2010 Events

December 11, 2010 - International Mountain Day


Saturday, December 11, 2010, 12.00 PM-2.00 PM

UVU Library, LI120

  • Opening remarks from Dr. Rusty Butler, UVU, Associate Vice-President, International Affairs & Diplomacy, focal person from UN-FAO Mountain Partnership at UVU
  • Remarks of Dr. David Conelly, Political Science Department Coordinator
  • Presentation: "Rugged Landscapes and Forgotten People: how resource development resulted in the forced relocation of ten thousand Navajos."
  • Presenters: David R. Wilson (UVU), Chevonne Todicheeney (Westminster College)
  • Remarks of Dr. Stecker and Dr. Blomquist about International Conference Women of the Mountains in March 8-9, 2011 at UVU

Cultural presentation

  • Multicultural Center, Gwen Anderson
  • A Mi Reina ( To my Queen) and 2- Kilomentro 11 (Kilometer11) songs from Latin America, Ale Gossen, student of UVU
  • "One Dance Piece", and "Salt Lake" - Robert Peterson,
  • PACHAMAMA, Incas, ("Festival of the Sun") - Lidia Abanto, dance-theater choreographer, Orem
  • International Fashion Show by UVU students, led By Nilofar Sherzod, UVU student (Tajikistan)
  • Closing remarks

December 11, "International Mountain Day", was designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2003.

The General Assembly "encouraged the international community to organize events at all levels on that day to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development."

International Mountain Day is "observed every year with a different theme relevant to sustainable mountain development. FAO is the U.N. Organization mandated to lead observance of International Mountain Day.

The theme for International Mountain Day 2010 is "Mountain minorities and indigenous people." It aims to raise awareness about indigenous peoples and minorities who live in mountain environments and the relevance of their cultural heritage, traditions and customs."

Event is hosted by the Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy, History and Political Science Department, Peace and Justice Studies Department

November 22, 2010 - Teleconference with Kuzbass
Pedagogical Institute, Russia

On November 22, 2010, UVU hosted a videoconference with Kuzbass Pedagogical Institute in Russia. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of IT technicians at both universities and Lyubov Mikhaltsova, The Director of the Russian American Center in the Kuzbass Pedagogical Institute. Also, assisting Lyubov Mikhailtsova was Olga Millinis, a researcher at the university. This conference was the first of many to be orchestrated by Lyubov Mikhailtsova and her colleagues, for the purposes of raising students' awareness of other cultures, and also for the improvement of curriculum in Russian and English language classes between the two universities. The videoconference serves as a cost effective venue for the transfer of vital information between students and faculty of both universities. Mrs. Mikhaltsova proposed the idea for this initiative through the Office of International Affairs and Diplomacy at UVU, and through its Associate Vice President, Rusty Butler.

The videoconference was held at 8:00 AM Mountain Standard Time in Utah, but it was 9:00 PM in Novokuznetsk, Russia. Several members of the faculty and administration of Kuzbass Pedagogical Institute participated, and Russian students from many fields of study attended the videoconference, including students in engineering, metallurgy, architecture, economics and business management. UVU was represented by many students belonging to the Russian Club, as well as those fluent in Russian, Russian Language professors and two orchestrators of the project, Tcholpon Akmatalieva and Maryna Storrs. Shortly after introductions and pleasantries, there was a question and answer period for students of both universities. During the 45-minute exchange, the students of UVU learned that the English language and the history of America are taught in the Educational and Behavioral Science departments in Russian universities, rather than in Languages and History/Political Science. Russian students described that they learn about modern America not only through textbooks, but also through popular media and the Internet, and they added that the Internet is their prime source of knowledge about other cultures.

In turn, the Russian students were interested in how Americans learn about the Russian Culture and language. One student, Travis Zerker, of UVU mentioned that much of his knowledge about Russia was taught in foreign policy classes, where a section on bilateral relations was dedicated specifically to the US and the former Soviet Union. When the Russian students asked for further details about the Russian Club, the Vice President of the club, Dallin Kauffman, described how a Fulbright Scholar from Siberia helped start the club, in 2009. Among the biggest events the UVU Russian Club holds are the celebration of the 8th of March, which is the traditional day for women in Russia; a Russian dinner night where they cook Borsch and other dishes from Russia; and they also hold fundraisers for disabled people in the Ukraine.

One Russian instructor at UVU, Olga Jarrell, noted that the videoconferences could be a valuable tool to help augment learning Russian and English by offering both universities a chance to have a glimpse at the other culture and the subtleties and colloquialisms of both languages. The faculty and administration at the Russian University also noted that videoconferences could help build tolerance and acceptance, two virtues highly needed in a politically tumultuous world. As you can see, the videoconferences can be a valuable tool to help dissolve cultural, ethnic and national barriers and promote the ideals of an open, pluralistic society and the ultimate betterment of society all over the world.

November 14-17, 2010 - Avni Spahui,
Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo

Ambassador Spahui


University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

Written by: Karissa Neely (801) 863-6351

Utah Valley University is offering students and the community a chance to hear about global problem-solving from someone entrenched in the thick of it. Kosovo Ambassador Avni Spahiu will speak about the challenges Kosovo faced when the nation declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. He will also share the current challenges Kosovo faces in gaining recognition around the world as an independent nation.

Many nations are just now beginning to recognize it as an independent country, said Rusty Butler, associate vice president for International Affairs & Diplomacy at UVU, and primary host of the ambassador’s visit.

Ambassador Spahiu will speak Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. in the Timpanogos Room of the UVU Library. Butler said there will be a question and answer session, because many who are interested in hearing from the ambassador have asked for a chance to ask him questions. With the one-on-one interaction, students obtain a much better global perception of where we live, Butler said.

The ambassadors visit is co-hosted by the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, the Peace and Justice Studies program and the International Center as part of an effort to provide students access to senior diplomats from countries around the world.

Spahiu was born in Mitrovica, Kosovo. He attended school in his hometown until high school, when he moved to the United States. He graduated from a high school in Elk Rapids, Mich., in 1974. He continued his schooling at the University of Prishtina in Kosovo.

He started working as a journalist in 1978, and rose through the ranks to become a newspaper editor, a director of Kosovo's public television broadcast channel and director of two radio stations. He was a co-founder of the first free news agency, Kosovo Information Center, in Kosovo in 1990, and has since been a political adviser to various Kosovo presidents. He became the first Kosovo ambassador in 2009.

For more information about the Ambassador’s visit to UVU please visit http://www.ambasada-ks.net/us/?page=2,8,25

Click here for more information on Ambassador Avni Spahiu.


Ambassador Spahiu Addresses UVU Students and Faculty

LDS Humanitarian Center

Ambassador Spahiu Receives a Gift from the LDS Humanitarian Center


LDS Church News: Saturday, December 4, 2010
Written by: R. Scott Lloyd

Once a Kosovo refugee, Avni Spahiu is now an ambassador to the United States from that nation who on Nov. 16, expressed his gratitude to a General Authority for the humanitarian service given by the Church during the dark days of a decade ago. The expression came on Nov. 16, while the ambassador was a guest lecturer at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.

Ross "Rusty" Butler, UVU international vice president, who hosted Mr. Spahiu's visit, related the story.

"In the 1990s," he wrote in an e-mail, "a journalist and publisher of an underground newspaper in Kosovo, Avni Spahiu, became a refugee because of the ethnic cleansing by Yugoslav troops that ultimately displaced, by UN count, over 1 million Kosovo Albanians.

"NATO air and ground forces engaged the Milosevic troops in a furious war until the Yugoslav dictator capitulated in June 1999. Tens of thousands of Kosovo Albanians were killed, and mass graves revealed nearly 2,000 bodies.

"The human suffering was staggering, and many humanitarian organizations stepped in. One of the most prominent was the LDS Humanitarian Services, which in 1999 put out a call for quilts to help the refugees as winter approached."

Hundreds of thousands of quilts came from far-flung locales as a result. Mr. Spahiu was one of the recipients of the LDS effort. In 2008, he would become the first ambassador to the United States from Kosovo, the newest nation in the world.

He lectured at the university Nov. 14-17, his first visit to Utah. While in Utah, he visited Church headquarters and met Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, who two months earlier had dedicated Kosovo for the preaching of the gospel.

"On behalf of the people of Kosovo, Ambassador Spahiu sincerely thanked Elder Nelson for the generosity Church members had shown him and his people," the university administrator wrote. "Shortly thereafter, during a visit to the LDS Humanitarian Center, the ambassador and his daughter VJosa were presented with another quilt, thus completing the circle."

November 2010 - Richard Portwood,
Student Body President Visits Russia

Richard Portwood


Daily Herald: October 17, 2010

Written by:  Genelle Pugmire

OREM -- Utah Valley University student body president Richard Portwood is taking one of the great adventures of his life. He and 14 other student body presidents from around the country will be guests of the Russian government in November.

According to Rusty Butler, AVP International Affairs and Diplomacy, this trip came about because of the relationship UVU has with the Open World Leadership Program through the Library of Congress. UVU has hosted numerous groups and individuals through Open World Leadership over the years. "Through my own connections and the Library of Congress we became aware of a concept that became a reality," Butler said. "The suggestion was made that university student body presidents could go to Russia. The Russian Agency for Youth Affairs wanted to connect with youth leaders to cultivate relationships."

The Russian government indicated it would host 15-20 student body presidents and wondered if Butler could pull something together. Butler said he thought he might get five or six students. Then he said he decided to turn it over to Portwood to see what he could organize. Portwood belongs to state and national organizations for student body officers.

The students would have to already have their passports, and be approved by the Russian government. "I credit Portwood with saying, 'Let's see what kind of a mix we can get,' " Butler said. Portwood said he started e-mailing and calling all of his contacts and getting the word out for presidents to apply. More than 20 qualified, of that the Russians picked Portwood and 14 others. Portwood ended up being the originator and communicator with the Russian liaison. The schools being represented are about as diverse as you can get in a public setting and reach from coast to coast.

Schools include: Columbia, Amherst, MIT, Stanford, University of Massachusetts, Carthage, University of Colorado, University of Minnesota, Harvard, Georgetown, Berkeley, and four from Utah -- Utah Valley University, Snow College, Dixie College and Westminster College. Portwood and Butler were surprised that four Utah schools were chosen as part of the delegation.

"Richard is the one that put this eclectic group together. He shows remarkable leadership skills," Butler said. "Richard has carried weight for this, [but] this is not a UVU effort; it was initiated by the Russian government."

Portwood, 24, and a former LDS missionary, currently serves as the president of the Utah Student Association.

"A lot of people thought, 'This is just some guy from Utah. It's to good to be true,' " Portwood said. He let them know that this was for real and they did qualify.

"I asked them when they thought they could attend and Nov. 13-20 was the consensus," Portwood said.

Since then its been a whirlwind of organizing, studying and preparing for the trip.

"I have been trying to learn some Russian and study their politics, culture and history. I talk to anyone who has been there or speaks the language," Portwood said. "There are so many issues. I started a dialogue [with those going] so we all have a unified vision."

Portwood said they would definitely discuss student governments and their functions. Russian universities typically don't have student government or councils. The students also want to address the commercial nature of technology, a subject that is big in Russia, according to Portwood.

While all the students are considered equal partners, Portwood reluctantly admitted, "I was initially the go-to person. I have taken the initiative. It's important to talk about these issues. I am very honored to be affiliated with these youth leaders." He said that while there are representatives from Ivy League schools and internationally recognized universities, he doesn't feel inferior or less equal coming from UVU.

"I anticipate it will be a remarkable experience. It's a huge honor as the president of UVU," Portwood said. "It shows where the university is going as a serious institution." In a recent conversation with the Library of Congress representative, Portwood was concerned about the political unrest in Moscow with the current oust of the mayor there. He asked if the political climate would affect the trip. The response was, "No, your trip will affect the political climate."

November 10, 2010 - Mr. Enrique Loedel,
Consul General of Uruguay

In Uniform


Consul General Enrique Loedel is a career Diplomat, who has served at the Embassies of Uruguay in Austria and Germany, at the Consulate of Uruguay in Istanbul, (Turkey), and at the Permanent Missions of Uruguay to the United Nations in Vienna and in New York.

While at the headquarters of Uruguays Foreign Ministry, he served in the Protocol Department, the Division of Foreign Policy, the Division of Latin American Affairs, the Cabinet of the Foreign Minister and the General Direction for Culture and International Cooperation.

Also a graduate from the Diplomatic Academy of Uruguay, Mr. Loedel has his academic background in Uruguay, France and the UK in the field of Law, Political Sciences and International Relations, with a specialization in Public International Law.

Apart from his diplomatic duties, Consul General Loedel has been invited as guest speaker to several Universities, among which his last lectures have taken place at Yale University and LMU University in the US and the Catholic University in Montevideo.

Besides Spanish, which is his native language, Mr. Loedel is fluent in English, French and German. Starting May 1st 2009, Mr Loedel has taken up his duties as Consul General of Uruguay in California, with jurisdiction over thirteen US States. Mr. Loedel was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, on December 9th 1960, is married and has one daughter.

November 6, 2010 - Miguel Valdivieso Montano,
Ambassador of Peru to the United Nations

Ambassador Montano


University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

Written by:  Chelsey Richardson (801) 863-8504

Perus ambassador to the United Nations, Miguel Valdivieso Montano, will visit Utah Valley University on Nov. 6 to speak with the University's leaders about creating greater ties between institutions of higher education in Peru and UVU.

David Utrilla, the Peruvian honorary consul general in Salt Lake City who will accompany the ambassador on his visit, said Valdiviesos efforts are aimed at facilitating greater engaged educational opportunities for students in both countries. Utrilla is enthusiastic about Valdiviesos visit and the opportunity to address UVU's Hispanic students.

There is such a large Hispanic population in Utah, and there are many Peruvians in the community, said Utrilla. The ambassador wants to speak to them as well as to community leaders. He understands that UVU is a new university, but it is growing into a very important one. He also knows of the interest UVU has in creating ties with other countries. The international outreach that UVU has made has created a great interest in furthering relations with the university.

In honor of the ambassadors visit, there also will be a dinner and cultural presentation at UVU on Nov. 6. The evening will focus on Peru and its culture, filled with traditional Peruvian dances, music and food. Valdivieso will speak on forging connections between countries and will also encourage local Peruvian-American business leaders to focus on growing Utah's economy.

The Peruvian ambassadors visit to UVU strengthens both our local community and global partnerships by opening new windows of opportunity for students on both ends of the Americas, said Yudi Lewis, program director of UVU's Latino Initiative.

The event will be presented by UVU's Latino Initiative and Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy, with the support of the Peruvian consulate in Salt Lake City and the Latin American Coalition. It will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at Centre Stage in the UVU Sorensen Student Center. This event is open to the public, but tickets must be purchased in advance. Cost is $20 per person. Please call the UVU Latino Initiative at 801-863-8744 for ticket information.

Valdivieso became the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Peru in the U.S. in 2009 after filling the position of Minister of Economy and Finance of Peru. In that capacity, he also represented Peru on the board of governors of the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. Most of Valdiviesos professional career was at the International Monetary Fund, where he worked for 28 years, holding senior management positions in various departments. Valdivieso also was a special technical advisor to Perus Ministry of Economy and Finance of Peru. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Catholic University of Peru, and a doctorate and master’s degree in economics from Boston University, and has also held teaching positions at both universities.

Latino Legacy Performs

UVU's Latino Legacy Performs for Ambassador Montano


Ambassador Montano speaking at UVU and Receiving an Award from Dr. Butler

October 23-30, 2010 - Open World Delegation from Kazakhstan

OW Meetings

Delegation at a Meeting with Utah Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff and Senator Valentine


University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert, (801) 863-6807

Written by:Maryna Storrs, (801) 863-8897

Utah Valley University will be the official host to seven judges from Kazakhstan participating in the Open World program Oct. 23-30 as the group visits Utah to examine the U.S. legal system.

The delegation also will be hosted by two American judges Judge Michael R. Murphy of the United State Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit Court, and Judge Judith S. H. Atherton of Utah's Third District Court in Salt Lake City. Together with his staff, Judge Murphy has created a rigorous itinerary during which the Kazakh delegates will have a chance to visit court hearings, witness jury trials, meet with Utah State Bar administrators, as well as learn about criminal law, appeals procedures, drug court, juvenile law and extrajudicial settlements. All of the professional activities are designed to give the delegates a taste of the U.S. legal system including judicial ethics, court policy, anti-corruption mechanisms, and independence of the judicial branch from the executive branch.

This is a wonderful opportunity for international exchange and understanding. Judge Atherton and I have structured a program presenting an overview of the American judicial system, incorporating many observations of actual court proceedings, said Judge Murphy. This visit, however, is truly an exchange. It is important that our Kazakh guests teach us about their legal system and traditions for comparison with our own. This is an exciting venture.

The delegates will also get acquainted with the University and have a chance to engage current UVU students for interpretation and cultural activities. The Open World Leadership Center has awarded a grant to UVU's Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy to administer this and similar exchanges in 2010. Home stays with Utah County families will allow the delegates to experience American family life. The Kazakh guests will also take part in several cultural and community activities.

As the delegations host, UVU will be represented at events on their itinerary, creating opportunities for the University to network and create greater awareness about UVU in the international community. The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress designed to build mutual understanding between the United States and Eurasia. Over 15,000 Open World participants with various professional backgrounds have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states since the program’s inception in 1999.

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

OW Meetings

Utah State Capital

BYU Meeting

Meeting with BYU Law School Dean and Faculty

October 12, 2010 - Dr. Grace Kajo Ogwuche,
Former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria


Hon. Dr. Mrs. Grace Kajo Ogwuche was born at Angbo-Akpa Otobi in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State of Nigeria in West Africa on the 13th of August 1952.

She obtained her first school certificate in December 1967 from Wesley Primary School Otobi. She proceeded to Women Teacher's Collage Kabba Kogi State where she obtained her Teacher Grade Two certificate in 1973. In 1977 she got her National Certificate in Education in English Language and History from Advance Teacher's Collage Zaria. In 1980 she graduated from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria with second class upper division in Bachelor of Education Language Arts. In 1985 she obtained her Masters degree in Educational Administration and planning from the University of Jos in plateau State. She then proceeded to the University of Calabar in Cross-River State where she obtained her P.HD in Educational Administration and Planning in December 1990.

She taught as a classroom teacher of English language in Government Secondary School Otukpo and at Government Technical Collage Makurdi respectively. She worked as the Principal of Government Girl's Secondary School Idah in Kogi State, Government Secondary School Wannune in Benue State, and Government Secondary School Garki in F.C.T. And Army Day Secondary School Mogadishu Cantonment Asokoro Abuja Fct. She was a Principal for more than 30 years.

She was an Inspector of many Secondary Schools in Benue State and Federal Capital Territory. She moved from the Ministry for Federal Capital Territory to the office of the Head of Service of the Federation in early 2005 but retired her services from the Federal Service in the later part of 2005 after 26 years in the Civil Service of the Federation, and was appointed an Honorable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in February 2006. She served as the Hon. Minister of State for Education; she was also a Hon. Minister of Inter-Governmental Affairs, Youth Development and Special Duties. She rounded up her Ministerial Services as the Hon. Minister of State for Agriculture and Water Resources in charge of the water sector.

Hon. Dr Mrs Grace Kajo Ogwuche is a recipient of many merit awards, among which are: Distinguished Merit Award from All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS}. Special Award of Women of integrity from Girls Brigade of Nigeria.

Award of excellence by Counseling Association of Nigeria.

Time News 2007 Leadership in Nigeria Merit Award.

A Merit Award from the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA) Benue Chapter.

Distinguished Women Award from Young Women Christian Association of Nigeria.

Role Model Award by National Association of Idoma Students Kaduna Polytechnic..

Award of Special Recognition from National Youth Council of Nigeria River State Chapter.

And Meritorious Service Award by the National Union of Benue state students Bayero University Kano.

Hon. Dr. Mrs. Grace Ogwuche is a very happy Mother of Four, grandmother of one and a widow. She has a widow's organization with over one hundred widows on the roll. She is a foundation member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Abuja Nigeria and a devoted Christian.

September 9, 2010 - Norbert Mao,
Ugandan Presidential Candidate

Norbert Mao


Deseret News:  September 12, 2010 

Written by:  Joseph M. Dougherty

SALT LAKE CITY — When Norbert Mao was 28, he decided to run for the Ugandan Parliament. Some said he was too young, too poor, and didn't have the will to win. He was facing a powerful incumbent. In his first campaign meeting, he spoke of his vision, which his 30-member audience liked, but someone asked if he had the means to win. He believed he had the hearts of the people supporting him, and he also had about 60,000 shillings — about $30.

"The next day I had only 10 people in the meeting," Mao said. But the problem, he added, is that people only believe what they see, instead, they should believe "until they see."

And that's what Mao did, eventually winning that election to serve what he promised in his campaigns, two terms — 10 years — in parliament. That kind of promise is what Mao is bringing to his upcoming campaign to become president of Uganda.

Friday, Mao was in Utah at the request of fellow Ugandan and Utah Valley University recruiter David Ssejinja. Mao called Ssejinja an "unofficial ambassador."

Mao, 43, is the current president of the Ugandan Democratic Party and chairman of Uganda's Gulu district, giving him the interesting nickname of "Chairman Mao." He spoke to university students at UVU and the University of Utah and met with Utah trade leaders and state senators Friday. Thursday, he met with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Mao recognizes his uphill battle against Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who seized power in 1986. But Mao thinks his integrity and track record, and a new wave of Ugandan consciousness, will sound a call to Uganda's young voters. He wants to fight against nepotism and unsanitary conditions while bringing a renaissance to Uganda.

"Uganda has seen too much violence," Mao said. "All our leaders, former leaders, have to run away when there's a change in government."

But he doesn't want that if he wins in February.

"I am hoping President Museveni can go look after his grandchildren," he said.

He called on Utahns to urge elected leaders in Washington to monitor the upcoming elections in Uganda.

He said the army and police have terrorized political parties and have broken up his party's demonstrations by shooting live ammunition. Silence from Washington, Mao says, could be a disaster for his country.

Click here for more information on Mr. Norbert Mao.

September 1-3, 2010 - International Women’s Symposium


University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

Written by:  Chelsey Richardson (801) 863-8504

Women around the world often face similar daily struggles how to care for their families while maintaining their careers and personal lives. On Thursday, Sept. 2, Utah Valley University will host its annual Womens Symposium, this year entitled Womens Perspectives from Around the Globe. Women leaders from Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Brazil, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, and Malaysia will offer their perspectives on the unique challenges that women face in today’s world.

These women are powerful leaders in their own right, said Rusty Butler, associate vice president for International Affairs & Diplomacy at UVU. They are former diplomats, professors, entrepreneurs and business women who put their lives on hold so that their husbands can serve their respective countries in senior diplomatic posts.

The speakers, wives of current and former consuls general and ambassadors to the United States, will explore the challenges, choices and opportunities they face in juggling home, family, careers and diplomatic life.

Susan Madsen, an associate professor of management with UVU's Woodbury School of Business and a noted international women's leadership studies scholar, will join Tcholpon Akmatalieva, wife of former Kyrgyz Ambassador Baktybek Abdrisaev and a university professor, to moderate the symposium. In addition to participating in the panels, the visiting women will meet with Utah community leaders and businessmen.

I am thrilled be involved in this international symposium, said Madsen. We are extremely fortunate to have these influential women on our campus to discuss their own challenges, choices, and opportunities. These women represent countries throughout the world, and I am personally excited to hear their experiences from their own cultural perspectives with integrating work and life.

The symposium will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the UVU Library, room 120. It is co-hosted by the Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy, the Woodbury School of Business and the UVU Student Association.

Click here for a copy of the program.

August 10, 2010 - Gabriela Shalev,
Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations

Ambassador Shalev


Ambassador Gabriela Shalev is Israel’s fourteenth Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She began her tenure on 3 September 2008, marking the first time a woman was appointed to this post.

Previously, Ambassador Shalev served as President of the Academic Council and Rector of Ono Academic College in Israel. Until her early retirement in 2002, she was a full professor of contract law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and has taught contract law and comparative law in universities across the United States, Europe, and Canada. She is a leading expert in Israel in the fields of contract law and procurement contracts. Prof. Shalev has provided legal advice and wrote legal opinions for public institutions, arbitrators, and lawyers, in Israel and around the world. She was the Chief Legal Editor of the Judgments of the Supreme Court of Israel and legal editor of the Hebrew Encyclopedia. She has been awarded numerous awards for academic legal research, including the Sussman Prize for Law (1989), the Zeltner Prize for Law (1991), and the Israel Bar Association prize (2003).

Prof. Shalev has written nine books and over one hundred articles in Hebrew and in English, mostly on contract law. She recently published her latest book Contract Law General Part, Towards Codification of the Civil Law, which is an updated version of her works on contract law in Israel. Prof. Shalev's contract law textbook is the standard textbook used in law schools and law offices throughout Israel.

In addition to her academic achievements, Ambassador Shalev has substantial experience in the public and private sector. Prior to her appointment, she served as chairperson of the audit committees of Bank Hapoalim and the Israel Electric Company, as well as on the boards of Maariv; the Hadassah Medical Organization, Fibi Holdings Co.; Koor Industries; Osem Investments; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.; and Delek Ltd. Group.

Click here for more information on Ambassador Gabriela Shalev.


Ambassador Shalev Lectures at the UVU Alumni House

June 6-8, 2010 - Andrei Dapkiunas,
Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus to the United Nations


Ambassador Dapkiunas is Vice-President of the UN Economic and Social Council, ESOSOC, and President of the Executive Board of the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF. He was director of the Americas Department in the Belarus Foreign Ministry and assistant to the Foreign Minister. He has a doctorate degree in political science from the Belarus State University.

Ambassador Dapkiunas is an unassuming scholar and a gentleman in the best sense of the word, explained Rusty Butler, Associate Vice President for Diplomacy at UVU. We have become good friends over the years and he hopes to reinstitute former friendships with Utah. Butler also explained that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Utah National Guard and the Belarus military were partners under the U.S. Partnership for Peace program. When U.S. funds were later withdrawn, the partnership did not continue.

Click here for more information on Ambassador Andrei Dapkiunas.

Lecture and Staff

The Ambassador Lectures at UVU and a Gathers with UVU VPs and Staff for a Photo

Lt Governor and Franz Kolb

Ambassador with Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell and Franz Kolb at the House of Representatives in the Utah Capitol

May 21, 2010 - Jacob Dayan,
Consul General of Israel, Los Angeles Office

Jacob Dayan


Before assuming his post in Los Angeles, Mr. Dayan was selected to prepare a strategic plan on the feasibility of opening negotiations with Syria. Prior to this he served as Chief of Staff to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom. In this position he had intimate involvement in policy formation, decision-making, and implementation. He was also responsible for Ministerial strategy development related to various diplomatic efforts and coordinated policy initiatives between Ministries. Previously he was the Policy Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, where he was responsible for the Minister's work on US, Asia, East Europe, and Middle East affairs. He managed various projects related to Ministerial activities as well as diplomatic initiatives at the United Nations General Assembly. On Friday, May 21, 2010, the Consul General of Israel from Los Angeles Jacob Dayan met with UVU President Matt Holland and his executive team where they discussed potential educational links with Israel. Consul General Dayan assumed the position of Consul General of Israel in October 2007. In this role, he is the senior representative of the State of Israel in the Southwestern United States.

Mr. Dayan served in the role of Political Counselor at the Embassy of Israel in Washington D.C. where he was responsible for policy coordination with the State Department and the National Security Council. Previous to his service in Washington he held the post of Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Israel in Athens, Greece. And, he served in the Department of Palestinian Affairs in the Foreign Ministry where he participated in Israeli peace delegations and served on several working committees.

Mr. Dayan graduated Magna cum Laude from Tel Aviv University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics and History and has done graduate work in Historical Studies. He served in the Israel Defense Forces in a military intelligence capacity.

Mr. Dayan was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. He speaks English and French fluently. Consul General Dayan is married to Galit, and they have three children.

May 12, 2010 - Bolotbek Sherniyazov,
Kyrgyz Interior Minister

Bolotbek Sherniyazov with Sen. Valentine


The leader of last month's ouster of Kyrgyz President Bakiyev will participate in a roundtable at UVU, Wednesday, May 12, 10:30 a.m. in LA 107. The public is invited. The resulting uprising left nearly 90 people dead. Bakiyev is now wanted on criminal charges for the shooting of his own people.

Mr. Bolotbek Sherniyazov is first vice-chairman of the "Ata-Meken" party and a member of the interim government of Kyrgyzstan as acting Minister of Internal Affairs charged with bringing order back to the country. Kyrgyzstan is home to the strategically critical U.S. Manas Airbase which supplies the war in Afghanistan.

"This is a historic opportunity for UVU and the community to hear first-hand about last month's events in Kyrgyzstan," explained Rusty Butler, associate vice president of International Affairs & Diplomacy at UVU. "This will be Mr. Sherniyazov's only public appearance in the U.S. and demonstrates the school's cutting-edge involvement with Eurasia."

Mr. Shernyazov will share his views on where the country is going and the future of democracy there. The event is hosted by the UVU Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy and the Department of History and Political science.


Mr. Bolotbek Sherniyazov is one of the active members of the opposition forces who fought the regime of deposed President Bakiyev starting from 2006, when he resigned from his position as vice-Speaker of the Kyrgyz Parliament together with then speaker of the Parliament, Omurbek Tekebaev, leader of the "Ata-Meken" party. When "Ata-Meken" party was not allowed to have seats at the Kyrgyz Parliament in 2007 due to the rigging of the Parliamentary elections by the Bakiyev regime, Mr. Sherniyazov dedicated his time and energy to promoting the "Ata-Meken" party cause among the constituency all over the country. On April 6th, 2010 when the first uprising took place in Talas province of Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Sherniyazov was among its organizers. After the interim government came to power, Mr. Sherniyazov became acting Minister of Internal Affairs dealing with the problems of stabilizing the situation in the country by mobilizing law enforcement institutions. Mr. Sherniyazov will share his thoughts on the current situation in Kyrgyzstan, and prospects of restoring the path of political and economic reforms, including democracy-building in Kyrgyzstan and the role of the "Ata-Meken" party in all of those processes.


Written By: Matthew Joseph, UPP Contributor - Published 05/18/10

The April 6th and 7th uprising and subsequent ousting of the former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has led many in the Western United States, Utah in particular, to wonder just what direction this new interim government will go, and if this is the beginning of a vicious cycle of revolutions. Why specifically in Utah? Several institutions here, including Utah Valley University, (commonly abbreviated as UVU) have been establishing ties with Kyrgyzstan over the past 5 years.

The interim government, led by Roza Otunbayeva, former Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to the U.S., has taken control of the nation ever since President Bakiyev fled the country. One of the interim government's senior officials, acting Minister of Internal Affairs, Bolot Sherniazov, recently came to Utah and gave a presentation at Utah Valley University.

Two years ago, several representatives of the "Ata-Meken" party ("The Mother land," translated from Kyrgyz), led by its Chairman Omurbek Tekebaev paid a visit to the US, mainly to Washington D.C. and Utah. Mr. Sherniyazov, who as a first deputy Chairman of the party was among the group, mentioned how the abundant hospitality their group found in Utah was very heartwarming and touching. During that visit, they met with many key figures in the State Senate, Administration, and UVU, and built ties of cooperation and understanding between the two mountainous regions of Kyrgyzstan and Utah. This may be the very reason why acting Minister Sherniazov came not to Washington D.C., but to Utah, seeking help and support for his nation. He stated that it is "because you are people of the mountains, just like us, and we have a lot in common, including the same mountainous mentality." Utah Senate President John Valentine (2005-2008) is among the people from Utah who have rigorously pushed and focused on building ties with the different states of Central Asia.

During the meeting with students and faculty of UVU, acting Minister Sherniazov recalled events in 2007, when their party won the parliamentary elections nationwide. Former President Bakiyev did not allow them to take their seats in parliament and replaced them with members of his own party, gaining the majority. This enraged the local population in many parts of Kyrgyzstan, as this was a direct breach of the constitution.

After the upheaval, Mr. Sherniyazov said that Mr. Omurbek Tekebaev, now deputy head of the government interim, became responsible for developing a new draft of the Constitution, aiming to change the political system in the nation to a Parliamentary system and to prevent the recurrence of a despotic ruler.

The guest of UVU continued to state that the people of Kyrgyzstan will conduct a referendum during the summer in order to approve a new draft of the Constitution, and that they are determined to have fair and transparent elections both to the Parliament and Presidency. Kyrgyz people tried to do that during more than 20 years, which has already resulted in deposing three rulers, when neighbors of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia are still ruled by the only same persons. Mr. Sherniyazov said they will do whatever it takes to make sure that elections will be done according to the best practices existing worldwide. His main appeal for help directed towards the audience was for American oversight and monitoring experts to be sent to the elections in October 2010 to help ensure a fair election.

He informed the audience of his mission to deliver copies of a letter from the deputy head of the interim government, Omurbek Tekebaev, to a number of people in Utah and the Rocky Mountains states with an invitation to help draft the new Constitution, and monitor elections this coming October.

During the meeting between Sherniazov and Utah State Senator John Valentine, the Utah host was curious as to what events led up to the overthrow and deposition of former President Bakiyev, and what role acting Minister Sherniazov played in that process. Minister Sherniazov recalled that everything started when the opposition to the Bakiyev regime decided to organize meetings all over the nation (Kurultays) on April 7th, 2010 with protests against the worsening standard of living because of widespread corruption and nepotism. Authorities created obstacles for them, and in a remote province of Kyrgyzstan, named Talas, everything started when he was arrested before the meeting on April 6th by law enforcement, brought back to Bishkek, and imprisoned in a former KGB prison cell with other opposition leaders. However, demonstrators in Bishkek, angered by the incarceration of their leaders, stormed the KGB prison and released them. Then they stormed the governmental house, which caused the deaths of 86 people and left hundreds wounded when Bakiyev authorized the use of lethal force on the rioters. After Bakiyev's escape to the south of the nation, the interim government was created and Mr. Sherniyazov became acting Minister of Internal affairs.

When asked by one of the students why he decided to occupy his current position as acting Minister of internal affairs, Bolotbek Sherniyazov further emphasized the priority for the new interim government to make sure that law enforcement institutions will not be involved further in politics, and will serve the interests of the people of Kyrgyzstan, not the interests of the ruling elite.

Mr. Sherniyazov also met with Professor Cole Durham of BYU, who is one of the leading scholars on Constitutionalism in the U.S., as well as an advisor to OSCE on that matter. Professor Durham has helped to prepare drafts of Constitutions for a number of nations worldwide, including Iraq. Dr. Durham kindly agreed to be involved in the activities of the Constitutional commission, which is now preparing a draft of the Constitution for the referendum in the summer, and will monitor elections as well.

Senator John Valentine is also very eager to continue relations with Kyrgyzstan and strengthen already established ties with Kyrgyz legislators. He plans to visit Central Asia with a group of other Utah legislators in the fall and to be presented during the elections in Kyrgyzstan as a part of the group of monitors from Utah.

April 26, 2010 - Delegation from Tikrit University, Iraq

Group Photos

Group Photos

Tikrit University, which is located about 100 miles north of Baghdad, instructs more than 12,000 students 10 percent of which are women. It has 16 different schools and has about 1,000 graduates each year. The university also employs about 1,600 Iraqi citizens as professors, administrators and maintenance workers.

Iraq has launched a five-year, $1 billion higher education plan to boost the nation's science and technology workforce while promoting knowledge-based sustainable development. The plan will be implemented in two phases: the first with a scholarship initiative to send up to 10,000 Iraqi students abroad each year over the next five years. To ensure students from across Iraq have fair access to the scholarships, the numbers allocated will be proportional to the population in each of the 18 provinces.

The delegation’s visit to UVU is supported by the U.S. Department of State.


Dr. Talab Sabbar Mahal, Director of Center for Historical and Civilization Studies

Dr. Muayad Hameedi Jasim, Director of the Central Library

Dr. Abdulazeez Mohsin Salman, Director of the Cultural Relations Department

Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Salih, Linguistic Studies

Dr. Talab Sabbar Mahal, Director of Center for Historical and Civilization Studies

Dr. Muayad Hameedi Jasim, Director of the Central Library

Dr. Abdulazeez Mohsin Salman, Director of the Cultural Relations Department

Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Salih, Linguistic Studies

April 12-14, 2010 - Martin Palous,
Czech Ambassador to the United Nations

Martin Palous


The symposium addressed the question whether God, religion, or natural foundations are necessary for human rights to make sense, and whether human beings can assert their dignity apart from such foundations.

Symposium co-organizer Ralph Hancock, professor of Political Science at BYU and president of The John Adams Center for the Study of Faith, Philosophy and Public Affairs said: “This symposium will address compelling contemporary issues in a way that combines philosophical depth with openness to religious concerns. It will also bring together practitioners and scholars, international figures and local talent, and both the BYU and UVU educational communities. This will be a landmark event for higher education and ethical reflection in Utah Valley."

According to co-organizer Michael Minch, director of Peace and Justice Studies at UVU and chair of the Philosophy and Humanities Department: “The symposium is noteworthy not only because of the stellar guests, and the important questions being explored; but perhaps especially because of the opportunity to have someone here, Ambassador Palous, who was a part of that courageous group of people, who with Vaclav Havel, for example, worked from the inside out to defeat totalitarianism by building democratic and human civil society.”

The symposium was sponsored by Peace and Justice Studies, Religious Studies, and Honors programs, and the Office of International Diplomacy at UVU, and; the Political Science Department, the Kennedy Center, the Evans Chair of Religious Understanding, the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, the College of Humanities and the Department of Political Science at BYU, and the John Adams Center, an independent educational foundation.


Ambassador Palous Lectures at UVU

Distinguished speakers and participants included:

Dr. David Walsh, professor of Politics at the Catholic University of America, and author of several books, including “The Growth of the Liberal Soul, The End of Ideology: Recovering the Spiritual Foundations of Freedom, and The Modern Philosophical Revolution: The Luminosity of Existence;

Martin Palous, Czech Ambassador to the United nations, and a signer of Charter 77 and activist for democratic reforms in what was then Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia;

Matthew S. Holland, President of Utah Valley University;

Scott Yenor of Boise State University;

Ivan Kenneally of the Rochester Institute of Technology; and

Bruce Landesman of the University of Utah.

April 9, 2010 - Francisco Villagrán de León,
Ambassador of Guatemala to the US

 Francisco Villagrán


Francisco Villagrán de León is a career diplomat with more than 25 years in the Guatemalan foreign service. He has served as vice minister of foreign affairs and as ambassador to the United Nations, the Organization of American States, Canada, Germany and Norway. In addition to his diplomatic posts, he has held fellowships at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C., and has served as a senior fellow and member of the board of the Center for the Defense of the Constitution in Guatemala City.

As vice minister of foreign affairs, Ambassador Villagrán took part in the Contadora negotiations, which sought a peaceful resolution to the Central American conflicts of the 1980s. During his first tour as ambassador to the OAS (1987-88), he was a leading advocate of direct OAS involvement in democratic development, introducing resolutions and concepts for discussion in the Permanent Council to help bring the issue to the fore and lay the groundwork for such a role.

As ambassador to the United Nations (1988-91), he negotiated the normalization of diplomatic relations between Guatemala and Russia, and established diplomatic relations with Eastern European and Caribbean countries. In 1992, he held a fellowship at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where he analyzed the future of the Inter-American System and the OAS’s new role in the areas of democratization and regional security.

As ambassador to Canada (1994-98), he negotiated the reestablishment of government-to-government development cooperation, helped to expand Canadian trade and investment in Guatemala, and spearheaded the negotiation of bilateral investment protection and air transportation agreements. As ambassador to Norway and Denmark (1998-2000), he secured increased bilateral development cooperation to support the implementation of the Guatemalan peace accords.

In 2001, he took a fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy, where he analyzed the benefits of trade agreements on institutional development in transitional democracies. In 2004, he was appointed to a second term at the OAS, where he was elected chairman of the Juridical and Political Affairs Committee and chairman of the Budget Committee. He successfully negotiated an increase in the OAS’s budget and other agreements to improve the financial and administrative status of the organization.

In March 2008, he was named Guatemalan ambassador to the United States by the newly elected government of Álvaro Colom.

Ambassador Villagrán holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and an undergraduate degree in law and social sciences from the Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala City. He is married to Donna Eberwine-Villagrán and has a daughter, Anna Beatriz, 13.

 Villagrán with Students and Faculty

Ambassador Villagrán with Students and Faculty

March 19-27, 2010 - Open World Ukrainian Delegation



Daily Herald Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Written by:Reva Bowen

A delegation from Ukraine was among the throngs attending caucus meetings Tuesday night in Orem, and by all accounts, the visitors were impressed with what they saw as they viewed the grass-roots political activity.

"The caucus meeting surprised them," said Utah Valley University's Rusty Butler, associate vice president of international affairs and diplomacy, who has been one of the hosts accompanying the group during their eight-day visit to Utah that began on March 19. "That kind of political activity is just unheard of in their culture. It is uniquely ours, and they were fascinated by it."

The six-member Ukrainian delegation spent about one hour at the Republican caucus for Precinct No. 20, conducted by chairman Kraig Fairhurst, before excusing themselves and leaving early from the meeting at Bonneville Elementary. Forty-five registered, credentialed precinct members attended -- filling the classroom meeting site to capacity -- and voted from among their own to fill the slots of precinct chair, vice chair, secretary/treasurer, and state and county delegates.

"After we left, the caucus meeting was all the delegation wanted to talk about -- the interaction on that intimate, neighborhood level," Butler said. "Some were making the leap between that and the federal level. We discussed how these delegates can take their support -- especially state delegates -- and throw it behind congressmen and senators. They wanted to know if the caucus meetings had to do with President Obama. Perhaps little directly, with Congress most impacted by the caucuses."

The delegation's visit was arranged through the Open World Program -- an initiative of the U.S. Congress, designed to build mutual understanding between the United States and Eurasia, and to give emerging political and civic leaders the opportunity to work with U.S. counterparts and experience American democracy at the local level, according to a UVU news release.

"It's said that the world is run by people who show up," said Orem City Councilwoman Karen McCandless, who helped arrange the Ukrainians' visit to her home precinct, "and I can't think of a better example of that than the caucuses."

Biographical information on the six Ukrainians -- two women and four men -- reveals quite a range of professional experience -- from that of a community council member affiliated with volunteer work, to a deputy head of a state architectural and construction inspectorate.

During the Utah trip, the group has been meeting with local, state and federal government officials, as well as UVU faculty members and students. Butler said the university has been the "staging grounds" for the delegation, whose members have stayed with university-affiliated families.

Butler said that although the delegation has a State Department-certified translator accompanying them, UVU students who have acquired language skills from being in the country as missionaries or in other capacities have had the opportunity to serve as informal translators, and they have answered many questions from the guests about student life.

During their stay, the Ukrainians have met with Provo officials to discuss energy, public works and neighborhood programs, Butler said, and spent a day in Salt Lake City.

Just before Tuesday's caucuses, the Ukrainian group attended meetings with Mayor Jerry Washburn and the Orem City Council. During the meeting, Orem City Manager Jim Reams gave a presentation, explaining for the group some of the differences between the city governments of Orem and Provo, and going into some detail regarding the process of citizen input at public hearings and City Council meetings.

After eating with Orem officials, the delegation attended an abbreviated City Council meeting that was shortened by the postponement of a public hearing that would have dealt with the disbursement of federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

Butler said the guests' experience at the caucus was so powerful that it could well be the highlight of the entire visit.

"This has been a very delightful group," he said. "One of the highlights for me was to see their reaction at the caucus. I have been involved with caucus meetings for many, many years, and I'm afraid we may begin to take them for granted. ... To personally see their amazement and interest was extremely moving to me.


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

Written by: Chelsey Richardson (801) 863-8504

The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress designed to build mutual understanding between the United States and Eurasia and to enable emerging political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at a local level. Thanks to a grant from the Open World Leadership Center, Utah Valley University’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy is proud to take part by hosting six professionals from Ukraine, who will spend March 19-27 studying accountable governance practices in Utah.

While in Utah, delegates will meet with the local, state and federal government officials as well as UVU faculty to discuss budgeting and transparency of governmental spending; land-use planning, community and infrastructure development; political involvement; economic development; energy efficiency; citizens’ involvement in decision-making process; cultural and historical preservation, and other issues related to the democratic process and local development. In addition, home stays with local residents will allow the delegates to experience Utah family life.

“We involve UVU students and faculty with our guests in numerous activities,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president of international affairs and diplomacy. “Ukraine is of special interest among many in our school and the local community. This is a wonderful opportunity to engage with leaders from an important European friend.”

More than 12,000 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states since the program’s inception in 1999. Delegates range from members of parliament to mayors, from innovative nonprofit directors to experienced journalists, and from political party activists to regional administrators.

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

With Host Families

The Ukrainian Delegation with their Utah Host Families

May 11 - 19, 2010 - Open World Turkmen Delegation

Delegation in a Meeting


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

Written by:  Chelsey Richardson (801) 863-8504

The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress designed to build mutual understanding between the United States and Eurasia and to enable emerging political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at a local level. Thanks to a grant from the Open World Leadership Center, Utah Valley University’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy is proud to take part by hosting three professionals from Turkmenistan, who will spend Feb. 26- March 6 examining the region’s tourism industry, with an emphasis on eco-tourism.

"Utah is a prime location to learn about conservationism, sustainable development and the promotion of environmentally responsible tourism," said Maryna Storrs, UVU international affairs program coordinator. "The delegates will also benefit from the commonalities that exist in Utah-Turkmenistan climate and terrain. Our office welcomes the opportunity to facilitate learning and networking activities for this foreign delegation as well as involving the greater community in UVU projects."

The delegates are Tatyana Komarova, Turkmenistan travel assistant and U.S. Ambassador in Ashgabat; Abdyrahman Mammetniyazov, head of the foreign relations, marketing and advertisement department for the National Committee on Tourism and Sport; and Arazgeldi Amanov, deputy director for the state tourist agency. During their stay, they will meet with Sundance’s Green Team, visit Arches National Park and UVU’s Capitol Reef Station, and hold a workshop at the State Tourism Office and University of Utah’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Delegates will also meet with the local, state and federal government officials, including Senator Bennett and Congressman Chaffetz. In addition, homestays with local residents will allow the delegates to experience Utah family life.

More than 12,000 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states since the program’s inception in 1999. Delegates range from members of parliament to mayors, from innovative nonprofit directors to experienced journalists, and from political party activists to regional administrators.

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

Capital Reef and Arches

The Delegation at Capital Reef and Arches National Parks

Capital Reef and Arches

The Turkmen Delegation with Sundance Ski Resort Officials at the UVU Capitol Reef Field Station

February 11, 2010 - Wenwa Akinyi Odinga Oranga,
Consul General of the Republic of Kenya

Wenwa Akinyi Odinga Oranga


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

Written by:  Chelsey Richardson (801) 863-8504

Utah Valley University is proud to welcome Her Excellency Ambassador Wenwa Akinyi Odinga Oranga, Consul General for the Republic of Kenya in Los Angeles, on Thursday, Feb. 11. Oranga will give an address entitled “Kenya: Your Tourism and Investment Destination.”

“It is a great, unique opportunity for UVU students to have a chance to interact with a practitioner of international politics,” said Geoffrey Cockerham, UVU assistant professor of history and political science. “It’s also a great opportunity to learn more about Kenya as well as gain exposure to African politics and culture, which we sadly don’t really hear enough about in the media.”

Oranga holds a Ph.D. and teaches chemistry at the University of Nairobi. She is the director of Pan African Petroleum and a technical committee member of the Nyanza Education Initiative, while she also stands as a trustee of the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation and the treasurer of the Nyanza Professional Caucus. Oranga is also a board member and patron of several schools in Kenya and is secretary of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, a national women’s empowerment organization.

The lecture will be held at 10 a.m. in the Liberal Arts Building, room 110. It is free and open to the public. (Seating is limited.)

Click here for more information on Kenya Consul General.

Lecture, LDS Leaders and Humanitarian Center

Consul General Oranga Lectures at UVU, Meets Elder Nelson of the LDS Church and Visits the LDS Humanitarian Center

Jan 14-15, 2010 - Alexey Semyonov,
Director of the Sakharov Foundation

Alexey Semyonov


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

Written by:  Maryna Storrs (801) 863-8897

Alexey Semyonov, vice president and director of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, and his wife Elizabeth will lecture on defense of human rights at Utah Valley University Jan. 14-15 as part of the University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration event. The Sakharov Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and memory of Nobel Peace Prize-winner Andrei Sakharov, the promotion of his ideas and the defense of human rights.

“The visit of the Semyonovs is a recognition from the famous Sakharov Foundation of the maturity of UVU,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president for international affairs and diplomacy. “It will strengthen UVU ties with prominent, globally-known institutions in the promotion of human rights and democracy-building, and bring concrete benefits for the faculty and students of UVU for their professional and educational growth.”

In addition to the lecture, Mr. Semyonov will moderate a session with renowned human- and civil-rights activist Elena Bonner, chair of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation and widow of Andrei Sakharov; Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy; and Bob Arsenault, president of the International League for Human Rights. They will discuss the role of King in the global human-rights movement. Semyonov also plans to comment during the screening of the documentary “In the Shadow of Sakharov” as part of the MLK commemoration.

On Thursday, Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. Semyonov will speak to the students on the “New dynamic in international relations between the United States and the CIS” (Liberal Arts Building, room 110). On Friday, Jan. 15 at 3 p.m. Mrs. Semyonov will meet at a roundtable with the students and faculty of UVU (Liberal Arts Building, room 118).

UVU has many ties with the Sakharov Foundation. Chair Elena Bonner was the honorary co-chair of the international conference “Women of the Mountains” hosted by UVU in March 2007 with support from the United Nations and the World Bank. Twenty-two nations sent 110 women leaders to that conference. Additionally, the Foundation will co-sponsor a new conference, “Women of the Mountains-2,” with UVU.

The Sakharov Foundation will host a UVU intern in its Moscow, Russia office this summer. UVU student Joseph Matthew will leave in May for Moscow and other students may work with the Sakharov archives at Harvard University.

Lecture and Award

Director Semyonov Lectures at UVU and Receives an Award from Associate VP Rusty Butler

January 11, 2010 - Wolfgang Drautz,
Consul General of Germany

 Wolfgang Drautz


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

Written by:  Alex Strickland (801) 863-6351

German Consul General in Los Angeles Wolfgang Drautz will visit Utah Valley University next week to give a presentation examining the relations between two of the world’s largest economies in the fact of changing leadership. Drautz will present “German-US Relations in their Different Aspects Under Two (Relatively) New Administrations on Both Sides of the Atlantic” from 3 to 4 p.m. in room 120 of the UVU Library on Monday, Jan. 11.

UVU German professor Jeff Packer stressed that even with the emerging power of the European Union, powerhouse nations such as Germany remain important strategic allies for the United States.

“Germany is the economic engine of the European Union,” he said. “Europe is still our most important partner politically and culturally.”

In fact, Germany trails only the US, Japan and China in measurements of Gross Domestic Product and leads other EU nations by significant amounts. In light of the current economic instability, the strength of those economies has been entrusted to two of the world’s most recognizable leaders, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.

Drautz’ presentation will focus on the year-old Obama administration here and the coalition led by German Chancellor Merkel, who has been called the most powerful woman in the world and just last week graced the cover of Time Magazine’s European edition, which crowed that Merkel is “Frau Europa.” Merkel enjoys great popularity in her country, potentially due in part to her relatively light touch on policy.

Merkel presides over a nation that is not only an economic force, but also leads much of the world in the emerging field of so-called “green” technology, something that Packer suggests will be increasingly important to America in the coming years.

“The environmental relationships are very important because climate change is moving this country toward renewable resources and Germany is way ahead both politically and technologically” Packer said. “Students who want to have some way to relate with Germany are giving themselves an advantage.”

Drautz will be accompanied by Honorary Consul of Germany in Utah Charles Dahlquist of the Kirton & McConkie law firm in Salt Lake City. Dahlquist is also a member of the UVU’s National Presidential Advisory Board. Drautz’ presentation is free and open to the public

 Wolfgang Drautz


UVU Review

For students preparing to enter the professional work force, working abroad is an avenue that is often overlooked.

Those who speak a foreign language, have an interest in international business or finance and enjoy a challenge, may possibly consider job searching outside of the United States. What may have seemed a daunting task 10 or 15 years ago is now achievable in light of the global economy and interdependency of nations which exists in the world today.

On Jan. 11, UVU had the opportunity to host Wolfgang Drautz, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Los Angeles. Drautz highlighted many international statistics on current global finances and the shifting face of global production, consumption and employment. The G6, G7, and G8 of the past are slowly being replaced by the G20 of the future which will ideally lead to more standardized roles in finance and business.

Drautz points out that along with the change in economic players comes the opportunity for employment with multinational companies, or with a smaller company in a particular foreign country. One might easily contact a company of choice, express a desire to work abroad and begin the process of applying for clearance to labor in the selected country.

“Germany is just one place in need of a fresh influx of the younger population,”said Drautz. “ Language fluency is important when considering working abroad. The ability to interact and communicate while conducting business is an essential part of success in the workplace.” Drautz stresses the need to “stand together,” though we come from different countries and cultures. In this effort, our global economy might continue to thrive.

Drautz hopes that our ever-growing global economy will give way to needed standardized processes in production, education and safety. Global standards in these areas would enable employees to be more accessible to employers at an international level while allowing students to study at a globally standardized level.

Drautz’s main focus is the benefit of cooperation. “If we do not work together, nothing will be solved,” said Drautz. “If we work together, we can accomplish a lot.”