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




Michael Hinatsu Reflections on UIMF activities during day 2 at CSW63


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


Laila-Mitchell-Hosting parallel event at CSW63


Megan Davis-Reflection of the CSW63 Parallel Panel Event


William Gum-How UIMF hosted parallel event at CSW63


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


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


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


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