Marcia Barlow: how to advocate at the United Nations

UIMF preparations to present at 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women

Throughout the past year, students of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), worked diligently in strategizing how to present UIMF efforts to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62). Main efforts include: 1. Coordinating with the Mountain Partnership and NGOs to create a unified message, which will be taken to the UN 2. Inviting fellow students and faculty with various research experiences to participate at CSW62 as part of the UIMF delegation. 3. Fundraising to allow cover the travel expenses of the delegation in their trip to the UN Headquarters in New York City. 4. Inviting distinguished guests that have prior CSW or general UN presentation experience to train the UIMF delegation to be more effective in their presentation at the CSW62.

Efforts began when UIMF leadership extended the invitation to Andrew Taber and Dr. Jed Shilling of the Mountain Partnership, Ms. Wendy Jyang of the China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands, and Rusty Butler of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, an NGO with ECOSOC status under the UN. At a roundtable discussion, ( the UIMF facilitated discussion on how non-traditional students, particularly at UVU can promote mountain related targets under the UN SDGs. Creating a framework, the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences was then able to submit a written statement to the UN on behalf of all who participated in the discussion, which ultimately secured a parallel event for the UVU delegation at CSW62 on March 20th, 2018Through connections made through UIMF efforts in previous years and with the assistance of the Office of Global Engagement at UVU, the delegation was able to secure a side event at CSW62, sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the UN and by the Permanent Mission of Uzbekistan to the United Nations.

With the three CSW62 goals (1. Making a written statement. 2. Schedule a Side Event. 3. Schedule a Parallel Event) of the UIMF accomplished, UIMF members extended the invitation to their fellow students and faculty to participate and present their work at the CSW62. Although the research projects of the invited members vary, all retain the recurring theme of Engaged Learning, especially with non-traditional students that can contribute locally. Engaged Learning takes a student that may normally be focused solely on his or her studies and creates a mindset of service and applying learned principles to better their local and international surroundings. The student-led UIMF delegation has met frequently to fulfil logistical needs of the delegation and to strategize their involvement with the UN.

As a part of the preparations for Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), and fellow UVU students and faculty’s attendance to the UN CSW62, we invited Mrs. Marcia Barlow, Vice President of International Programs for United Families International (UFI) to come to UVU and provide instruction and guidance to our delegation.  Mrs. Barlow has a wealth of experience gained over 20 years, during which time she has participated in many UN conferences and commissions where she conducts high-level advocacy for her organization, which has had NGO consultative status through the UN Economic and Social Council since 1997.

Marcia Barlow (third from the left) with members of our delegation

Our desire to increase our voice during CSW62 led us to reach out to Mrs. Barlow at the suggestion of Dr. Abdrisaev, UIMF’s faculty advisor.  Mrs. Barlow attended UN CSW 61 last year and became acquainted with UIMF members at that time. Acting on this recommendation, UIMF members coordinated events throughout the day to take maximum advantage of Mrs. Barlow’s visit to UVU. UIMF members used club funds to purchase plane tickets and host a lunch for the UVU students, faculty, and staff who have supported our delegation. (

Our activities of the day began with Mrs. Barlow giving an information rich introduction to effective advocacy at the UN to help students make the greatest impact possible during our time at the UN. All the information presented served to better prepare me as an advocate, but as a student leader and organizer for our combined delegation, The delegation learned the importance of making personal connections to the right people so that our message is persuasive in the appropriate channels in which we hope to be able to raise a greater awareness of shared issues facing mountain women here in Utah and around the world. We are happy to report that our side event will be co-sponsored by the diplomatic missions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in addition to Uzbekistan. This is a great opportunity to put into practice the knowledge we gained from Mrs. Barlow regarding building relationships to persuade.

During the interim period between Mrs. Barlow’s presentation and our delegation’s lunch, we were privileged to converse with her at length about UIMF, UVU’s Engaged Learning model, the Women of the Mountains Conference, and Utah culture and history. The conversation leads Mrs. Barlow to a deeper understanding of the ideas which our delegation hopes to share at the UN as well as increased my appreciation for her and the respect she showed to us as engaged students.

Our afternoon meeting allowed for our delegation and Mrs. Barlow to review our presentations and the general format of the events with the aim of honing and refining the way we present our message. Mrs. Barlow recommended that each student presenter create and bring a flyer or pamphlet with relevant information and contact details to give to interested parties, to include diplomats and NGO leaders, so that they would have a physical reference to our message as well as a way to contact us for more information. We are confident that her input and perspective will lead to a more effective showing at the UN.

Matthew Rands, President, UIMF

Derek Garfield, Vice-President, UIMF



Power point for UN Training, UVU 2018



Announcement about Marcia Barlow visit to UVU


Monica English-Marcia Barlow and the UVU Delegation to the UN


Andrew-Jensen-Advocacy Lessons at the UN from Marcia Barlow


Isak Larsen-Marcia Barlow about advocacy at UN


From Caitlin Tomly-Learning UN advocacy from Marcia Barlow


Dylan Genes-UIMF hosts Marcia Barlow


Kyler Pigott-Discussing sustainable mountain development with Marcia Barlow


Anthony Franks-Marcia Barlow: the tools Needed for engaged learning