2006 Events

November 20, 2006 - Jose Guillermo Castillo Villacorta,
Ambassador of Guatemala to the US


Ambassador Castillo previously served as minister (1999-2000) and vice minister of economy in charge of trade issues (1998-99). While serving as a delegate of the Ministry of Economy, he also coordinated and completed negotiations for a free trade agreement with Mexico (1996-2000). Before working in the public sector, Ambassador Castillo worked in banking, insurance and bonds as well as the industrial and commercial sectors in both Guatemala and abroad. In addition, Ambassador Castillo has directed various companies, and he held such posts as vice president of strategic planning at Cervecería Centroamericana, vice chairman, director and treasurer of the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry, coordinator of the Economic Commission, director of the Business Council for the International Trade Negotiations, and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Competitiveness Program.

Ambassador Castillo also taught courses in business strategy, world political and economic order, and international trade and marketing at private universities in Guatemala. Ambassador Castillo earned a bachelor’s degree from Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. A Fulbright scholarship grantee, he holds a master’s of business administration degree from Northwestern University. He is married to Flor de María Palacios with four children.

Huntsman, Honorary Award and Flags

Ambassador and Mrs. Villacorta with Governor Huntsman and receiving an Honorary Professor Award at UVSC.

October 25-30, 2006 - Aleksander Sallabanda,
Ambassador of Albania to the US


Utah Valley State College hosted Albanian Ambassador to the United States Aleksander Sallabanda along with his wife Sashenka October 25-30, 2006. Ambassador Sallabanda lectured to a political science class and others interested in the state of affairs in Albania at UVSC and provided a similar lecture to students at BYU.


The Ambassador met with Governor Huntsman and The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to discuss relations with Albania. While in Utah, Ambassador Sallabanda and his wife toured the campuses of UVSC and BYU as well as the Missionary Training Center, the LDS Church Humanitarian Center, the Family History Library, Temple Square, the Olympic park and various sites in Moab and Park City, Utah.


At a reception held in his honor at UVSC the evening of Thursday, October 26th, Ambassador Sallabanda presented an award from the Government of Albania to Dr. John Smith of Utah for service he rendered while serving as a humanitarian missionary for the LDS Church. Dr. Smith and his wife, who is a trained nurse, helped Albanian doctors setup and run the pediatric division of a hospital after the fall of communism in that country. The Ambassador who is also a physician commended Dr. Smith for his selfless service to the people of Albania. Dr. Smith in turn expressed his gratitude for the opportunity he was given to help those so in need of medical care.

Huntsman and UVSC

Ambassador and Mrs. Sallabanda with Governor Huntsman at UVSC

Lecture and Arches

Ambassador Sallabanda lecturing at UVSC and at Arches with Mrs. Salladbanda

May 13-17, 2006 - Meret Orazoz,
Ambassador of Turkmenistan to the US


Meret B. Orazov became ambassador of Turkmenistan to the United States on Feb. 14, 2001. Ambassador Orazov, a noted scientist, founded a program between Texas A&M University Faculty of Business and Management and Magtymguly Turkmen State University in 1998. He also worked with the European Union to establish in-service training for personnel in areas of economics and management. In addition, he has established research collaborations with universities and scientific centers in eight nations. From 1983 to 1992, Ambassador Orazov held a number of leading posts in government and academic organizations, including the office of vice prime minister, minister for foreign economic relations, as well as assistant professor and dean of the International Relations Department at Magtymguly Turkmen State University.

Ambassador Orazov, who has published more than 120 scientific papers and five treatises on economics, has received numerous awards for his work in science and technology.

Luncheon and Park City

Ambassador and Mrs. Orazoz at a UVSC Luncheon and in Park City

UVSC and Herbert

Ambassador and Mrs. Orazoz at a UVSC and with Lt. Governor Herbert

April 13, 2006 - Carlos Westendrop y Cabeza,
Ambassador of Spain to the US


Carlos Westendorp y Cabeza assumed the position of ambassador of Spain to the United States on Sept. 15, 2004. Ambassador Westendorp, who joined the Spanish Diplomatic Service in 1966, previously served as a member of the Autonomous Community of the Madrid Parliamentary Assembly (2003-04), a member of the European Parliament (1999-2003), and high representative for the implementation of the peace agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1997-99). In addition, he has served as his country’s permanent representative to the United Nations (1996-97), minister of foreign affairs (1995-96), as well as various posts for the European communities, including state secretary (1991-95), permanent representative (1985-91), president executive of the Board for the Relations with the European communities (1983-85) and secretary-general (1985). Ambassador Westendorp has also served as head of the Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy at the Hague (1975-79), head of the Technical Cabinet of the Ministry of Industry (1974-75), director of economic studies at the Diplomatic School in Madrid (1969-70), and as the Spanish Consulate General in São Paulo (1966-69).

Staff and Award

Ambassador Westendrop y Cabeza with UVSC Staff and Receiving a Gift from Associate VP Rusty Butler.

Faculty and Award

The Ambassador with UVSC Supporters, the Paxmans, and Former Ambassador Abdrisaev and his wife Tcholpon.

March 23, 2006 - Sereywath Ek,
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the US


Sereywath Ek became ambassador of Cambodia to the United States on March 8, 2005. Ambassador Ek previously served as senator of the Kingdom of Cambodia (2004), ambassador to the Philippines (1999-2003), a member of Parliament for the Takeo Province constituency (1998-99), and secretary of state (vice minister) at the Ministry of National Defense (1993-98). In 1993, he also served as vice minister of information in the provisional government of Cambodia and a member of Parliament for the Phnom Penh constituency. In addition, he has held posts as deputy director (1985-91) and director of information for Funcipec (1991-93), editor of the Cambodia Center newsletter in Paris (1983-85), and a journalist with Le Figaro in Paris (1978-80). Ambassador Ek holds a master’s degree in political science from the Institute of Political Studies Diplomatic Section in Paris and is married with two children.

Miss Utah and Gift

Ambassador Ek with Miss Utah and receiving a UVSC gift.

March 19-21, 2006 - Nirupam Sen,
Ambassador of India to the UN

Nirupam Sen


Ambassador Nirupam Sen, the permanent representative of India to the United Nations, was a guest of UVSC on March 19-21, 2006. He delivered a lecture titled "Globalization, Religion and the Implications of the U.N. Reform" for UVSC students, faculty, staff and campus guests.

Ambassador Sen has been Deputy Secretary in-charge of East Europe and the Americas and Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs; has taught at the National Defense College in New Delhi and written a dissertation on Solidarity at the University of Oxford, U.K.

Ambassador Sen has served as Charge d’Affaires, Budapest, Hungary; as Political Counselor, High Commission of India, London, U.K.; as Deputy High Commissioner in the High Commission of India, Colombo, Sri Lanka; as Minister (Economic) and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Moscow (Russia); as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Sofia (Bulgaria) (concurrently accredited to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia); as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Oslo, Norway (concurrently accredited to Iceland) and, most recently, as High Commissioner of India, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Since August 2004, he has been Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York.

Ambassador Sen has been Deputy Secretary in-charge of East Europe and the Americas and Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs; has taught at the National Defense College in New Delhi and written a dissertation on Solidarity at the University of Oxford, U.K.

Ambassador Sen has served as Charge d’Affaires, Budapest, Hungary; as Political Counselor, High Commission of India, London, U.K.; as Deputy High Commissioner in the High Commission of India, Colombo, Sri Lanka; as Minister (Economic) and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Moscow (Russia); as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Sofia (Bulgaria) (concurrently accredited to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia); as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Oslo, Norway (concurrently accredited to Iceland) and, most recently, as High Commissioner of India, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Since August 2004, he has been Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York.


Daily Herald  Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Written by:  Anna Chang-Yen

India is benefiting from globalization, but its side effects must be kept in check at home and across the world, the country's U.N. ambassador said at UVSC on Monday.

Nirupam Sen, India's permanent ambassador to the United Nations, spoke at Utah Valley State College and said local students were inquisitive about globalization's negative effects. The U.N.'s creation of the Human Rights Council last week is one step toward combating those effects, he said, calling the effort "globalization with a human face."

Falling social expenditures and production pressures on labor markets are some examples, he said. "Some things associated with it can be minimalized. There is no doubt that there is ample research that shows the inequalities, both regional and personal, are increased through globalization," Sen said. India is responding by guaranteeing jobs for citizens who live in rural areas -- which Sen described as possibly one of the most far-reaching social programs ever conceived.

About half of Fortune 500 companies have offices in India, Sen said, "and the other half will be coming, I'm sure."

Rusty Butler, associate vice president for international affairs at UVSC, said Sen came to UVSC through a connection with former Gov. Olene Walker. Sen's visit was particularly germane because UVSC students are internationally minded at a time when commerce is going global, he said. "We've got to learn that this is a global economy that we're in, and it's moving very fast."

Where globalization and religion intersect, conflict also can arise, Sen said.

"On one hand there is a search for genuine religious experience, but on the other, speaking the way of the old certainties, it leads to a search for an identity in a much more materially defined way, so it also provides for a chance for fundamentalism, and this could indeed lead to terrorism," he said.

And Sen said he believes as the U.S. and India collaborate on technology like the "air-breathing rocket" -- the rocket's engine will take oxygen from the air to burn fuel as it accelerates into space -- and nuclear power,

Americans will learn more about his home country.

"It's good for India, and it will be good for the U.S., I'm sure," Sen said.

Sederburg and Huntsman

Ambassador Sen with President Sederburg and Rusty Butler and a meeting with Governor Huntsman.

LDS First Presidency and Sundance

Ambassador Sen with LDS First Presidency and at Sundance Ski Resort

February 5-8, 2006 - Hafiz Pashayev,
Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the US

Hafiz Pashayev


UVSC hosted the Ambassador of Azerbaijan H.E. Hafiz Pashayev on February 5-8, 2006. Dr. Pashayev enlightened UVSC history and political science students on his country’s history, economy and globalization. He said that Azerbaijan is little known to the U.S. and that his primary role as an Ambassador is to educate U.S. citizens about Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is located between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea and is surrounded by Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and Iran. Azerbaijan has a long history of defending its independence. Historically, the country was under influence of three major empires: Russian, Persian and Ottoman. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan was one of the first republics to proclaim independence from the old regime.

Unfortunately, at the present time, Azerbaijan is not entirely free from occupation. Its south-west region called Nagorno-Karabakh is occupied by Armenia, its neighbor country. Besides the problem of occupation, which covers 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, the country is experiencing difficulties providing for its refugees.

According to Armeniapedia, today Nagorno-Karabakh is a de-facto independent state calling itself the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, with its own democratically elected government and a market economy. It is closely tied to the Republic of Armenia and uses its currency. Successive Armenian governments have resisted internal pressure to unite the two, fearing reprisals from Azerbaijan and the international community, which still considers Nagorno-Karabakh part of Azerbaijan.

For more information about Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, visit the Foreign Policy section on Azerbaijan embassy’s http://www.azembassy.us/

Despite of the geopolitical conflict within its borders, Azerbaijan is doing exceptionally well economically. International Monetary Fund forecasts a 38 percent growth in country’s GDP for 2006. The main asset of the Azerbaijani economy is oil extracted from the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan was the first country to explore oil on the sea and Baku was the first capital in the world to produce oil. One of the major accomplishments of Azerbaijan is a strategic pipeline - Baku-Georgia-Turkey-Mediterranean Region – which bypasses the Russian territory thus diminishing the country’s dependence upon the Russian Federation.

Even though Azerbaijan has a plethora of energy resources, its government plans to further diversify the economy. Dr. Pashayev reminded students that oil can bring challenges as well as blessings to the country’s prosperity. On one hand, because of oil, Azerbaijan attracts a lot of foreign investors, on the other hand, because of oil, other countries attempt to impose their influence making Azerbaijan not very stable politically. Presently, Azerbaijan is investing heavily into building the infrastructure that can attract foreign investors. Key business development areas in Azerbaijan are oil and gas, construction materials, food processing and agriculture (Azerbaijan has 9 different climates), transportation, tourism and health. Azerbaijan is planning to establish the Silk Route – the transportation corridor between East and West that will benefit the country immensely.

UVSC Campus and Administrators

Ambassador Pashayev on campus and with UVSC Administrators


Ambassador Pashayev lecturing at UVSC.


Ambassador Pashayev with Utah Governor Huntsman.

January 12, 2006 - Imad Moustapha,
Ambassador of Syria to the US

Imad Moustapha


Dr. Imad Moustapha visited UVSC campus on January 12, 2006 and delivered a fascinating lecture entitled “Syria: Challenges and Crisis.” In his lecture, he addressed three main issues troubling Syria externally: 1) Palestine-Israel conflict, 2) Iraq war and the U.S.-Syria relationship and 3) Lebanon dispute.

1) Palestine-Israel conflict directly impacts Syria because of Golan. According to Wikipedia, The Golan Heights or Golan, formerly also known as the Syrian Heights, are a plateau on the border of Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Israel captured the Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War (and again in the 1973 Yom Kippur War). In 1981, it applied its "laws, jurisdiction and administration" in the Golan Heights. Syria asserts that the Heights are part of the governorate of Al Qunaytirah. The international community considers the area Syrian territory under Israeli occupation, but Israel has a more complex position.” Syrian government created a Strategic Initiative for Peace (peaceful negotiations to reclaim Golan), but the changing government of Israel never signed the document. Dr. Moustapha mentioned that the Palestine-Israel conflict will be over when Israel acknowledges Palestine as a nation and gives up occupation of Golan.

2) The war in Iraq and the U.S.-Syria relations have been two subtopics of the lecture that the audience was most interested in. Even though “Syria is classified by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism for supporting Palestinian groups opposed to the Middle East peace process, such as Islamic Jihad and Hamas, as well as Lebanon's Hezbollah organization” (The Christian Science Monitor), Dr. Moustapha claims that Syria has always been willing to assist the U.S. with stabilizing the situation in Iraq. Furthermore, he noted that Syria was supportive of overthrowing Saddam’s regime; however, it was against waging the war on Iraq. According to the Ambassador, the war in Iraq inflamed extremist and fundamentalist groups around the world and subjected allies around the world to terrorism. Syria continues to seek a dialogue with the State Department to re-establish favorable diplomatic relations; however, the U.S. does not want to engage with Syria at this point.

3) Lebanon dispute with Syria stems from the Syrian presence in the country. Originally, Syria went into Lebanon to end the civil war. The troops stayed in Lebanon for 15 years. Dr. Moustapha noted that when the global leaders complained about Syria’s prolonged presence in Lebanon, it withdrew its troops. However, the dispute escalated when Syrian forces were accused in the killing of a former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. The assassination of the prime minister is still under U.N.’s investigation. The Ambassador stated that his government is eager to find out who actually initiated the killing and to put the dispute to rest.

At the conclusion of his speech, Dr. Moustapha enlightened the audience with the following interesting fact. Syria’s population consists of 80% Muslims and 20% Christians. It is the only Middle Eastern country that publicly observes both Muslim and Christian religious holidays alike. The Ambassador emphasized that Syria cherishes their Christian heritage and prides itself in cultural diversity.

After the lecture, Dr. Moustapha encouraged students to ask all manner of questions, no taboos enforced.

Award and Administrators

Ambassador Moustapha receives an Honorary Award and meets with UVSC Administrators.


Deseret Morning News  Friday, Jan. 13 2006 

Written by:  Laura Hancock

OREM — President Bush did not intentionally mislead people about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Syria's ambassador to the United States said Thursday. Ambassador Imad Moustapha said he believes Bush was misled by neoconservatives in his administration. Moustapha would not identify the people in the administration he believes were responsible.

"I'm an accredited ambassador," he said, the only explanation for why he declined to reveal the names. Thursday morning he told about 150 students at Utah Valley State College that they could look them up on the Internet. He said the neoconservatives were authors of what are known as the "Clean Break documents." "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" was written in 1996 for then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by eight Americans. They advised Israel to de-emphasize the peace process with the Palestinians. They also believed Saddam Hussein was causing problems for Israel. The document was distributed around Washington prior to the Iraq war. Among the authors were Richard Perle, former adviser to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; Douglas Feith, a former Pentagon official; and David Wurmser, an aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.

In addition to hawkish people in Bush's administration, the ambassador said he believes oil contributed to the invasion of Iraq. Syria is facing international criticism for its 15-year occupation of Lebanon, which ended recently after Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated.

Moustapha said the international community, including the United States, seems to forget that they requested Syria enter Lebanon and help stop its civil war. When global leaders complained about Syria's long presence in the country, it stepped out, Moustapha noted.

"I have to be honest with you, we overstayed our welcome," Moustapha said while emphasizing that Syria was not involved with the slaying, which is under investigation by a U.N. commission.

To see the actual article please see http://www.deseretnews.com/article/635176002/Syrian-envoy-says-Bush-was-misled.html

To read an article published by The Daily Herald about the Ambassador’s visit, go tohttp://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/syrian-ambassador-brings-message-of-good-relations/article_62e574b2-fb03-50ea-9614-eb645af5c99b.html?comment_form=true

UCCU Center

Ambassador Moustapha at the UCCU Center.

UCCU Center

Ambassador Moustapha with Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.