UIMF Concludes 3rd Annual High School Essay Contest

The Third Annual UIMF Workshop Essay Contest Concludes

On March 22, 2013, the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of several students clubs at Utah Valley University, held the third annual Workshop Essay Contest for high school students at Utah Valley University. Two previous contests were held in 2011 (link) and 2012 (link), respectively. This year, following the United Nations designation of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation, the contest focused on topics related to water sustainability, cooperation & accessibility, as they relate to the world and specifically their implications within Utah.


During the essay contest at Utah Valley University 

Under the chairmanship of Professor Keith Snedegar, the History and Political Science Department at Utah Valley University announced a call for papers throughout the high schools of the state of Utah several months prior the final event, which was decided to be held on March 22nd, 2013.

 Call For papers – Water Sustainability-

As it was done before, students of UVU, many of them members of UIMF, communicated with schools in order to convince the maximum possible number of high-school students to write pieces on the topic. The organizing committee selected the seven best essays relating to water sustainability in Utah, from which three top winners of the contest were chosen. The first prize went to Maranda Fisher, who wrote a paper on the topic: “Running out of Water,” second prize was given to Quinn Everett with a paper, titled “The Case Against Water Contamination: The hazardous factors that led to pollution and the poor policies that tolerate it”, and the third prize went to Maison Evensen with a report “Water Rights and Preservation”.


Maranda Fisher ( C ) with Ambassador Talaibek Kydyrov (L ), and

Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Dr. Keith Snedegar ( R )

Maranda Fisher 1 Place Certificate

Winners of the contest have been presented with monetary prizes in the amount of: A) the first place – $300; B) the second place -$200; C) the third place $100. Funds to present awards to winners and to provide logistics for the contest were provided through the ELLA grant from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences with personal support from Dean of School, Dr. David Yells.

The Organizing Committee honored the great contribution from Ms. Robin Bucaria, a teacher of Cooper Hills High School of Salt Lake City, by presenting her special certificate, signed by the members of the Organizing Committee led by Dr. Rusty Butler, Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Diplomacy at Utah Valley University, and also focal point for the Mountain Partnership at Utah Valley University and Utah Russia-Institute. Ms. Robin Bucaria was able to convince almost all students from her class to write essays and contribute to the contest.


Teacher Ms. Robin Bucaria (C ) with Ambassador Kydyrov  (L ) and member of the

Organizing Committee Jesler Molina ( R )

 Bucaria Certificate

The event was also honored with the presence of His Excellency Talaibek Kydyrov, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Nations, who encouraged students to continue to contribute to the sustainable mountain development agenda and water management in particular. He was glad that event was dedicated also to the 10th Anniversary since adoption of the special resolution of the United Nations establishing December 11 as International Mountain Day. The Kyrgyz dignitary presented certificates to participants and winners.

Important contribution to the contest was made by the charitable organization TIFIE (Teaching Individuals Families Independence Enterprise), which provided special prizes to the winners and the rest of the participants and special guests – equipment with solar panels similar to those which are provided to the families in Ghana as a part of the fundraising campaign, which was underway simultaneously with the Essay contest.


Brandon Merrill ( L ), President of the Sustainable Mountain Development

Club at UVU during the fundraising campaign with Ambassador Kydyrov ( second left) and members of UIMF

His Excellency Talaibek Kydyrov received an honorable mention, as did Ms. Robin Bucaria, a teacher at who has been a special collaborator of the organization over the past three years.

UIMF Welcomes U.N. Ambassador from Switzerland

UIMF members greet Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations,

Ambassador Paul Seger at Utah Valley University 

Members of Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), coalition of students clubs made a special presentation to the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations, Ambassador Paul Seger during the visit of VIP-guest to Utah Valley University on March 25, 2013.

UIMF organized for Swiss guest special exhibition of posters, as a part of the bigger one, prepared for the United Nations RIO+20 conference in Brazil last summer, which was attended by UVU delegation. They shared with dignitary experiences from UVU and UIMF in advocacy of the sustainable mountain development (SMD) – agenda including: hosting three international Women of the Mountains Conferences in 2007, 2011 and 2012; contributing to the Report on SMD for North America for the United Nations conference on sustainable development (RIO+20) in Brazil; celebrating International Mountain Days for the third time in the whole state of Utah during last December; organizing three essay contests among Utah high school students on different topics from the SMD-agenda; supporting creation in Aspen, CO of North American hub for the Mountain Partnership, coalition of institutions, which advocates SMD-activities globally, among others.


Since 2006, when UVU joined the Mountain Partnership, and until now UVU and UIMF funded all activities for SDM-advocacy from local or own funds and resources.

Swiss Amb 1 
Jordan Giles, vice-president of UIMF ( L ) and Robert McMurray, UIMF member ( R ) presenting to the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations, Ambassador Paul Seger an exhibition of posters about UVU involvement in SMD-promotion 

Swiss Amb 2

 Photo of the plaque with thanks from UVU

students for contribution by Switzerland to the SMD-agenda

Taking into account very important role played by Switzerland in promoting sustainable mountain development agenda globally and providing significant financial assistance to the developing mountain nations around the world UVU students presented to Swiss envoy special plaque with expressing thanks for contribution to SMD and signed by the members of the UIMF.

Swiss Amb 3

Students UVU presenting to the Swiss Ambassador Paul Seger a plaque with thanks for

Contribution by the Switzerland to the SMD-agenda.

UIMF Welcomes U.N. Ambassador from Kyrgyzstan

UIMF Greets the Kyrgyz Envoy to the United Nations

UVU Students, members of Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of students clubs, hosted Permanent Representative of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Nations, Ambassador Talaibek Kydyrov during his visit to Utah Valley University on March 22, 2013. UVU Students informed H.E. Ambassador Kydyrov about student involvement in the advocacy of sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda.

Kyrg Award

UIMF members presenting to the Kyrgyz guest a plaque with thanks for

contribution by the Kyrgyz republic to the SMD-agenda.


VIP guest from the Kyrgyz Republic was glad to know that Utah Valley University and its students have been involved in the advocacy of the SMD-agenda since 2006, when UVU joined Mountain Partnership, a coalition of global institutions interested in working together on the mountain cause. During the conversation different aspects of cooperation were discussed, specifically educational exchanges between UVU and Universities in Kyrgystan. Ambassador Talaibek Kydyrov expressed interest to have interns at his mission in New York with a focus on research of SDM-experiences both in Utah and Kyrgyzstan with comparative analyses and recommendations. UIMF members presented to the Kyrgyz guest a plaque with thanks for contribution by the Kyrgyz republic to the SMD-agenda.

Chad & Kyrg

Ambassador Talaibek Kydyrov with the student body President Chad Workman

UIMF Finishes Successful Week of Fundraising

Brandon and Melani
UVU Students at the Fundraising Booth on campus
The UIMF every semester has dedicated itself to fundraising for organizations that promote and live sustainability. This semester was no different. While usually we fundraiser solely for the Dumi Project for TIFIE in the DR Congo this semester we worked with TIFIE and GoalZero to find a partner in Ghana called Empower Playgrounds International (EPI).
EPI has decided to move to a larger scale power solution for the communities in Ghana with solar power. The community buys into the program and makes monthly payments overtime. While this may seem more expensive it, in fact, is actually very affordable and usually equals out to what the residents usually pay in cell recharging fees, batteries, and kerosene every month. These are the usual sources of power for them and can be quite costly depending on the size of their family. With the solar power and rechargeable battery packs they receive every month they will be able to light their homes, charge their cell phones, and other small electronic devices. After 12-18 months depending on the size of the system they are purchasing they completely own the system and are able to start saving a lot of money.
The UIMF raised enough money to make the down payment for 10 homes to be outfitted with solar power. For these families to have a form of reliable, clean energy means less sickness from burning coal or kerosene. It means a way to have another source of income because they can now charge cell phones of local community members and it is a way to save money and lift themselves out of poverty. The UIMF continues to be able to show to the Utah community that a sustainable charitable model is what is needed in developing communities. When this model is used the community is trained on how to take care of the system after the organization is gone, is able to take ownership of the system and helps lift the community out of poverty by giving them a way to make and save money.  In the end it teaches independence to families and individuals through enterprise.
An example of some of the Goal Zero equipment sold for the fundraiser
Share the World FINAL small

Conference: Climate Change and Violence

Conference Climate Change and Violence: How Heating the Planet Creates Conflict and Death” at Utah Valley University

PJST Photo

H.E. Talaybek Kydyrov, the permanent representative of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Nations during the conference at UVU

UVU hosted on March 21-22, a conference, titled “Climate Change and Violence: How Heating the Planet Creates Conflict and Death,” with participation of Tariq Banuri, a professor at the University of Utah and former director of the U.N. Division for Sustainable Development, Greg White, a professor at Smith College and director of the Global Studies Center, and Christian Parenti, an investigative journalist on climate change and faculty at the SIT Graduate Institute. The conference culminated on March 22 with guest speaker Talaibek Kydyrov, the permanent representative of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Nations, and a screening of the award-winning documentary film, “The Island President.” Kydyrov made a presentation, entitled “Problems of Sustainable Development and Climate Change in Kyrgyzstan.” Conference was a part of the J. Bonner Ritchie Dialogue on Peace and Justice, which the Peace & Justice Studies program at UVU hosts every spring, by bringing together scholars and practitioners involved in the most pertinent issues of our time. (see:http://www.uvu.edu/peaceandjustice/events/upcoming.html)

Additional Information



Change the World Week

The Utah International Mountain Forum is pleased to announce “Change the World Week” starting March 18th and ending on March 22nd. The week will involve a variety of activities to educate the student body of some fantastic projects happening around the world all with the emphasis on sustainability. Each day will have theme; Monday is Food Day, Tuesday is the UVU Entrepreneurship Lecture Series features TIFIE Founder Robert Workman, Wednesday is Shelter Day and a shelter building competition will be sponsored by BareBones, Thursday will have a variety of activities involves sustainable power, and Friday will be the High School Essay contest where we will recognize High School students for their submitted essays on Water Sustainability.

UIMF will also have a booth located in the Science Center Atrium auctioning off a variety of donate products will all proceeds going to TIFIE’s “Light a Village” project.

Please come and support UIMF and the students of UVU!

UIMF Welcomes U.N. Ambassador from Macedonia

Ambassador Of Macedonia To The U.N. To Lecture At UVU

7 MARCH 2013

March 7, 2013

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

Written by: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

The Ambassador of Macedonia to the United Nations, H. E. Pajo Avirovikj, will lecture at Utah Valley University on Monday, March 18, at 10 a.m. in the Sorensen Student Center, room 213b.

Avirovikj, whose remarks are entitled “Preventative Diplomacy as an Instrument for Peace: From Concept to Action,” is a guest of the university’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy, the Center for Global & Intercultural Engagement, and Peace & Justice Studies.

“Peace is most definitely a process,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president of international affairs and diplomacy. “It is our privilege to be addressed by Ambassador Avirovikj and his remarks should provide unique insight and perspective to one possible avenue for implementing this process.”

The new permanent representative of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the U.N., Avirovikj recently presented his credentials to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Until his appointment, Avirovikj was his country’s Ambassador to Israel prior to which he served as chargé d’affaires at the embassy. He also has served in Macedonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as a minister counselor in his country’s embassy in Paris.

An award-winning author and journalist, Avirovikj studied at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in Paris and holds a master’s degree in Oriental philology from the University of Belgrade in Serbia and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


UIMF Welcomes U.N. Ambassador from India

Ambassador Of India To The UN To Speak At UVU


February 8, 2013

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

Written by: Kaitlyn Tolman (801) 863-8208

The Ambassador of India to the United Nations, Hardeep Singh Puri, will lecture at Utah Valley University on Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. in the UVU Library auditorium, room 120. Puri will discuss the U.N. Security Council and the need for reform. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The title of Puri’s lecture is “The U.N. Security Council Stalemate: Decision Paralysis, an Outdated Structure, and the Need for Reform.” A career diplomat, Puri has extensive experience with multilateral diplomacy and specializes in trade relations

“As a former president of the U.N. Security Council and the current chairman of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, Ambassador Puri is at the forefront of international discourse on world conflict. He has been heavily involved in discussions on Libya and Syria, and is a very experienced and well-respected figure at the U.N. for his efforts to promote peace in such conflicts,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president for UVU’s International Affairs & Diplomacy. “After months of working to secure his visit to UVU, we are extremely pleased to host such a distinguished dignitary, and look forward to the opportunity for our students and faculty to engage with this world leader.”

Puri has served as the ambassador to the U.N. for India since May 2009 and has served as chair of the U.N. Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee since January 2011. Puri has also served two terms as president of the U.N. Security Council.

Prior to his current appointment, Puri served as permanent secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. He previously served as ambassador to Brazil and permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

Puri joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1974, and in the past 39 years has served at the Indian missions in Japan, Geneva, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom and Brazil. He holds a post-graduate degree in history from the University of Delhi.


IMD 2012 Press Release and Follow-up


The Utah International Mountain Forum, (UIMF) a coalition of student clubs on the campus of Utah Valley University (UVU) in Utah, USA, member of the Mountain Partnership since 2006, sponsored their third annual International Mountain Day Celebration on December 7, 2012 in which the contributions in promoting the sustainable mountain agenda of the United Nations during 2012 for both UIMF and other Utah Mountain Partnership members were recognized. UVU students, and faculty during this successful event were able to recognize those members of the community, who contributed to the United Nations RIO+20 conference by; raising funds and sending a Utah delegation to Brazil, organizing the third international Women of the Mountains conference in Puno, Peru as a preparatory event for RIO+20 on June, 13-14, 2012, contributing research to the Reports on SMD on North America for RIO+20 summit, and making other efforts with the aim to advocate the SMD-agenda both in the region and globally.

The celebration was attended by nearly 100 members of the community and a variety of local government leaders with involvement of such MP members from Utah as Gruppman International Music Institute, Hope International, Orem City, Provo City, Utah Valley University, and Utah-Russia-Institute.


Center: Conference Audience

 As part of the IMD celebration, UIMF sponsored a silent auction to raise funds for TIFIE’s “Light a Village Project”  in which they were able to raise over $2500 for the cause. The funds were raised by auctioning off products and services that were donated by the local community and will be used to help fund a solar project for mountain villages to provide them with light.

In addition, a delegation from UVU co-organized  conferences with its partner, the International University of Kyrgyzstan in the Kyrgyz Republic commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of Mountains, International Mountain Day, and following-up events to RIO+20 conference. UVU contributed to the agendas of the conference on “Mountains and climate”  on December 11, 2012 in Bishkek,  “Conflict and Peace in the Mountains,” on December 8, 2012 in Osh City, Round Table  “Utah-Central Asia”  on December 10, 2012 in Bishkek and through the efforts of two students from UIMF co-hosted a round table, “Youth and SMD” on December 8, 2012 in Bishkek.


UVU delegation during round table on Rocky Mountains-Central Asian

 cooperation in Bishkek, on December 10, 2012

The end result of these conferences was a greater cohesion with our local and international networks, outreach to the youth in Utah and Kyrgyzstan, including many high school students, and a general accountability to our financiers by demonstrating what we as an institution had accomplished over 2012.

UVU and UIMF are committed to being strong and active members of the Mountain Partnership and a voice for all issues related to sustainable mountain development and other mountain issues in Utah and beyond.

For more information regarding what the Utah International Mountain Forum has been able to accomplish please visit http://utahimf.org

UIMF Announces New Member: enactus


The Utah International Mountain Forum is proud to announce a new member of its coalition of UVU clubs, enactus! We look forward to working closely with them in the future!


UVU Advisor:

Jonathan H. Westover, Ph.D., Faculty Advisor; WB 212, 801-863-8215jonathan.westover@uvu.edu
Student Contact:

Nathan Marshall, UVU Enactus President; nathanmmarshall@gmail.com
Mission Statement:

Enactus (formally known as SIFE) is an international network of students, academics and business leaders. Working in partnership with business and higher education, Enactus “mobilizes university students around the world to use the knowledge gained in the classroom to address real world business and economic issues in their communities. Enactus students form teams on their university campuses and perform community service projects that teach market economics, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, personal success skills, business ethics, and environmental sustainability.”
Goal for the year: To perform a range of socially responsible community engagement projects and compete at the Enactus regional competition in Spring 2013.

A Coalition of UVU Clubs