Utah students advocate for mountain women at CSW65


Members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), showcased Utah as a promising model for sustainable mountain development during a parallel event at the sixty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65) on 22 March. The UIMF members urged CSW65 to include language on mountain communities and families in the final document of the forum.

Titled "Mountain women empowerment through the inclusive student engaged learning model", the event was organized within the framework of the Student Engaged Learning (SEL) model, an approach that encourages students to gain professional skills while addressing real work issues on local and international level, with faculty serving as mentors. The parallel event was co-sponsored by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS), a member of the Mountain Partnership and an NGO in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations; UVU Office of Global Engagement; UVU History and Political Science Department; and Orem Rotary Club.

Ahead of CSW65, students prepared a draft written statement for the consideration of RANS and the Utah-China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce, another Mountain Partnership member and NGO in consultative status with ECOSOC. The statement urged CSW65 to have mountain women and girls in the focus of the 2030 Agenda, highlighted the importance of the SEL model for students' professional growth, emphasized building ties with RANS and UCFISHD&C, and promoted advocacy for mountain women and families. On 13 December 2020, ECOSOC approved the written statement for consideration at CSW65.

For the first time, the UVU Rotaract Club as a UIMF member, jointly with Orem Rotary Club, contributed to the delegation's activities by advocating for both mountain women and six main goals of Rotary International, a prominent NGO in general consultative status with ECOSOC.

Students raised funds to attend CSW65 and participated in a series of preparatory events ahead of the session - including Effective advocacy in international fora, Presentation skills workshop and UN advocacy training as well as the events Climate crisis and climate action by and for women and CSW65 Chair address to NGOs - and learned how to be effective advocacy professionals at the United Nations.

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News by UIMF/Dallas Karren; Photo by Liam Dowling

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