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


A written statement distributed as official document by ECOSOC


Agenda of the visit to 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  


Brochure of parallel event    Group powerpoint    


Task List







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


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


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




UIMF to advocate for mountain women at CSW63


UIMF Participates on Civil Society Discussion on Zero Draft for CSW63


UIMF Contributed to Final Online Discussion on CSW63 Zero Draft Document


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


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


UIMF Continues to Discuss Online Zero Draft Outcome Document for CSW63


UIMF Discusses Online Zero Draft Outcome Document for CSW63