2008 Events

Dec. 7-9, 2008 - M. Ashraf Haidari,
Political Counselor at the Afghan Embassy in Washington DC

 Ashraf Haidari


On behalf of Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad, Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari visited the State of Utah on December 7-9, 2008. His visit came at the invitation of Utah Valley University International Affairs Vice President Dr. R.E Rusty Butler and Afghan student Najibullah Niazi and was aimed at creating a relationship between Utah and Afghanistan.

At a reception hosted by the university, Haidari met with senior state officials including the Mayor of Provo City, Lewis K. Billings, the Mayor of Orem City, Jerry Washburn, the Chair of Utah County Commissioners, Gary Anderson, and Utah County Commissioners Steve White and Larry Ellertson. The university's senior academic officials also attended the reception, and Haidari briefed them on the overall situation in Afghanistan.

Haidari extended the profound gratitude of Ambassador Jawad and the people of Afghanistan to state officials for the strong support the American people have provided in helping to stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan. "Without the sacrifices of your sons and daughters in uniform or civilians, we could not have come this far. And we are particularly grateful to the brave Utah National Guard forces, who have served your state and country with great distinction and honor to help secure Afghanistan and to make the world a safer place for all," Haidari told the state officials.

Haidari noted that beyond military assistance, individual American states could play a major role in helping to rebuild and develop Afghanistan. He noted that higher education was key to Afghanistan's reconstruction and long-term development. Haidari encouraged Utah's institutions of higher learning - including Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University - to provide four-year scholarships for promising Afghans to study in Utah, and then return home to drive Afghanistan's rebuilding process. "I can fully assure you that educating one Afghan today will give Afghanistan a leader tomorrow; it is an investment in the future of Afghanistan that has no match in terms of positive impact and change," Haidari pointed out.

He also encouraged sister-city and state-to-province relationships between Afghanistan and Utah. "Your beautiful state resembles Afghanistan in many ways, from its mountainous geography and four-season climate to the moral values Utahns and Afghans share," said Haidari. The state officials took a keen interest in Afghanistan, and inquired about long-distance education to be facilitated via internet, among other possible areas of cooperation.

During the visit, Haidari gave a lecture titled "Afghanistan: Security, Governance, and Reconstruction: Challenges & Opportunities" to the students and faculty of Utah Valley University. Two dozen Utah National Guard soldiers, expected to deploy to Afghanistan, attended the talk and engaged in a frank discussion with Haidari on the security situation in Afghanistan. Haidari conveyed Ambassador Jawad's special regards and thanks to the soldiers, saying: "It is because of your sacrifices, those of our allies and the Afghan people that together we have come this far; today, Afghans have a democratic government, personal and national freedom, and we look forward to a secure future for Afghan and American children that we can build together."

In addition, Haidari visited Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, where he gave an ambassadorial lecture on Afghanistan at the university's David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. At a luncheon reception, he met with senior academic officials of the University-including International Vice President, Dr. Erlend Peterson, Executive Director of Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, Dr. Daniel Peterson, and Executive Director of the Kennedy Center, Jeffrey Ringerm, Executive Director of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, Gerald Bradford, and briefed them on the situation in Afghanistan and discussed ways the University could help rebuild Afghanistan.

He praised the university's tradition of cutting-edge research and teaching and conveyed Ambassador Jawad’s special request to the BYU officials - asking for assistance with higher education in Afghanistan. "The message from the ambassador is to consider admitting qualified Afghan students to study on scholarship at your University so they may help rebuild our country and contribute to world peace," Haidari told the officials.

Haidari also appreciated BYU's Middle Eastern Text Initiative, currently conducting the Islamic Translation Series, which is designed not only to further scholarship in the study of Islamic philosophy, theology, and mysticism, but, by encouraging the translation of Islamic texts into the technical language of contemporary Western scholarship, to assist in the integration of Islamic studies into Western academia and to promote global perspectives in the disciplines to which it is devoted.

Through interviews with state media, Haidari reached out to Utahns not only to thank them for their continued support but also to inform them of the achievements made by the United States and Afghanistan over the past seven years and the need to consolidate the two countries’ shared accomplishments to secure Afghanistan and ensure international peace and stability.

With Military

Mr. Haidari with the Military.

Ashraf Haidari Events


Mr. M. Ashraf Haidari is the Counselor for Political, Security, and Development Affairs at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC. He maintains bilateral relations with the US Administration and the Congress, while coordinating the Government of Afghanistan's defense, security, and law enforcement relations with the US counterparts. In addition, Mr. Haidari manages Afghanistan's expanding non-resident diplomatic relations with Brazil and Colombia, and plays an active role in the Embassy’s public diplomacy efforts in support of Afghanistan's reconstruction. Mr. Haidari has represented Afghanistan in major public, bilateral, and multilateral forums, and discussed the country’s state-building process in numerous interviews with international media. He is the Editor of the Embassy’s monthly newsletter, and frequently publishes articles in various papers on the politics, security, and post-conflict rebuilding of Afghanistan. Mr. Haidari previously served the Embassy as First Secretary and Director of Government and Media Relations.

Before joining Afghanistan’s Foreign Service, Mr. Haidari worked as Federal Relations Specialist, Research Analyst, and Assistant Director of Development at Georgetown University in Washington DC. He researched and consulted with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Center for Documentation and Research (CDR) and Regional Bureau for Central Asia, South West Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East (CASWANAME) in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2000. He worked with the United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP), and served as Assistant to the UN Area Security Coordinator, the UN Team Leader, and the UN Flight Coordinator in Afghanistan from 1995-1997. From 1992-1995, he worked as Field Officer with UNHCR for the Afghan and Tajik Refugees Program in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Mr. Haidari holds an M.A. in Security Studies (International Security & Development) from the Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he was a two-year International Peace Scholar; and a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Wabash College, where he was a four-year International Merit Scholar. Mr. Haidari also did a one-year Fellowship at the Georgetown University Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, and holds advanced certificates in International Affairs and Refugee & Humanitarian Emergencies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Institute for the Study of International Migration. In 2000, he pursued a one-year European Studies Program -- studying European Economic Integration, International Law and Organizations, Public Service, Swiss Politics, and French at the Kent State University Geneva Study-Abroad Program in Switzerland. Mr. Haidari speaks English, French, and some Russian.

For more information about student David Iba’s Internship in Mr. Haidari’s office in Washington D.C.

November 16-20, 2008 - Nicolae Chirtoaca,
Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the US

Nicolae Chirtoaca and Lt. Governor


University Marketing & Communications:  Erin Spurgeon (801) 863-6807

Written by:  Britnee Nguyen (801) 863-8504

Ambassador of Moldova, Nicolae Chirtoaca, will be speaking to students at Utah Valley University on Nov. 17 from 9 to 9:50 a.m. in Liberal Arts (LA) 219. He will be addressing the Moldovian perspective of the transition into democracy in Eastern Europe and the threats and challenges of security and peace building in Eurasia. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"Ambassador Chirtoaca has graciously agreed to share insights on his own country's transition to democracy," said Loretta Palmer, associate vice president of undergraduate research and international program at UVU. "There can be no better way to understand our global community's challenges than to discuss them with individuals, such as the ambassador, who live and work with these issues daily."

Chirtoaca became an Ambassador of Moldova to the United States in 2006. Chirtoaca previously served as director of the European Institute for Political Studies in Moldova, the Euro-Atlantic Center of Moldova and the Invisible College of Moldova. He has also served as senior state advisor to the prime minister, press secretary of the government, vice chairman of the Liberal Party and state advisor to the office of the President.

"As a multi-cultural educational community, UVU welcomes individuals such as the Ambassador of Moldova who offers us the opportunity to learn more of the rich ethnic history of this east European country whose traditions are centuries old," Palmer said.

Click here to view Ambassador Chirtoaca’s PowerPoint presentation.

With UVU Staff and Lecture

Ambassador Chirtoaca with UVU administrators and staff at UVU.

With Business Leaders and Arches

Ambassador Chirtoaca with Utah Business Leaders and at Arches National Park.

October 30, 2008 - Perezi Kamunanwire,
Ambassador of Uganda to the US

Perezi Kamunanwire


University Marketing & Communications:  Erin Spurgeon (801) 863-6807

Written by:  Hanna Hopkinson

Utah Valley University's office of International Affairs and Diplomacy, accompanied by the Ssejinja Foundation, will host Ugandan Ambassador Perezi Kamunanwire Oct. 30 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Lakeview Room of the new UVU library.

"Kamunanwire is coming as part of the ambassador program that we have at UVU," said Rusty Butler, assistant vice president of international affairs. "We are excited to have him here. He will give students and the community a global perspective that they can't get anywhere else."

After addressing the audience, Kamunanwire will distribute humanitarian awards to local benefactors of the Ssejinja Foundation, created by former UVU student David Ssejinja, for their help in providing housing to Ugandan children whose parents have been affected with or died from AIDS. Butler is one recipient who will be honored at the event.

"It is a great foundation that was developed to help those who really need it," Butler said.

Kamunanwire began his position as Uganda's ambassador to the United States in May of 2006. Prior to this post, he served as Uganda's permanent representative to the United Nations in New York and as ambassador to Germany.

After receiving his educated at Columbia University in New York, Kamunanwire taught at City College of the City University of New York, where he also directed programs in black studies and international relations. Starting in 2003, he served as an adjunct professor at the Center for Conflict Management and Organizational Research associated with Sophia University in Bulgaria.

Kamunanwire has written several scholarly articles in the field of international relations, co-edited the book "A Study Guide to Uganda" and contributed the preface to "We, the PanAfrikans: Essays on the Global Black Experience."

Gift and Rusty Butler

Ambassador Kamunanwire and his wife receive a UVU gift.

Gift and Rusty Butler

Ssejinja Children's Foundation Charity Sale and the Ambassador with the UVU Girl's Soccer Team before their trip to Uganda.

October 23, 2008 - Abdoulaye Diop,
Ambassador of Mali to the US

Abdoulaye Diop


University Marketing & Communications:  Erin Spurgeon (801) 863-6807

Written by:  Britnee Nguyen (801) 863-8504

Ambassador of Mali, H.E. Abdoulaye Diop, will be speaking about business opportunities in Africa, particularly in Mali, to students at Utah Valley University on Oct. 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. in WB 106. The lecture is free and open to the public. Those who are interested in attending the lecture must come no later than 8:30 a.m. to avoid disrupting the business law class that is hosting the ambassador.

"Students will learn about Mali, investment opportunities in Mali and the work the ambassador has done while furthering his diplomatic career," said Maryna Storrs, program coordinator for the Office of International Affairs and Diplomacy at UVU. "It is an honor to host ambassadors on UVU campus."

Diop has been a member of several national delegations and has attended regional and international conferences to discuss issues such as regional integration, economic development, peace and security. His previous work included service as diplomatic adviser in Mali to President Alpha Oumar Konaré and President Amadou Toumani Touré.

Diop had an active role when Mali assumed the chairmanship of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAMEMU). He also oversaw Mali's participation in the Security Council of the United Nations and monitored initiatives for the creation of the African Union.

Prior to being the diplomatic adviser to the president, Diop acted as the advisor to the minister of foreign affairs. He also held the position of counselor at the Mali Embassy in Belgium and was in charge of multi-lateral cooperation issues. He was an active participant in the treaty negotiations between the African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union, which resulted in an agreement signed in Cotonou, Benin, in 2000.

Diop has two master's degrees, one in international relations from the Paris International Institute of Public Administration and the other from the University of Paris XI in diplomacy and management of international organizations. He earned his bachelor's degree in diplomacy from the National School of Administration of Algeria. Diop was born in Brazzaville, Congo, and is married with five children.

In addition to speaking to UVU students during Diop's trip, he is in Utah to induct N. Yeah Samaké as the new honorary consul of Mali in Utah. Samaké is a Utah resident who currently serves as the executive director of the Mali Rising Foundation, a non-profit organization established to provide better access to education for millions of children around the world.


Ambassador Diop lectures to UVU Business Law Students.

Staff and Breakfast

Ambassador Diop with UVU administrators and staff and at a breakfast in his honor.


Ambassador Diop's comments about his visit to UVU:

"Your College continued efforts in being an energy-efficient campus are extraordinary. I think that universities across the African continent should use your unique consolidation efforts and power utilization on campus, to save money, which could be invested in equipment, such as computers for the scholars or simply utilize to pay the personnel. We have an advantage in Mali particularly, because of its position on the map of Africa. We could exploit sunrays to further develop the use of solar energy."

"The visit was indeed instructional and it was an honor to meet the two Malian nationals that are registered in your school. I hope that more Malian scholars will have the opportunity to enroll in UVU and obtain an education that will allow them to take part in the development of Mali."

October 10, 2008 - Open World Russian Delegation

Russian Delegation


Mountain American Credit Union:
Written by:  Jodi Jones (801) 201-7469

SALT LAKE CITY, October 1, 2008—Six Russian leaders participating in the Open World Program will spend October 3-13, 2008 in West Jordan. They’ll land at the West Jordan Executive Airport (formerly Airport # 2) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 3, 2008. International Hosting, a West Jordan business is working with several organizations to host the delegation. While in Utah, the visitors will meet with Government, Business, Education, Media, Social Service and Court Officials. They will also meet with the leaders of the LDS Relief Society and take tours of Welfare Square and the Humanitarian Center. Mountain America Credit Union is hosting a luncheon for the delegation on Tuesday, October 7, 2008. They will also take part in several cultural and community activities, including a visit to Zion and Bryce National Parks, Kennecott Copper Mine and a performance of the Utah Symphony. The delegation will stay with local residents to allow them to experience American family life. The women, listed below, are from West Jordan’s sister city of Votkinsk, Russia. Votkinsk is located 600 miles east of Moscow and is the birthplace of Peter Tchaikovsky.

Olga Pyankova, Director Votkinsk Municipal Fund for Small Business Support Nataliya Nikitina, Deputy Head, Education Department, Votkinsk City Yuliya Durova, Correspondent, Local Broadcasting Station “Autoradio Votkinsk” Yekaterina Mikryukova, Educational Psychologist, Republic Center for Complex Social-Psychological Aid to Youth Nataliya Sterkhova, Leading Specialist for Religious Ethnic Relations, Culture, Sport and Youth Policy, Votkinsk City Viktoria Kabatyuk, English Teacher from Karelia accompanies the group as a facilitator.

Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, the Open World program is designed to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by developing a network of leaders in the region who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America’s democratic, accountable government and free-market system. The Open World Leadership Center has awarded a grant to AED (Academy for Educational Development) in Washington DC to administer this and similar exchanges in 2008.

Hall of Flags and Calendar

The Russian delegation in the UVU Hall of Flags and presenting a Russian calendar UVU Hosts

Hall of Flags and Calendar

Dean Susan Madsen presenting to the delegation.

May 24-29, 2008 - Dr. Kanybek Osmonalievich Osmonaliev,
Kyrgyz Director of Religious Affairs

Russian Delegation


1977 – Graduated from the Osh Pedagogical University of the Kyrgyz Republic as a teacher of physics

1979-1992 – Worked on different positions at the Osh Pedagogical University of the Kyrgyz Republic

1992-1994 – Assistant Professor, Department of Physics of Semiconductors and Insulators, Kyrgyz State National University

1994-2002 – Rector of the Technological University “Dastan” in Kyrgyzstan

2002- 2005 – Deputy Director on Science, Agency on Science and Intellectual Property under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic

2005 -2007 – Deputy Minister of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic

2007-2008 – Minister of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic

Jan. 2008 - Present Director of the State Agency on Religious Affairs under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic

Scientific degrees:

1987- PhD on Physics-Mathematics (Candidate of Sciences) from the University of Tartu (Estonia)

2000 - Doctor of Physics-Mathematics from the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences

2001 – Professor of the Kyrgyz State National University

With Rusty Butler and Mini Conference

Associate VP Rusty Butler is gifted Kyrgyz attire from the Ambassador and attends the Law and Religion Mini-conference at BYU Law School.

Senator Valentine and Kat Brown

Visit with Senator Valentine and Dr. Kat Brown, Department Chair of History and Political Science

May 18-23, 2008 - Hyun Chong Kim,
Ambassador of Korea to the UN

Hyun Chong Kim


Prior to his appointment to the U.N. Mr. Hyun Chong Kim served as the Minister for Trade of the Republic of Korea beginning in July 2004.

Minister Kim first joined Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1995 as a legal advisor for the Ministry, and then made a shift in his career to work as Senior Legal Advisor for the World Trade Organization in Geneva. When he returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade four years later, he was appointed the Deputy Minister for Trade. After serving at that post a little more than one year, he took up the position of Minister for Trade in July 2004, to gear up and lead the country’s trade policy into a new frontier of the 21st century.

Prior to joining the public service of the Republic of Korea, he practiced in law firms in New York and Seoul, and taught International Trade at Hong-ik University in Korea. Mr. Kim developed a deep interest in international politics which he studied at Columbia University for B.A. and M.A. He also earned a J.D. (Juris Doctor) degree from the same university in 1985.

The ambassador is married with two sons.

Below are some interesting facts from the ambassador's lecture at UVU :

  • A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Korea and the U.S. was signed in June 2007.As of 2008, Korea has signed FTA's with 45 countries.
  • "As a leader you have to decide whether to keep your head down and keep your job or whether to make a difference and risk keeping your job. I chose to change the Status Quo." (Ambassador Kim's observation on his time as a Trade Minister)
  • The Per capita income in Korea is rapidly growing. As of 2008 it has increased up to $20,400 from $80 in 1960 (the same level as modern-day Ghana and Bolivia).
  • Korea is the only nation that refers to China as a Western nation.
  • Seventy percent of Korea's GDP depends upon foreign trade. In contrast the United States 24% of GDP.
  • Korea is the only country in the world that went from a military dictatorship directly to democracy.
  • Throughout history, Communism collapsed from within, not because of external pressure. According to the ambassador, the reason for the collapse was most likely due to the introduction of capitalism. "You cannot legislate against human nature, meaning you cannot legislate against the human desire for a better quality of life."
  • Ambassador Kim pointed out that the secret behind Korea's economic growth is that they have subjected every corner of society to competition.
  • Korea was the battlefield in the Russo-Japanese war.
  • Developed countries should focus more on helping developing countries by creating jobs there (foreign investment).

Click here to view the Ambassador’s Power Point presentation.

Sederburg, Butler and Lecture

Ambassador Hyun Chong Kim with President Sederburg, with Associate VP Rusty Butler and speaking at UVU.

Korean Dance

Korean Dance performance for the Ambassador Hyun Chong Kim.

April 16, 2012 - Inocencio Arias,
Consul General of Spain

Inocencio Arias


The new Consul General of Spain, Inocencio F. Arias, was recently Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations (1997 – 2004) and had served previously as Secretary of State (Deputy Minister) for International Cooperation and Iberoamerican Affairs (1991–93) and as Under-Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1988–1991).

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (State Department), where he has worked for thirty-six years, Mr. Inocencio F. Arias has been Chief spokesman of the Minister on three occasions and for three different governments (1980-82/1985-88/1996-97), such as the Center Party (UCD), Socialist (PSOE), and the Partido Popular (PP). Throughout his diplomatic career he has been posted in Bolivia, Algeria, Portugal and New York (U.N.).

In the private sector, Mr. Arias has been General Manager of the world-famous soccer club Real Madrid (1993-95). He also has a vast academic experience, having been professor of International Relations at University Complutense (Madrid) and at University Carlos III (Madrid), where he still teaches. Mr. Inocencio F. Arias is the author of several publications, papers and contributions, primarily political issues and international relations, as well as the theatre, cinema, and sports). He has also worked as radio commentator (Radio Nacional de España) on foreign policy issues, and he has frequently appeared on similar television programs. He has had eight appearances, in a variety of characters, in feature films.

He has actively participated in numerous international conferences: Earth Summit (Río de Janeiro, 1991); European Councils (1986, 87, 88, 96); NATO Summit (Madrid, 1997); Middle East Summit (Madrid, 1991); Movement of Non-Aligned Countries Summit (Jakarta, 1992; Cartagena, 1998); Iberoamerican Summits (Mexico, 1991; Madrid, 1992; Bahia, 1993; Santiago Chile, 1996). He has been a member of the Spanish Delegation of the 36th, 37th, 40th, 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 51st, 52nd, 53rd, and 54th sessions of the General Assembly.

He has been awarded more than thirty Spanish and foreign decorations (Grandes Cruces of Chile, Great Britain, Colombia, etc.).

Inocencio F. Arias was born in Albox, Spain, on April 20th, 1940. He holds a degree in Law and joined the diplomatic service in 1967. He is married and has three children.

April 9-12, 2008 - Oleh Shamshur,
Ambassador of Ukraine to the US

Oleh Shamshur


On April 9-12, 2008, Ambassador Oleh Shamshur visited Salt Lake City (Utah) to open the Honorary Consulate of Ukraine in Ukraine headed by US businessman and a long standing friend of Ukraine Jonathan Kevin Friedman.

Ukraine’s Ambassador met with Utah's Attorney General, Gary Herbert, to discuss economic and humanitarian cooperation between Ukraine and Utah. A particular emphasis was also placed on the International torch-relay march to commemorate millions of victims of the Ukrainian Holodomor (famine-genocide) of 1932-33. This symbolic candle will travel the United States in the month of May, and Salt Lake City will be one of the recipients of this unquenchable flame.

Oleh Shamshur also met with the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day and Brigham Young University and gave a lecture at UVU on the future of Ukrainian-American relations.


Oleh Shamshur became ambassador of Ukraine to the United States on Jan. 24, 2005. Ambassador Shamshur previously served as deputy minister of foreign affairs (2000-04), head of the European Union Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2003-04), and minister-counselor at the Ukrainian Embassy to the Benelux countries (1998-2003). In addition, he was deputy chairman of the State Committee for Nationalities and Migration of Ukraine, as well as a member of the President’s Commission on Citizenship (1996-98), and secretary and counselor at the Ukrainian Mission to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva (1993-96).

Ambassador Shamshur was also a visiting scholar at the University College in London (1993), and he held various posts at the Institute of Social and Economic Problems of Foreign Countries at the Academy of Sciences in Ukraine, including director of programs (1981-93).

Ambassador Shamshur graduated cum laude from the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv University’s Department of International Relations and International Law, and he holds a doctorate from Kyiv University. He also completed a post-graduate course at the Academy of Sciences in Ukraine. Ambassador Shamshur speaks English, French and Russian and is married with one daughter.


Ambassador Shamshur with Lt. Governor Herbert and Hon. Consul Friedman in Salt Lake City and with UVU Administrators.

March 26-30, 2008 - Martin Palous,
Ambassador of Czech Republic to the UN

 Martin Palouš


On Thursday, March 27, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic, Martin Palouš, spoke at UVSC in the Liberal Arts Building, LA 119, at 1 p.m. Palouš’ speech was titled, “Post-Soviet Europe: Challenges for the Czech Republic," and he addressed the role of the Czech Republic in the fall of Communism and the emerging power struggles in the region based on geopolitical and energy policies.

“Palouš came to UVSC because UVSC has garnered a reputation for international hospitality and desire to engage students in globally important issues which may affect our state’s citizens and economy,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president of International Affairs. “By attending, students gained a greater understanding of the complex global interdependence we face, even here in Utah. This was a very interesting and informational event for everyone who attended.”


Martin Palouš was appointed Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States by Czech President Vaclav Havel in the summer of 2001. He presented his letter of credence to President George W. Bush on October 10, 2001.

Born in Prague on October 14, 1950, Mr. Palouš received a RNDr. degree (Doctor of Natural Sciences in chemistry from Charles University, Prague, in 1973, and went on to study philosophy and social sciences (graduating in 1977). He has also studied law (1996-1999).

Mr. Palouš was one of the first signatories of Charter 77 and served as spokesman for this dissident human rights group in 1986. A founding member of the Civic Forum (November 1989), he was elected to the Federal Assembly in 1990 and became a member of its Foreign Affairs Committee. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia as adviser to Minister Dienstbier and was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from October 1990 to October 1992.

Mr. Palouš has held a number of teaching positions at Charles University, since 1990. He became a member of the Faculty of Social Sciences (Foreign Relations Division) in 1994 and served for some time as the Faculty s Vice?Dean. In 1993, he joined the Centre for Theoretical Studies (research centre run jointly by Charles University and the Czech Academy of Sciences, headed by Ivan M. Havel). He has lectured extensively in the United States. Until 1998 he was also active in various non?governmental organizations (Chairman of the Czech Helsinki Committee, Co?Chairman of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly). In October 1998, he became Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Mr. Palouš is the author of numerous publications, including the chapter on the Czech Republic in the European Commission publication Democratization in Central and Eastern Europe, “Totalitarianism and Authoritarianism”, in the Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict (1999) and “Between Idealism and Realism: Reflections on the Political Landscape of Postcommunism”, in Between Past and Future: “The Revolutions of 1989 and their Aftermath (2000). He translates the works of Hannah Arendt.

Sederburg and Lecture

Ambassador Palous with President Sederburg and addressing UVU students.

Herbert and Ski Lift

Ambassador Palous with Lt. Governor Gary Herbert and enjoying the Utah snow.

March 8-15, 2008 - Open World Tajikistan Delegation


University Marketing & Communications:  Erin Spurgeon (801) 863-6807

Written by:  Melissa Plowman

A high level water management delegation will come to UVSC March 8-15. These five individuals from Tajikistan are coming together with key decision-makers from throughout the central Utah community under the Library of Congress Open World program.

UVSC has hosted Open World delegations from Central Asia in the past and has been commended by the Library of Congress for the exceptional programs and the friendliness of the campus and community. The delegation will discuss all aspects of water in Tajikistan.

“Already, there is considerable discussion over some of the country’s decisions including water usage and hydroelectric potential, which is of great concern to many neighboring countries,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president of international affairs. “Students are welcome to become involved in parts of the program which are of interest to them. Also, there will be opportunities for students to get to know the individuals, as well as their culture.”

The delegation is of such importance to Tajikistan that the Ambassador of the Country to the United Nations is accompanying the delegation to UVSC, His Excellency Sirodjidin Aslov.

“We live in a globally interdependent world,” said Butler. “Our students must be prepared for the global realities of the world we live in. This is another opportunity to prepare.”

During the visit of the delegation, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Tajikistan to the United Nations, Sirodjidin Aslov, visited Utah.

For more information about the Open World Program http://www.openworld.gov/

OIA Staff and Host Families

The Tajik Delegation with their Utah Host Families and the UVSC Office of International Affairs Staff

February 21, 2008 - Madhu Raman Acharya,
Ambassador of Nepal to the UN

Madhu Raman Acharya


University Marketing & Communications:  Erin Spurgeon (801) 863-6807

Written by:  Lisa Rose

Ambassador Madhu Raman Acharya of Nepal is coming to UVSC February 21. Acharya will speak to two UVSC classes, Thursday, February 21, at 10 a.m. in professor’s Keith Snedegar class, “The Nature of History,” in LA 124 on the development of history in Nepal; and on Thursday, February 21, at 11:30 a.m. in professor Scott Williams’s class, “Programming,” in GT 511H on trekking business in Nepal.

“This is a great learning experience for all who attend to hear from one of the best experts on the history of Nepal. No textbook will narrate the history of Nepal as vividly and as correctly as a native of the country whose primary responsibility is to represent Nepal in the United Nations,” said Maryna Storrs, coordinator of international affairs. “Students can expect to learn about the operations of the guiding and trekking businesses in Nepal which are one of the major sources of income for Nepali natives. Students will definitely learn a thing or two about planning, development and execution of a successful guiding business.”

Acharya began his distinguished career in 1982 as assistant lecturer at his alma mater, Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. In 1983, he was appointed a section officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, where he remained until 1990. He joined the Ministry of Finance in 1990 as assistant secretary and from 1993 to 1996 he was Nepal’s under-secretary of finance. He has worked for Nepal’s foreign secretary, Nepal’s ambassador to Bangladesh, deputy chief of mission in New Delhi, India, and served as the joint secretary in Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the 1990s, he participated in United Nations missions in Cambodia, South Africa and Liberia.

He holds several degrees from Tribhuvan University and is the author of several books and publications.

Fascinating Facts about Nepal taken from the Ambassador's presentation:

  • The tourism industry in Nepal is a unique combination of natural beauty and friendly people
  • Nepal has 10 times the population of Utah but is 10 times smaller in territory
  • The Annapurna region of Nepal is known for biotourism
  • Namche Bazaar is the "highest" village in the world. It is situated in Khumbu region of Nepal at 3,440 metres (11,286 ft) (the low point that is). The village was developed as a result of tourism.
  • Mustang, Nepal, was closed to tourists until 5 years ago
  • Lantang region is home to the famous Snow leopard
  • Daman Hill Station (equivalent of a resort) offers 360 degrees view of the mountains
  • Nepal hosts 10 world heritage sites
  • Nepal has the most successful tiger preservation program. Forty years ago there were only 35 Bengal tigers left; today there are 400 of them.
  • Lumbini, Nepal, is believed to be a birthplace of Buddha
  • Nepal is famous for its woodcarving craft
  • The Yeti or Abominable Snowman is an apelike animal cryptid said to inhabit the Himalaya region of Nepal
  • The Royal Kumari is a living goddess in Nepal. A Kumari is a prepubescent girl worshiped by some of the country's Hindus as well as the Nepali Buddhists.

Sederburg and Herbert

Exchange of gifts between President Sederburg and Lt. Governor Gary Herbert.

Krishna and Reception

Tour of the Krishna Temple in Salem, Utah and Utah Nepali community reception for the Ambassador.

February 11, 2008 - Kyrgyz Opposition Party Members Visit

 Omurbek Tekebaev


The UVSC Office of International Affairs and the Department of History and Political Science will host members of the Kyrgyz opposition party February 9-11, 2008. Utah Senate President John Valentine will co-host the group.

Omurbek Tekebaev, former Speaker of the Kyrgyz Parliament (Jogorku Kenesh) and chairman of the Motherland Party (Ata-Meken) - the leading opposition party in Kyrgyzstan, will head the delegation to Utah. Tekebaev is an outspoken critic of the Kyrgyz government and a leader of the “For Reforms” movement.

Tekenbaev resigned on February 13, 2006, after an escalated criticism outbreak toward President Kurmanbek Bakiev. According to Radio Free Europe, “Tekebaev's central criticism of Bakiev has been over constitutional reform. Tekebaev argues that Kyrgyzstan needs a rebalancing of power in favor of parliament.”

Despite the resignation from a politically-powerful post, Tekebaev is still considered by many as one of the most influential parliamentarians in all Central Asia. Radio Free Europe states, “Tekebaev has long been one of the most powerful figures on the Kyrgyz political scene. He has led a number of opposition parties, ran for the presidency in 1995 and in 2000, and commands considerable respect and support within parliament.”

Tekenvaev will be accompanied by two of his former deputies who are also members of the Motherland Party, Bolotbek Sherniyazov and Erkinbek Alymbekov.

The delegation’s visit comes in the midst of the power struggle in Kyrgyzstan between the President and the Parliament. President Bakiev has recently dismissed the Parliament in October 2007 following a national referendum on a new constitution. The new constitution, which represented third variant adopted during last two years, was criticized by civil society as the one which endorsed changes to the election law that could benefit Bakiev's new party.

Since the creation of balance between the legislative and executive branches of power is so crucial to the rapidly emerging democracy such as Kyrgyzstan’s, UVSC students will get a unique opportunity to hold a discussion with the delegation on complexities involved in establishment of the separation of powers. The dialogue will take place on February 11, 9 a.m., WB 126. Students of all majors are invited to attend providing the seating availability.

“The U.S. has important strategic interests in Central Asia,” explained Dr. Rusty Butler, associate vice president for international affairs at UVSC. “Kyrgyzstan is home to the United States air base (that provides critical support to the war effort in Afghanistan) as well as to a growing Russian military base. A strong democracy is crucial for the stability of Kyrgyzstan as well as the entire Central Asia region.”

The Kyrgyz delegation will also have a chance to meet with UVSC faculty and explore ways in which the school’s community can become more involved with that nation in a number of areas, including Central Asian legislative affairs.

“In a democracy we must look at both sides of a question,” said Dr. Alex Stecker, coordinator, Political Science Department. “We cannot and must not accept a one-sided answer. This is what education is all about. The delegation will help students and faculty understand the other side of the issue. The delegation will look at such areas as human rights, democracy building, legislative process and religious tolerance. We share this world with so many, we can and must share our ideas and hopes and they will do the same with us. In this way we become a variable nation and they will also.”

President Valentine will host the delegation at his Capitol Hill office and share his expertise on Utah’s legislative procedures. Last year UVSC and President Valentine hosted the speaker of the Kyrgyz Parliament Meret Sultanov. The visit led to a legislative exchange - Valentine and UVSC AVP for International Affairs Rusty Butler were hosted in the Kyrgyz Republic in October 2007 by Speaker Sultanov. A subsequent delegation of Kyrgyz judges came to UVSC as part of a Library of Congress program – Open World.

Kyrgyzstan is seen by the Westerners as the most politically liberal in ex-Soviet Central Asia because of the participation of opposition parties in government, a strong civil society, and the lack of a ruling party.

Feb. 2008 - Ahmad S. Corbitt - Director,
NYC Office of Public & International Affairs, LDS Church

Ahmad S. Corbitt


Mr. Corbitt and his colleagues regularly represent the Church at United Nations and other international activities and events, and in meetings with UN diplomats and other foreign dignitaries. He has similar responsibilities with national, regional and local events and dignitaries. A Church spokesperson, Mr. Corbitt also interacts with the media on behalf of the Church. Previously, Mr. Corbitt was Executive Director of Corporate Communications and Associate General Counsel at Corporation Service Company (CSC), a Delaware-based registered agent representing Fortune 500 companies and top national law firms. He managed the company’s communications, marketing and strategic relationships. He also furnished legal counsel to the corporation and its subsidiaries, and provided law firm and law department customers continuing legal education lectures, business lectures and articles on a variety of subjects, including Legislative Policy, Securities Laws, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, white collar crime, Special Purpose Entities and Intellectual Property.

Prior to joining CSC, Mr. Corbitt was vice president and general counsel at Coltrin & Associates, Inc., a public relations firm with offices in the US, Europe and Asia. He handled communications for various marquis accounts, including Burger King, the Salt Lake Winter Olympics of 2002, Chapters (of Canada), Palm and InVision Technologies (manufacturer of baggage screening equipment for US airports). As a spokesperson for the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, he provided numerous strategic interviews and statements for international, national and regional media on the Olympic Torch Relay. As general counsel of Coltrin & Associates, Brother Corbitt oversaw all legal matters involving the company in the U.S. and abroad.

Previously, Mr. Corbitt was a successful trial and appellate lawyer. He honorably completed a four-year appointment by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a member of the New Jersey (District IV) Ethics Committee, which oversaw ethics complaints against lawyers. He is admitted to the bars of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. Mr. Corbitt is a member of the President’s Advancement Council at Brigham Young University-Idaho. He is also a member of the National Advisory Councils of the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University and Southern Virginia University. He is a past president of the Fair Housing Council of Southern New Jersey, and past chairman of various dispute resolution committees in South Jersey. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Bible Association, headquartered in NYC. Mr. Corbitt is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Mr. Corbitt is married to the former Jayne L. Joslin. The Corbitts have six children and four grandchildren.


Written by:  Rusty Butler

Ahmad Corbitt is a diplomat in a true sense of the word. He exudes success and finesse. Ever since I first met Ahmad at a United Nations function in New York, I have always marveled at his refined manner and vast knowledge. Indeed, he is a Twenty-first Century version of the Renaissance Man: a vast reservoir of knowledge coupled with wisdom beyond his years.

Ahmad’s path to success was never assured. He grew up in the “projects” of Philadelphia, meaning that he was far more destined to fail than to succeed. Notwithstanding the public housing, Ahmad knew there was something more for him in life. With determination Ahmad set lofty goals. He became a successful lawyer and then turned to marketing, a profession at which he nearly failed in. But failure was never in his vocabulary and Ahmad dug deep inside to extract an inner strength until he became successful at that profession too.

Eventually his path led him to the LDS Church which he joined, served a mission and is now the President of the Cherry Hills New Jersey Stake. That alone makes him one of the most successful black Americans ever in LDS history. The LDS Church asked him to head up its public affairs office in New York which deals heavily with United Nations issues and senior personnel, as well as many other issues relative to that metropolis.

The message that Ahmad gave to UVSC Black Student Union was: “You have it deep within you to succeed, but you must first recognize that you have that power. Then, you must also recognize that you and you alone are responsible for your future; it will never be handed to you by someone else.” Indeed, Ahmad is a living example of those very principles which he shared with the Black History Month participants at UVSC.

January 23-26, 2008 - KUT: A Musical Family from the High Mountains of Kyrgyzstan



The traditional music of Kyrgyzstan is coming to UVSC as part of a Rocky Mountain tour. The haunting melodies and exciting rhythms of this ancient music will be performed by the award-winning ensemble, KUT (pronounced “koot”) on Thursday, January 24, at 1 p.m. at GT 416. On Friday, January 25 at 12.45 p.m. they will perform at Timp View High School and on Friday, January 25 at 7 p.m. in the Orem Public Library. The tour of KUT is sponsored by UVSC Office of International Affairs, UVSC music department and Vista 360°, a non-profit organization from Wyoming dedicated to fostering cooperation between mountain people around the world.

The purpose of the tour is to introduce American audiences to this specific kind of music, which evokes the mountains and nomadic way of life of the Kyrgyz people. The primary purpose of KUT’s visit to UVSC is interaction with the students from the music department.

“This event represents a unique opportunity for our students and faculty at UVSC,” said David Fullmer, UVSC orchestra director. “Experiences in ethnomusicology (non-western musical traditions and practices) are important for our students in this global society. Discovering this can help us relate to the broader human picture.”

KUT was formed in 2000 and have received numerous awards at music and folklore festivals in Kyrgyzstan during the past six years. The word, “KUT”, means spirit, soul or life force in the Kyrgyz language. KUT is a family ensemble made up of a husband, wife and three sons. They are a shepherd family based in the village of Bokembaeva in northern Kyrgyzstan. The husband and wife also direct the village music school. They are extremely accomplished musicians who play all the instruments of the region and are dedicated to the preservation of their traditional music.

Accompanying the KUT tour will be an exhibit about life in Kyrgyzstan and a trunk show and sale of Kyrgyz handicrafts. The tour includes seven concerts, as well as several school programs and jam sessions with local musicians. KUT will be performing in Bozeman, MT; Sheridan, Wyo; Eden, Utah; Orem and Salt Lake City, Utah; Elko, NV; and Jackson, Wyo.

Introducing KUT

KUT is a family ensemble made up of a husband, wife and three sons, aged 6 to 19.  They are a shepherd family based in the village of Bokembaeva on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in northern Kyrgyzstan.  The husband and wife also run the village music school.  They are extremely accomplished musicians who play all the instruments of the region and who have a calling for the preservation of their traditional music.

The oldest son, who is currently a student at the national music conservatory, is dedicated to re-discovering/ re-creating some of the lost songs of the Kyrgyz 1,000-year old tradition, of which only fragments survive. He builds and plays some of the oldest musical instruments in the world (including several which were designed to be played on horseback).  They are warm and engaging performers and teachers who will make a strong connection to our audiences.  They are also lovely and gracious people who will be excellent “artist ambassadors” for their country.

We have selected KUT because we think this talented family will appeal to audiences in the Rocky Mountain region.  The young musicians are charismatic and multi-dimensional, adept with many kinds of music.  They will be very interesting and accessible to other young people.  Their parents are teachers as well as musicians: they will be comfortable working in the schools in each of our tour sites.  As a shepherd family, they will also have much in common on a personal level with audiences in agricultural communities and at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where the audience includes many ranchers.

KUT as formed in 2000 and, since then, have received numerous awards at music and folklore festivals in Kyrgyzstan.

KUT plays instruments that are unique to the Kyrgyz people, but closely related to the musical traditions of Mongolia and Kazakhstan.  Several of the instruments were originally designed to be played on horseback.   The instruments include string instruments, flutes and drums.

Members and Instruments

Akylbek Serkebaev (father) plays komuz, kyl kyiak, temir ooz komuz and the chopo choor.  He is also a vocalist and epic singer.

Anara Serkebaeva (mother) plays kyl kyiak, komuz, temir ooz komuz, jygach and the ooz komuz.  She is also a vocalist.

Nurbek Serkebaev (eldest son) plays komuz,kyl  kyiak,temir,  jygach, ooz komuz, choor, sybyzgy, chogoino choor and the chong chogoino choor. He is also a vocalist.

Adilet Serkebaev (second son) plays the  komuz, choor and guitar.  He is also a vocalist.

Kuttubek Serkebaev (third son) plays temir ooz komuz, asa taiak and the dool,  He is also a vocalist.

KUT Performances and Awards

-International Festival in Osh, in 2000 (televised nationally)

-International Festival in Talas, 2001  (televised nationally) KUT received 1st prize.

-International Festival "Talas tanshyit" in Talas,2002, Akylbek Serkebaev was awarded 1 prize.

-International festival in Bishkek,2004 Akylbek Serkebaev was awarded 3rd prize.

-Kyrgyz Republic  Festival in Bishkek, 2005 KUT and Akylbek got 2nd prize.

-International Festival AT Chabysh in Barskoon,2005 and 2006.  Featured artists at festival celebrating traditional culture


KUT Performance

KUT and UVSC Staff

KUT and UVSC Staff