UN. Personally, it was interesting to meet them and hear their perspectives on the UN system and how they wanted to apply themselves as we had.

After taking group photos and entering the UN compound, we spent some time sight-seeing around the compound. Per Aldon Trimble’s schedule, we had roughly from 10:00am until 1:00pm to attend side events at the compound as desired, or to continue touring the UN compound’s attractions, which included a bookstore, gift shop, and a number of exhibits and information centers that gave information about the history of the UN, the role of the General Assembly and other organs, and details about the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. During this time, I was joined by Aldon Trimble, Viktoriia Bahrii, Rebecca Bindraban, Abdulrahman Alghanmi, and Noorani Barkat in attending a side event “Gender, Economic Policy and Women’s Human Rights: Tackling Discrimination to Strengthen Social Protection, Increase Access to Services and Transform Systems,” convened by the  UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice, and sponsored by the Permanent Mission of New Zealand, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, the International Labor Organization,  the Carter Center, and the International Association for Feminist Economics.

The side event was a panel discussion by Melissa Upreti, Expert,UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice; Radhika Balakrishnan, Faculty Director, CWGL and President elect, International Association for Feminist Economists; Bindu Armstrong, Senior Policy Analyst, New Zealand Ministry for Women; Shauna Olney, Chief, Gender Equality and Diversity and ILOAIDS Branch, Conditions of Work and Equality Department; and Karin Ryan, Senior Policy Adviser on Human Rights and Special Representative on Women and Girls, The Carter Center. Many topics were put forth by the panelists, including the role of making correct macroeconomic policy in gender equality, the role of international agreements and processes to address women’s rights issues and human rights violations, as well as actions being taken by the government of New Zealand, such as legislation about pay equity and violence against women. Additionally, the panelists spoke about the need for and work happening to create new international agreements about women’s issues regarding violence, workplace equality, equal pay, and societal views about equality. The panel was interesting for me personally, not only for further teaching me the complex issues surrounding empowering women, but also because each of the panelists expressed distaste with how the UN has not allowed women and others to watch and take part in the negotiations of the language of UN forum final documents.

Panelists of the side event at 10:00am

After this event, Noorani Barkat, Aldton Trimble, Abdulrahman Alghanmi and myself were able to take pictures in the General Assembly chamber. We attempted to attend other side events but the rooms were full, so we decided to continue sight-seeing. I then spoke with Aldon Trimble regarding the agenda, and we agreed to change our group lunch time from 1:00pm to 12:30pm, so that we could have more time to do a practice of our parallel event and not to be so rushed for attending other scheduled parallel events. After letting everyone know about the change, we all gathered at the cafeteria in the UN compound and practiced our parallel event. Then, at 1:30pm, we left, in order for those who wanted to eat outside of the UN compound to do so. These changes worked out very smoothly and allowed everyone to be on time to the parallel event at 2:30pm.

UIMF members practice their parallel event in the UN cafeteria.

From left: Aldon Trimble, Noorani Barkat, Abdulrahman Alghanmi, and Michael Hinatsu in the UN General Assembly Chamber

The 2:30 parallel event was hosted by Mrs. Wendy Jyang of Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce (Utah China F.I.S.H. D&C), an NGO that has also partnered many times with UIMF to co-sponsor with the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences UIMF delegation’s oral and written statements at UN events. The event, titled “Recreating A Healthier Environment for Empowering Women and Girls,” was located at the Salvation Army Auditorium and sponsored by the Jieh Huey Social Welfare & Charity Foundation. Speakers included the sponsoring organization’s CEO, Ms. Hsin Chin Shih; Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, our faculty mentor, Lecturer, UVU, and former Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the USA and Canada; Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Chair, Women’s & Gender Studies, New Jersey City University; Pauline Tzuang, Charter President, Zonta Club of Taipei Cosmo 2016-2018, Member, Translation Committee, Zonta International; and Dr. Ali Mazzara, Director of Education Programs at the Office of Global Affairs, The State University of New York (SUNY). Ms. Shih spoke about how her organization involves youth and others to care for Taiwan’s increasing population of elderly people; Dr. Abdrisaev spoke about UVU’s student engaged learning model and how it empowers youth, especially women and girls and nontraditional students; Mrs. Ellis-Williams spoke about her upbringing as an example of how women can empower themselves and about issues still facing women and girls from achieving their potential; Mrs. Tzuang had lost her voice and had a colleague read her speech, which encouraged women to self-educate and ensure their governments allocate sufficient funds to social safety nets; and Mrs. Mazzara spoke about SUNY’s program that helps women successfully gain careers in the field of international relations.

UIMF members photograph panelists and participants at the 2:30pm parallel event.

After this parallel event, we went to the Church Center of the UN to inspect the room that we would be presenting our parallel event in, but there was an event going on in it, so we decided to end the day there. Overall, this day was beneficial for me, because I attended the side and parallel events with the intention of seeing how they were conducted, in order for me to prepare to host our parallel event the next day. As a result, I made my personal statement for the event more official sounding and academic in nature, as well as felt more comfortable with the moderating process. Also, I was exposed to the wide range of opinions and recommendations surrounding the advocacy of women’s rights and gained a new appreciation for not only the diversity of issues but how to address them meaningfully. I am now very prepared to host and contribute to the CSW63 priority theme through our parallel event tomorrow.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF member.

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Ezra-Pugliano-Day 2 attending CSW63 activities

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Hailee-Hodgson-Day 2 for UIMF members in New York

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William Gum My day 2 at CSW63 in New York

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Megan Davis-Student Engaged Learning Experience During Day 1 at the CSW63

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Viktoriia-Bahrii-Day 2. Panel on Empowering Women and Girls

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AbdulRahman ALGhanmi -The first day of my official participation at CSW63

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Rebecca Bindraban -My first day of official activities at CSW63

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Laila Mitchell-My introduction to CSW63 activities

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Aldon Trimble UIMF at CSW63 Day 2 Participation in Side Event on Human Rights and Women

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Hannah Bieker-UIMF Brings Awareness to Mountain Women at the UN 63rd Commission on the Status of Women

 

First day of UIMF at CSW63: preparations for official activities

Delegation members have lunch at the Grand Central

Members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University, travelled to New York City to advocate for mountain women to be included in the final document of the 63rd Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63). This annual Commission is held under the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and aims to address the issues, challenges, and successes of women globally. Women around the world face challenges to achieve all 17 goals of sustainable development, but women who live in remote mountain areas have been largely ignored, while they face harsher conditions than many other women. The UIMF has advocated for these women for over a decade and on March 19th, 2019 at 8:30am in the Church Center of the United Nations, they will hold a parallel event titled “Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls,” about UVU’s student engaged learning model, sustainable mountain development (using Utah as a model) and advocating for the inclusion of language about women living in mountain areas in the CSW63 final document, which makes recommendations for ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly for further action on international cooperation to bring equality to women globally.

Students began arriving in New York on Wednesday, March 13th with the rest arriving between Friday, March 15 and early morning on Sunday, Mach 17. Those who arrived before Sunday, while waiting for the rest of the delegation to arrive spent time sight-seeing and visiting family and friends. Those who arrived on Sunday morning then met with faculty mentor Dr. Abdrisaev at his hotel, located several blocks from the UN and left their luggage at his room to be free of it before the check-in-time for their Airbnb.  It gave them substantial time for a walk to discover New York City.  They first went to Café Olympia, located couple of blocks from the United Nations compound, for breakfast. Then from there, they walked two blocks to see the place where the UN ID office is located. It will be important for the delegation to arrive there earlier before its opening in order to be the first in line to get their passes to the UN compound and to participate at the CSW63 activities. Then they went to the UN Church Center for the United Nations across the UN headquarters, which is the place that they will host their parallel event. Later they walked near the entrance of the UN headquarters as well as Trump towers. At this point everyone went in different directions to discover the city as they wish and meet again at 12PM.

UIMF member at the entrance to the UN IDs office

 They met up with the rest of the delegation at Grand Central Station as previously scheduled at 12:00pm to travel as a group for an orientation tour over the sites related to our official activities at CSW63 and which our small group was able to make by ourselves earlier. The Grand Central Station was selected as a starting point because this is one of the main closest to the UN headquarters transportation hubs in New York to gather all members of the delegation who got accommodated elsewhere. We started a tour by having a lunch at the Grand Central Station. Then we walked towards the UN through a Lexington avenue entrance and we went through all those sites what we had in the morning because all the students were there. Then, the tour was over and students had the opportunity to travel around New York to sight-see.

Delegation members at the entrance to the UN compound

 It provided us the opportunity to walk around different famous places and take many photos. At the same time, we all agreed to meet on Monday morning at 8:30 AM to get our UN passes and follow our approved agenda which will require in addition to hosting a parallel event on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 to attend several side and parallel events and visit Permanent Mission of several countries accredited to the United Nations. some panels at the UN. Overall, we are very excited to for being here in New York and full of energy to attend the events tomorrow.

William Gum and Abdulrahman Alghanmi, UIMF members

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UIMF MEMBERS REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

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Michael Hinatsu-Reflections on Day One Activities in New York City for CSW63

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Viktoriia Bahrii-Day 0-1. Getting to know New York before participation at CSW63

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Megan Davis-First Day in New York City for the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women

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Ezra Pugliano Day 1 Arriving to New York City to Advocate at CSW63

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Rebecca Bindraban Observations on day one in New York City before CSW63

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2018 Issue of the Youth and the Mountains Journal

The 2018 issue of the Youth and the Mountains Journal continues the established tradition of promoting the Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) agenda of the United Nations in the state of Utah. The journal highlights Utah Valley University’s student engagement model and provides a forum for student undergraduate research along with advocating and developing student academic scholarship. This journal seeks to engage students across the campus, including both non-traditional and traditional ones. 2018 marks the 6th edition of the Youth and the Mountains Journal, and my second year as editor in chief, which has been an honor.

Youth and the Mountains Journal provides a unique and increased perspective on SMD in mountainous regions worldwide. When the editorial board was putting this journal together, our team took careful time to examine the content, and to make sure it was internationally inclusive. It was important for us to include both diverse discourse regarding SMD and local and international issues related to it.

For a second time, the journal includes copies of official documents of the ECOSOC and U.S. Congress, highlighting UVUs student engaged learning model and the Utah International Mountain Forum contribution to SMD advocacy.

The journal includes research topics and reflective papers from students from Saudi Arabia, Uganda, and the United States. The topics are wide ranging, and include sustainable development topics in Utah, along with sustainable development issues and goals in countries such as Israel and Romania. Additionally, the 2018 issue of the journal covers Sustainable Development Goals and highlights specifically mountain targets. Specifically, topics such as expanding digital capabilities for society and educational purposes in Nepal, ensuring the availably of water and the sustainable management of water in Yemen, and the empowerment of women and gender equality. The journal also addresses other issues such as sustainable tourism and humanitarianism in Utah, and touches on theoretical approaches to domestic and foreign policy for mountain countries as well.

Mountain issues are human issues, and deserve to be highlighted as such. Therefore, the expansion of knowledge towards mountain issues and sustainability is centripetal to the improvement of human existence in higher places.

Rebecca Bindraban, Editor-in-Chief of the journal 

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2018 Issue of the Youth and the Mountains journal

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Rotaractor informs Orem Rotary about preparations for CSW63

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 Orem Rotary reports on past activities, comments on current activities, and plans for the future

            On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, I was invited to attend a lunch hosted by the Orem Rotary Club. The Orem Rotary Club was established on November 10, 1975 by Darrell F. Robinette.  Orem Rotary members are very eager to support students at Utah Valley University through their own branch, the UVU Rotaract Club. I was there to introduce myself to the Orem Rotary members as one of the UVU Rotaract club members  and to inform them about my incoming visit to the UN 63rd Session of the Commission of the Status of Women on March 19, 2019 in New York. I will be the first Rotaractor to speak at the level of the UN. I brought the draft of the  statement I will present at the UN for their review and revision suggestions. I also brought copies of the written statement, which our delegation was able to submit and being approved as an official UN document, to the lunch as information for the Orem Rotary Club members.  This was an important opportunity for me to report what I was planning to do during the trip to UN, which Orem Rotary members co-sponsored financially.

Upon my arrival, I was warmly welcomed by the Orem Rotary Club members. I had previously been acquainted with a couple members of the club including Clark Merkley, the President Elect of the Orem Rotary Club and DJ Smith while we were at the Rotary President Elect Training Seminar (PETS) February 15 and 16. We were able to work together during some of the exercises at PETS and established a warm relationship.

Hannah Bieker giving her book to Clark Merkley at the Orem Rotary Lunch

Attending this lunch further solidified the special bond I have with the amazing people in Rotary. Having the opportunity to learn from service oriented individuals is an indulgence few my age will ever experience. Members in the audience listened to my short presentation and asked questions regarding my upcoming UN trip in general, my recently published book, and some of my personal background and history.

One of the items of business at the lunch was for Orem Rotary club members to raise money to provide dictionaries for children in local elementary schools. As a college student, times when I have extra cash on hand is few and far between. But, I did have two copies of my recently published book Lives, Fortunes, and Sacred Honor: The Making of an American on hand. My book details my grandparents lives from being born into a world at war and my grandfather’s journey of escaping the conflict in Jerusalem following WWII, leaving home at 15 and traveling the world. As well as my grandmother who escaped East Berlin following the Soviet takeover of Eastern Germany and leaving home at 16 where she met my grandfather years later on a ship in a New York harbor, and reaching their goal of obtaining American citizenship together.   I brought it to explain to the members of the Orem Rotary club how I was able to be involved in the activities to help women and girls in the communities throughout the State of Utah thanks to my ancestors, who came to the U.S. from mountainous countries like Germany and Armenia. So, I was happy that members of the Orem Rotary auctioned the two copies for twenty dollars each, totalling forty dollars that were then donated to the children’s dictionary fund. After that, it was my special honor and pleasure to sign the books for the members who purchased them. Also, I presented one book with my signature to Mr. Clark Merkley for his leadership in working together with UVU and his support for me.

Hannah Bieker signs a copy of her book for Orem Rotary Club member, DJ Smith

I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend my afternoon with the Orem Rotary Club members. They have placed their trust in me that I will do well in representing Rotaract at the United Nations and it is an honor to hold that responsibility. I can not wait until I get to report back to Orem Rotary about my presentation.

 Hannah Bieker, a student at UVU, member of the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at UVU as well as UVU Rotaract club

A Coalition of UVU Clubs