Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th UNGA, visits Utah Valley University, discusses sustainable mountain development


On 15–16 May 2023, the President of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Csaba Kőrösi, visited the State of Utah in the United States of America, invited by Utah Valley University (UVU)'s College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) and Department of History and Political Science (HPOLS), and by Rusty Butler, the Mountain Partnership focal point of UVU. Students at UVU were responsible for taking care of the preparations for the UNGA President’s visit.

President Kőrösi met with Jay DeSart, Chair of HPOLS, and his colleagues to express appreciation for the invitation and to discuss projects related to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the three mountain targets.

The UNGA President gave a lecture to faculty, students, and the public titled "From crisis management to transformation: the United Nations in a brave new world". He spoke about emerging global challenges including wars, debt crises, and the water crisis which is being exacerbated by climate change. The event was hosted by McKay Brooks, the acting president of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU, as part of the University's student engaged learned model (SEL). The SEL model encourages traditional and non-traditional students to work collaboratively in order to gain real-world experience in their fields of study while receiving mentorship from faculty and community leaders.

After the lecture, students presented the results of their actions and research on sustainable mountain development (SMD) to President Kőrösi during a roundtable discussion. Former UIMF president Alitha Thompson moderated the event, which saw participation by other students and faculty. President Kőrösi shared insight on how the three mountain targets came to be proposed and adopted as part of the SDGs.

A lunch for the dignitary hosted by Steven Clark, Dean of CHSS, allowed the attending students to gain more knowledge, skills and experiences through interacting with President Kőrösi and the CHSS faculty members. Students also hosted a reception to honour the distinguished guest. Stephan Atkinson, President of UVU's Foreign Affairs Club, was the primary organizer of this event. The audience included UVU President Astrid Tuminez, CHSS and HPOLS faculty, students, and community representatives supporting UIMF and SMD including governors from Utah Rotary District 5420 and Orem-Lindon Rotarians. The reception included a performance from the American Folk Ensemble led by Nate Keller.

On 16 May, President Kőrösi met with Utah state officials in Salt Lake City. This included the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Russel Nelson, and Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson. During the meetings with state officials, President Kőrösi was raising issues related to the water crisis, how Utah is addressing the issue, and what changes can be made to the State's approach. He was particularly concerned and interested in how Utah is addressing this issue and sustainability for rural mountain communities.

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News by McKay Brooks and Stephan Atkinson

Photo by Nikki Smith

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