2011 Events

December 7, 2011 - International Mountain Day

International Mountain Day Events


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

Written by:  Jim Rayburn (801) 863-8504

The Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of Utah Valley University student clubs, is presenting a Dec. 9 conference on the ecological importance of the sustainable development of mountains, in conjunction with the annual United Nations International Mountain Day.

In 2003, the U.N. General Assembly designated Dec. 11 of each year as International Mountain Day, an initiative which aims to develop partnerships that will bring positive change to the world’s mountains. The initiative also encourages local communities and organizations to bring awareness to the importance of mountain forests in the ecological health of the world. The theme for International Mountain Day 2011 is “Mountains and Forests.”

The Dec. 9 conference, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Orem City Library, 58 N. State Street, will feature presentations on the importance of economically and environmentally sustainable mountain development from Rusty Butler, associate vice president of UVU’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy, and representatives from Provo City and Orem City who are also members of Mountain Partnership — a United Nations global alliance that promotes sustainable ways of mountain life through joint efforts.

The UIMF will also hold a roundtable discussion on a number of initiatives accomplished by students and faculty at UVU during 2011 that strengthened their regional role in promoting Mountain Partnership’s agenda and helped build ties for UVU with other mountain regions of the world.

“This conference focuses both on UVU’s participation in the Mountain Partnership and the initiatives we’ve been pushing,” said UVU student John McClure, a founder of the Utah International Mountain Forum. “UVU students have been the frontrunners in supporting the Mountain Partnership in the United States and would like next year to accomplish a number of new initiatives that give students an opportunity to grow professionally and raise the image of UVU internationally.”

The conference will also feature a cultural performance and a fashion show by international students at UVU. The gathering is also co-presented by UVU’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy, History & Political Science Department and Languages Department.

For more information about UVU's celebration of International Mountain Day please visit http://utahimf.org

Also, for more information about other celebrations of the event please visit http://www.fao.org/mnts/en/

More information on Mountain Partnership is available online at http://www.mountainpartnership.org/

Cultural Presentations

Cultural Presentations


Conference Speakers

December 2, 2011 - Operation Enduring Freedom Conference

Servants In Uniform

Servants in Military Uniform


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

Written by:  Marshall Sanders

The Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of four international relations student organizations at Utah Valley University, is presenting the Dec. 2 international conference “Operation Enduring Freedom: History and Current Status of U.S. Involvement in the War in Afghanistan” to provide perspectives on the war in Afghanistan at 10:30 a.m. in the UVU Library, room 120.

The conference will consist of a series of panels and round table discussions that touch on a variety of topics surrounding the war ranging from regional strategy and involvement to its effect on an international scale from the perspective of the U.S. State Department, foreign diplomats, UVU faculty and current university students that are also military veterans of the conflict.

Guest participants include Murad Askarov, the ambassador of Uzbekistan to the U.S.; Ahmad Zahir Faqiri, the chief deputy of missions in Afghanistan to the U.N.; and Gordon Stirling, a former senior U.S. foreign service officer. Baktybek Abdrisaev, former ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to the U.S. and a UVU history and political science faculty member, John Macfarlane, UVU academic adviser in history and political science and Rusty Butler, associate vice president of UVU’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy will also make presentations. “This high level event is centered around a greater understanding for the war in Afghanistan,” said UVU student John McClure, co-chair of UIMF, co-president of UVU foreign affairs club and co-president of the Russian Club, who organized the event along with fellow student and UIMF co-chair Chris Heaton. “Ultimately, this will provide a greater understanding for students, faculty and for the community on why the war started, what is currently happening and what can be expected in the future.”

Student veterans of the U.S. military will participate in a separate 2 p.m. round table discussion on their perspectives on their service and time in Afghanistan.

“This is a compelling opportunity for students and community members to come and learn about this war from multiple different perspectives,” McClure said. “It is not going to be a one-sided event; we are trying to tell this story from at least three different points of view. The goal is to hit this from so many different perspectives that those who participate will have no choice but to walk away with a better understanding of the war.”

President Holland

President Holland Speaks


Distinguished Speakers Group Photo

November 22, 2011 – New University Agreement with the Higher School of Economics, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

Higher School of Economics

Frederick White, associate dean of UVU's College of Humanities & Social Sciences, and Oleg Kozyrev, director of the Higher School of Economics


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

Written by:  Cheryl Kamenski (801) 863-6351

A newly-formed agreement between Utah Valley University and the Higher School of Economics, located in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, will allow for collaborative activities between the two universities beginning this summer.

UVU’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences signed a memorandum of understanding with the Russian university on Tuesday, Nov. 22, to build a relationship that promotes cultural and educational exchange and understanding.

“This is a first step toward having a robust and dynamic relationship with Russia for our students and faculty,” said Frederick H. White, associate dean of UVU’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences. “Our goal in working with the Higher School of Economics is to expand our activities beyond language instruction in order to offer an international experience from which the entire college can benefit.”

This effort begins in June when UVU will send a group of professors for a faculty development seminar to create new and innovative courses on Russia’s post-Soviet transformation. The following summer, UVU will offer a study abroad program at the Russian university so students can explore the material in an international setting.

“Once this hub is established, we plan to offer courses that will benefit students in history, political science, peace and justice, English and many more areas. To fully internationalize our curriculum, the College of Humanities & Social Sciences is integrating global perspectives into all of our courses,” White said.

Some of the proposed options include lectures offered over Skype to enable team-taught courses, new course and program development that takes advantage of the strengths of both universities, study abroad and research opportunities.

The Higher School of Economics, established nearly 20 years ago in Moscow to promote economic and social reforms in Russia through education, is a multi-discipline center of study and research, which has developed effective partnership relations with prestigious foreign universities, international programs and organizations, research consortia, foreign companies and transnational corporations.

The university is headquartered in Moscow and has locations throughout Russia. UVU’s agreement is with the school located in Nizhny Novgorod, which is the fifth-largest city in Russia and is the economic and cultural center of the vast Volga-Vyatka region.

November 21, 2011 - Video Conference:
The Collapse of the Soviet Union

Event Schedule

Conference Event Schedule and Dr. Butler, AVP International Affairs and Diplomacy.

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

Written by:  Baktybek Abdrisaev (801) 863-8351

The Utah International Mountain Forum along with Utah Valley University’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy and the Department of History & Political Science will host a three-session video-conference on Nov. 21 on the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union. It will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the UVU Library, room 120.

The event will consist of three roundtable discussions broadcast through Skype including “Views from Russia” with representatives from the Nizhny Novgorod branch of the Higher School of Economics in Russia and local nongovernmental organizations; “Views from Washington, D.C.” with Jack Matlock, a former U.S. ambassador to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), William Miller, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and Alexey Semyonov, president of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation and other distinguished guests; and “Views from a New Generation of Leaders” that will include student leaders from the Moscow Higher School of Economics, Stanford University and UVU.

“This gathering gives quite a unique chance for students and faculty of UVU to learn more about the events which led to the creation of a new global order free from oppression and totalitarian thought 20 years ago. It is also an opportunity for them to take part in organizing and hosting a conference through a coalition of UVU student clubs and the Utah International Mountain Forum,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president for International Affairs & Diplomacy at UVU. “We are also grateful to contributions by the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, which has been partnering with UVU for more than 7 years.”


Conference Organizers

Ambassadors on Skpe

Former Ambassadors Jack Matlock and William Hill via Skype

November 15, 2011 - Sergey Kislyak,
Ambassador of Russia to the US

Ambassador with Governor


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

Written by:  Faith Heaton, (435) 691-3263

Sergey I. Kislyak, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States, will be speaking at UVU on Tuesday, Nov. 15, about Russian relations with America. The lecture will take place at 4 p.m. in the UVU Library, room 120, and is free and open to students, faculty and the public.

“Rarely do universities have a diplomat of Russian Ambassador Kislyak’s stature lecture to students,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president of UVU’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy. “We are deeply honored that on his way through Utah the ambassador has agreed to meet with our university community and engage us on critical U.S.-Russia issues.”

Kislyak graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in 1973 and from the United Soviet Socialist Republic Academy of Foreign Trade in 1977. He has served as an employee of the foreign ministry of the Russian Federation Trade since that time.

Kislyak has a long history of representing Russia in international diplomatic work, including becoming the permanent representative of Russia to NATO in Brussels, Belgium, in 2003. He has also served as Russia’s deputy minister of foreign affairs for the past five years.

Click here for more information on Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Ambassador Speaks

Ambassador Kislyak Speaks at UVU



Written by:  Sierra Wilson

Not many years ago, just mentioning Russia or the USSR was enough to cause chills and goose bumps. Fears of communist spies, nuclear war and the death of democracy weren’t uncommon. Today, though some of the old fears may linger, U.S. relations with Russia have warmed up quite a few degrees. As evidence of improved US-Russian relations, His Excellency Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Russian Ambassador to the United States, spoke at UVU Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. about hopes for continually improving cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in a number of spheres.

Kislyak began his visit with a short speech and then opened the floor for a Q-and- A session, saying he found Q-and-A sessions to be more interesting for both audiences and speakers. One major topic of conversation was economics. Kislyak stated that Russia now has a market economy. Later, he also noted that privatization in Russia is on the rise. In regards to the U.S., he explained that though U.S.-Russian trade amounts to billions of dollars, it is still very low. In fact, trade with Russia represents slightly less than 1 percent of the U.S.’s foreign trade, according to Kislyak. Nevertheless, Kislyak noted that trade between the U.S. and Russia is growing. He also said while Russia is rich in oil and natural gas, the country is looking to diversify its economy. The Russian government is “determined to make Russia more competitive,” Kislyak said.

One part of Russia’s plan for growth is joining the World Trade Organization. Russia has been attempting to join the WTO for approximately 18 years, according to Kislyak, and expects to finally be admitted this December. Kislyak stated that this should “significantly” increase U.S. - Russian cooperation and open the door for mutually beneficial opportunities. One example of U.S.- Russian economic interaction Kislyak mentioned may surprise readers. The most popular car brand in Russia is Ford.

“We (the U.S. and Russia) cooperate more than we disagree,” Kislyak said. However, Kislyak mentioned that Russia does not view a U.S. missile system in Central Europe as “benign,” a U.S. defense plan that has generated much international debate. Other points Kislyak touched on included a general desire for “normalcy” along with “stability and predictability” in U.S.-Russian relations. He also told the audience that Russia has freely allowed use of Russian land for the movement of U.S. troops in the current war in Afghanistan.

During the Q-and-A session, a student in the audience brought up U.S.-Russian space program cooperation. She recalled seeing Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, cross the sky. Kislyak stated that Russia and the U.S. are still cooperating in space endeavors. In fact, a Russian spacecraft carrying an American astronaut was launched only a few days ago. Kislyak said that the cooperation in the space field is “exemplary” and should be a model of cooperation to be applied in other areas. At one point, the conversation got heated. A student in the audience asked Kislyak if Russia would join the U.S. in a military effort against Iran in the event that Iran obtains nuclear weapons. Kislyak replied that starting another war on shaky facts would be “ultimate stupidity.” He does not believe Iran has nuclear weapons or plans to attack and is not convinced of a major threat. When student persisted, Kislyak asked, “So, you want to start a war?” The young man continued to argue that Iran is a serious threat and eventually a moderator stepped in to move the Q-and-A session forward to other questions.

Later topics in the Q-and- A included a discussion of relations with Georgia and Chechnya. In regards to conflicts in Chechnya, Kislyak stated that “organized terrorist groups [there] have been exterminated.” Still, he expects that terrorism is not completely eradicated in that region. Kislyak said that Russia has empathy for the U.S. regarding terrorism because Russians, too, have dealt with it. He noted that former Russian President Putin was the first to call President Bush after the 9/11 attacks.

“He’s a typical politician,” said Lisa Kharchenko, a student who hails from Russia attending the event. She said he was able to say a lot without saying a lot. She explained that she saw him as skilled, especially as he was speaking English for the event. She said he was able to side-step controversial questions without being “rude or aggressive.”

Other students in attendance, such as Cameron Asbury and the co-presidents of the UVU Russian Club, were pleased with the event. “[The event was] an unprecedented opportunity for students to engage with such a prominent member of the global community,” said John McClure, UVU Russian Club co-president.

November 14, 2011 - Dr. Asylbek Aidaraliev, President of the International University of Kyrgyzstan

November 9, 2011 - Rosa Elena Bonilla de Lobo,
The First Lady of Honduras

First Lady


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

Written by:  Cheryl Kamenski (801) 863-6351

The first lady of Honduras, Rosa Elena Bonilla de Lobo, will be at Utah Valley University on Wednesday, Nov. 9, to talk about “Honduras in the Eye of the Storm: International Problems Come Home.”

Her lecture, hosted by UVU’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy and UVU’s Center for the Study of Ethics, will take place at 11 a.m. in the UVU Library auditorium, room 120. It is free and open to students, faculty and the public.

“We are deeply honored to welcome the first lady of Honduras to UVU,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president of UVU’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy. “This is a unique opportunity for our students and faculty to engage with an important figure from Central America.”

Since Bonilla de Lobo took over as first lady, she has introduced innovative projects to help Honduran families such as leading mobile medical teams to villages and providing backpacks of supplies to parents of infants and shoes to children.

She is involved in programs aimed at improving the nutrition of families in the country’s most remote regions, increasing dental supplies and care for children and reducing infant mortality by boosting healthcare.

Honduras, a mountainous country slightly larger than Tennessee, is one of the poorest countries in Central America with approximately 65 percent of its 8.1 million people living in poverty.

The first lady’s husband, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa, was sworn in as president of Honduras in January 2010, bringing an end to a political crisis that deepened after a coup against the existing government.

Click here for more information on Ms. Rosa Elena Bonilla de Lobo.


Enjoying Lunch with the First Lady


Associate VP Rusty Butler Gives the First Lady an Honorary Award

First Presidency

The First Lady and President Monson and President Eyring from the LDS Church


View of UVU

October 27, 2011 - Zahir Tanin,
Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Ambassador Zahir Tanin


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

Written by:  Caleb Price (425) 314-3788

Zahir Tanin, the permanent representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations, will speak at Utah Valley University on Oct. 27 at 2:30 p.m. in the Sorensen Student Center, room 206 b/c. Tanin’s address will center around changes in U.S.-Afghan relations.

“We are honored to have Ambassador Tanin speak to our university community,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president of UVU’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy. ”While here, he will honor the men and women who have served in our military in Afghanistan. We welcome all who are interested to come to his lecture, especially those who have served in Afghanistan.”

During his time with the United Nations, Tanin has served in numerous positions. During the 63rd session of the General Assembly in 2008, he was named vice president of the general assembly, a position he continues to hold during the 65th session of the General Assembly. He has also chaired the informal plenary of intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform as well as the vice chair of the open-ended working group. During the 63rdsession of the General Assembly, Ambassador Tanin was appointed as the chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform, a position he was reappointed to during the 64thand 65thsessions of the General Assembly.

Prior to being appointed as permanent representative to the United Nations, Tanin spent 11 years with the BBC. He served as producer from 1995 to 2000 and as a senior producer from 2000 to 2001. He was also an editor for BBC World Service, Afghanistan and Central Asia from 2001 to 2003 and as an editor for the BBC Persian/Pashto section from 2003 to 2006.

Tanin, who holds a doctorate degree, graduated from Kabul Medical University. In 1980, he began his career as a journalist in Kabul. Until 1992, Tanin was editor-in-chief of Akhbar-e-Haftah and Sabawoon Magazine. He co-authored “The Communist Regime in Afghanistan” and authored “Afghanistan in the Twentieth Century.” He also produced a 29-part program for the BBC entitled “The Oral History of Afghanistan in the 20th Century.”

Click here for more information on Ambassador Zahir Tanin.

Standing Tall

Standing Tall with the Ambassador and the Ambassador Receiving his Honorary Professor Award from Associate VP Rusty Butler

With Students

The Ambassador and Participating UVU Students

October 14-21, 2011 - Open World Ukrainian Delegation



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

Written by: Dallin Kauffman, (801) 863-7191

Five Ukrainian leaders participating in the Open World Leadership Center program will spend Oct. 14-21 in Utah examining the state’s education system hosted by Utah Valley University’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy.

While in Utah, the delegates will discuss education issues with several state entities such as the State Office of Education, Utah Education Association, and Utah System of Higher Education. They will also visit with administrators and educators at UVU, Mountain View High School in Orem and other local institutions. “Ukraine is a country vital to the United States’ interests in Eastern Europe,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president of international affairs & diplomacy. “Its pro-Western leanings make it an anomaly among its neighbors, something we wish to have our students learn firsthand. This delegation of key decision makers will have great influence among their peers while allowing our students and faculty to engage with them.”

Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, Open World enables emerging Eurasian political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at the local level.

The Open World Leadership Center awards grants to UVU’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy to administer this and other similar exchanges since 2007.

To learn more about the Open World program please visit http://www.openworld.gov/

Delegates and UEA Staff

Ukrainian Delegates and Utah Education Association Staff

Delegates with Senator Valentine

Ukrainian Delegates with Senator John Valentine

Delegates with Host Families

Delegates with Host Families

September 28, 2011 - Minister Edison Lobão,
Brazil's Minister of Mines & Energy

Mister Edison Lobão


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

Written by:  Jim Rayburn (801) 863-8504

Edison Lobão, the Brazilian minister of mines and energy, and one of the South American country’s most prominent government officials, will speak at Utah Valley University on Sept. 28 about the challenges of developing energy alternatives while protecting the environment. Brazil is a leading country in developing new sources of energy while also balancing the related environmental concerns, such as global warming.

“Brazil is a global energy giant, including hydro and ethanol,” said Rusty Butler, UVU associate vice president of International Affairs & Diplomacy. “Minister Edison Lobão oversees the nation’s energy policies and practices and, as such, is an international authority on energy issues.” Recently, the Brazilian government announced financial incentives to producers of sugar cane to ensure the country has an adequate supply of sugar-cane-based ethanol, an increasingly popular fuel source in Brazil.

“As part of UVU’s ‘Global Spotlight: Brazil,’ Minister Lobão’s visit to the University is a unique opportunity for our students and community to engage with a key world energy leader. It helps establish UVU’s reputation as a serious institution on the international stage,” Butler said. Lobão is a former journalist and lawyer, and governor of the Brazilian state of Maranhão. He has been elected to three terms in the Brazilian senate, and is currently on leave from his third term to serve his second stint as Brazil’s top energy official.

Click here for more information on Mr. Edison Lobão.


Minister Lobão Lecturing, with various UVU VP’s and Business Leaders.

With President Holland

The Minister with President Holland and Associate VP Rusty Butler

September 19, 2011 – Ambassador John M. O'Keefe,
Director of the Open World Program

John O’Keefe


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

Written by:  Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

Ambassador John O’Keefe, executive director of the Open World Leadership Center, will speak at Utah Valley University on Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Building, room 024. His topic is “The Great Game after 9/11: Operation Enduring Freedom and the Making of the Coalition Base in Kyrgyzstan.” O’Keefe negotiated the treaty that resulted in a primary forward-supply base for coalition forces in the war in Afghanistan, the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan.

“Ambassador O’Keefe’s visit will be an invaluable learning environment created for student engagement,” said John McClure, assistant to UVU’s student body president. “Visits like this are essential for our practical professional growth.”

Rusty Butler, associate vice president of UVU’s Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy, added that UVU students and faculty will be able to engage with one of Washington’s most brilliant strategic international thinkers and planners.

As a result of UVU’s international outreach, Open World Leadership Center has sent to the University numerous delegations from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and other Eurasian countries to study civil societies, judicial processes, market-based economies and other topics. Among his many posts the ambassador has been the director general of the State Department, deputy director of the Foreign Service Institute and U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan. He has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Meritorious Service Award.

Students & Staff

Ambassador O’Keefe with UVU Students and Staff

With Senator Valentine

Ambassador O’Keefe with Senator Valentine

June 23, 2011 - Elhanah Odembo,
Ambassador of Kenya to the US

 Elkanah Odembo


The Salt Lake Tribune:  Published June 8,2011

Written by:  Donald W. Meyers - dmeyers@sltrib.com

This year's Princess Festival has a new home and a distinguished guest of honor.

Elkanah Odembo, Kenya's ambassador to the United States, will attend the festival's ball at Noah's in Lindon on June 24. Odembo will also speak at Utah Valley University on June 23.

The ambassador plans to participate to recognize In Our Own Quiet Way, a charity started by Lindon developer Ron Hatfield to help Kenyans get access to clean and affordable water. The foundation is launching a computerized mapping program to help the Kenyan government chart its current infrastructure and help plan for future growth.

The festival, which will run from June 15 to 25, is set to be held at Thanksgiving Point's Children's Discovery Garden in Lehi. For the past three years, the event was held at Hatfieldelphia, a private park Hatfield created in Lindon.

The festival is for girls ages 4 to 10, who are invited to dress as their favorite princesses. At the festival, the girls meet various princesses from stories such as "The Little Mermaid," "Cinderella," "Snow White" and "The Magic Flute." There are princesses created specifically for the festival, including Princess Mila, who will lead attendees in cleaning up after an earthquake rocks her kingdom. "Our stories don't revolve around villains but teach that life can sometimes get sticky without having a bad guy to blame, and that little girls have the ability to be enchanting lights for the world through acts of friendship, service and self-respect," said Holly Sue Hatfield, executive director of In Our Own Quiet Way, in a news release.

Jolynne Alger, marketing director for Munchkin Radio, an Internet broadcaster of children's music that is helping promote the event, said the stories empower girls. She said they focus on how princesses take care of problems themselves rather than waiting for a Prince Charming to come and put everything right.

Alger said Odembo will attend the culminating event of the festival, the Daddy-Daughter Grand Ball.

Click here for more information on Ambassador Elkanah Odembo.


Ambassador Odembo Relating to UVU Voice of Africa Club Members (VOACA)


Ambassador Odembo Receives Gift from VP Rustly Butler

Group Photo

UVU Students and Staff with the Ambassador

June 1-5, 2011 - Hamid Al-Bayati,
Ambassador of Iraq to the United Nations

Ambassador Hamid Al-Bayati


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

Written by:  Jim Rayburn (801) 863-8504

T. Hamid Al-Bayati, Ph.D. and a permanent representative of Iraq to the United Nations since April 2006, will speak on the Middle East state’s transitory challenges at a June 1 lecture at Utah Valley University. The address, free and open to both the UVU community and general public, begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Sorensen Student Center, room 213b.

“Obviously there’s considerable interest in any areas where the United States is heavily engaged,” said Rusty Butler, UVU’s associate vice president of international affairs and diplomacy. “Ambassador Al-Bayati was a natural to befriend and talk to about coming to UVU to share his perspective on what the future holds for Iraq.” Butler met with Al-Bayati last fall at his U.N. mission in New York City, at which time Al-Bayati agreed to speak at UVU.

“Undoubtedly he’ll relate some of the intrigue that Iraq has in the United Nations and the future of the country as the United States moves to have a less prominent role there. I think he’ll have a very interesting perspective on how that may go,” Butler said.

Al-Bayati lived in exile for many years in London, where he worked to educate the world on the human rights violations taking place under former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He led campaigns to win support from the international community to remove Hussein from power. He was actually imprisoned for a time in Iraq and eventually had to flee the country to avoid execution. Some of Al-Bayati’s family members were not as fortunate, however, and gangs of the former regime kidnapped and killed his brother in 2005.

Al-Bayati has a bachelor’s degree from Baghdad University, a master’s degree from Cairo University and a doctorate in politics from Manchester University in England. He has also authored nearly a dozen books and research papers on Iraq’s political struggles.

Click here for more information on Ambassador Hamid Al-Bayati.

UVU Visit

The Ambassador is Recognized by Various UVU VP’s and Staff


A Social Gathering with Students and Staff


A Social Gathering with Students and Staff

April 16-19, 2011 - Kanika Phommachanh,
Ambassador of Laos to the United Nations

Ambassador Hamid Al-Bayati


Utah Pulse

Her Excellency Kanika Phommachanh, Ambassador to the U.N. for Lao People’s Democratic Republic was warmly welcomed by representatives from the World Trade Center Utah, Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Salt Lake Chamber as a guest of Associate Vice-President Rusty Butler, Utah Valley University.

Ambassador Phommachanh noted several similarities between her country of Laos and Utah including our relative geographic size and lack of ocean access as well as the shared value of industriousness represented by Utah’s beehive symbol. In addition, she observed that we share similar government level objectives of economic development, education and infrastructure improvement.

Laos is a country of 6.5 million people with over 49 different ethnic groups, and 57% of the people between the ages of 18 and 30. It is one of the smallest in size compared to the other Southeast Asian countries. Laos also has the sad distinction of being the recipient of over 260 million tons of bombs during the Vietnam War with many of those ordinances still unexploded and exposed.

When asked about opportunities for Utah companies to engage with Laos, Ambassador Phommachanh listed the major sectors as mining, hydropower, agriculture and tourism, the latter of which is growing significantly with over 2.5 million tourists in 2010 alone. She also shared the exciting plans for a 481 km. high speed railway linking Laos and Thailand with China. Once completed, this railway will provide outstanding opportunities for Laos to move from a land-locked country to a land-linked country.

Click here for more information on Ambassador Kanika Phommachanh.

Utah World Trade and Lt. Governor Gregg Bell

Lunch at the Utah World Trade Center and Meeting with Lt. Governor Gregg Bell


The Ambassador Receives an Honorary Professor Award from Associate VP Rusty Butler

April, 11, 2011 - Mauro Vieira,
Ambassador of Brazil to the US

Ambassador Mauro Vieira


Deseret News
Written by: Spencer Garn

SALT LAKE CITY —Fresh from meeting with President Barak Obama in Washington D.C., Brazil's U.S. ambassador shook hands with a young Brazilian native who moved to Utah seven years ago. "It's an inspiration for me to meet these kinds of people," said 24-year-old Marcio Carvalheiro, the marketing director for Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce. "I want to be one of the people that will be the connection to the U.S. and Brazil in the future."

Brazil's U.S. ambassador, Mauro Vieira, will visit with members of Utah's Brazilian community, leaders of the LDS Church, business leaders, college students and others before he leaves Utah for Chicago Wednesday. "I'm very glad to be here," Vieira said. "This is my first trip to this region and to Utah." Vieira took the post of ambassador to the U.S. in January 2010 and said he plans to visit as many states as he can, especially those with strong Brazilian ties.

"The U.S. is a huge country, I don't think I'll be able to visit, during my period in Washington, to visit all the states," Vieira said. "But I'll concentrate where we have either a big important Brazilian community or important business relations."

Utah has both, Vieira said, referencing the 12 to 15 thousand Brazilians in the state and a Brazilian company in Lindon Utah. When Vieira met with Lt. Governor Greg Bell earlier Monday, they discussed further plans to strengthen business relations.

As Brazil prepares to host the soccer World Cup in 2014 and summer Olympics in 2016, Vieira said he'll also visit with Utahans who helped organize the 2002 winter games. During a recent visit to Brazil, Obama and Brazilian leaders signed a "memorandum of understanding for exchanging the experience of mega events." "It's very timely to be here and to see some of the initiatives of local government to receive the Olympic games," Vieira said. "Here in Salt Lake you had a great experience in organizing the winter Olympic games, and I think that this is a very good occasion to meet with people involved in the organization."

Vieira met with the first presidency of the LDS church Tuesday morning and will visit several church sites including Temple Square, the Humanitarian Center, Welfare Square and the Family History Center before dining with leaders of the Church in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

"The Church is present in Brazil for many years," Vieira said. "It's a very important institution because through the Church a lot of the citizens of the state of Utah have had contact with Brazil and with the Portuguese language. I was very much surprised to see how many people here (pointing around the dinner group) speak Portuguese and speak fluently, excellent Portuguese.

Vieira will also speak to students at the University of Utah Tuesday and spend a few hours at Brigham Young University Wednesday before leaving Utah.

"We hope we can deepen the ties between the state of Utah and Brazil," said Cory Leonard, assistant director of BYU's David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. "I think it will be pretty impressive for him to see the commitment we have to the language, people and culture of Brazil."

Click here for more information on Ambassador Maura Vieira.

With VPs and Staff

The Ambassador with UVU VPs and Staff

March 15, 2011 - Olexander Motsyk,
Ambassador of Ukraine to the US

March 8-9, 2011 – Women of the Mountains II,
International Conference

International Mountain Day Events


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

Written by:  Rusty Butler (801) 863-8994

Numerous international ambassadors, United Nations executives and foreign government dignitaries will join scholars from Utah Valley University along with other universities and local high school students to discuss women’s issues at UVU on March 8-9.

The second Women of the Mountains Conference will kick off on International Women’s Day on March 8 at 8 a.m. in the UVU Library auditorium, Room 120.

Two days of sessions and panels will discuss the health and education of women and children in developing nations, human trafficking, women’s economic and leadership issues, and other topics. An earlier conference in 2007 drew 110 senior women leaders from 22 nations. The conference’s leadoff keynote speaker will be Palwasha Kakar, the Afghan deputy minister of women’s affairs.

“Our students and the community will have the opportunity to interact with global leaders regarding gender issues in developing nations,” said UVU Associate Vice President of the Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy Rusty Butler, one of the organizers of the conference. “We will host scholars from nearly 20 nations and many states who will discuss very pressing issues facing women and children, primarily in mountain nations.” Local high school students that participated in a competition about these issues will read their papers at the Orem Public Library the evening before, on March 7, Butler said.

“Another important goal of the conference is to expand membership in the U.N. Mountain Partnership,” said conference co-organizer Ambassador Baktybek Abdrisaev, a lecturer at UVU. “A UVU student advocacy campaign stimulated the City of Orem and Salt Lake City to join this international alliance of institutions interested in global mountain development.”

Conference organizers are the UVU Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy, the Department of History & Political Science, the Office of Engaged Learning, and the Kyrgyz National Center for Development of Mountain Regions under the auspice of the U.N.-related Mountain Partnership. Sponsors and contributors include the UVU College of Humanities & Social Sciences and College of Sciences & Health, the Aspen International Mountain Forum, Vista 360, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and others.

For more information about the conference please visit http://www.womenofthemountains.org/index.php/conference-program

Group Photo

Conference Group Photo


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

Written by: Karissa Neely (801) 863-6351

Shelby Jorgensen of Pleasant Grove never thought she’d win the high school essay competition, a new event added this year to the International Women of the Mountains Conference held at Utah Valley University March 8- 9. But she did, and took home $500 for her efforts.

Representing six schools across the Wasatch Front, 54 students submitted essays on the topics of women and children’s health, education, family and gender issues, human trafficking and exploitation and women as leaders. Twelve finalists presented their essays in a workshop at the Orem Public Library March 7. Shelby, a junior at the Utah County Academy of Sciences (UCAS), won first prize for her essay “Women’s Education in Mountainous Regions.”

Some essays dealt with human trafficking throughout the world, a subject also addressed at conference this week. The students discussed how young women are recruited from rural areas, and then transported to foreign countries, where they are at the mercy of the traffickers. Other essays, like Shelby’s winning work, described how education truly is the answer for women in these rural and developing areas — how much their lives improve through education, and the empowerment they have to then change their home situation. To illustrate her findings, Shelby divided the Orem Public Library audience into segments, according to research on the living conditions of people in Third World countries. Based on those categories, she illustrated the life of each audience member. Shelby then described how nearly a billion people are not able to read or sign their name, and that two-thirds of them are women. Most of these women have little hope of access to education because of their culture, or the treacherous rural areas they reside in.

The essays were judged by Keith Snedegar, a UVU history professor, and Connie Lamb, BYU social sciences librarian, on the students’ writing quality, their use of source material and their oral PowerPoint presentations. “We chose the papers that best addressed the theme of the conference,” said Snedegar. “Shelby did just an outstanding job.”

Shelby is considering pursuing a career in engineering because she’d like to help people around the world by using engineering solutions. But for now, she is happy at UCAS, an early college high school that is located on UVU’s Orem Campus. Many UCAS students, including Shelby, participate in a concurrent enrollment program by simultaneously taking courses at UVU with the goal of graduating from high school with an associate’s degree. “The teachers, they teach you so much, and I love going to college and getting a head start on my education,” Shelby Jorgensen said.

It’s a bit of a commute to UVU every day from her home in Pleasant Grove, but one she’s willing to make. And her winnings will help her education.

“Most of the money will go to gas to get me to UCAS every day, honestly,” Shelby said with a laugh. Katie Pontsler from Copper Hills High, took second place, and Ivan Delgadillo, also from UCAS, took third. Andrew Wensler, Kaitlyn-Nicole Burtenshaw, Linsey Wilkey, Desirae Cruse and Alexandra Westbrooks also garnered awards.

Zoran Jolevski, the ambassador of Macedonia to the United States, and Gyan Chandra Acharya, permanent representative of Nepal to the United Nations, agreed, and congratulated the finalists on their work.

March 5-13, 2011 - Open World Kyrgz Delegation



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

Written by:  Rusty Butler (801) 863-8994

Utah Valley University, Orem — Five government leaders from Kyrgyzstan participating in the Open World Program will spend March 5-13, 2011, in Utah examining Accountable Governance with a sub-theme of Strengthening Regional and Local Legislatures. Utah Valley University’s Office of International Affairs and Diplomacy is hosting the delegation for Open World. Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, Open World enables emerging Eurasian political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at the local level.

While in Utah, the delegates will focus on education, health care, gender rights, community and economic development and other issues pertaining to accountable governance. The group is scheduled to meet with various local organizations such as Community Action Services, Division of Family and Child Services, Utah County Health Department, and Governor’s Office of Economic Development and get acquainted with some of the Salt Lake City’s attractions. Delegates will also meet with the local, state and federal government officials, including Federal Senator Mike Lee and John Valentine of the Utah State Legislature. In addition, homestays with local residents will allow the delegates to experience Utah family life.

This group will also take part in the Women of the Mountains II International Conference, which is hosted on UVU campus March 8 and 9. “Our students and the community will have the opportunity to interact with global leaders regarding gender issues in developing nations,” said UVU Associate Vice President of the Office of International Affairs & Diplomacy Rusty Butler, one of the organizers of the conference. “We will host scholars from nearly 20 nations and many states who will discuss very pressing issues facing women and children, primarily in mountain nations.”

The Open World Leadership Center has awarded a grant to Utah Valley University’s Office of International Affairs and Diplomacy to administer this and other similar exchanges in 2011. 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 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 please visit.http://www.openworld.gov/

Legislative Visits

Legislative Visits

 Women of the Mountains Conf

Delegation Participating in the Women of the Mountains Conference

With Rusty Butler

The Delegation Demonstrating a New Form of Greeting, The Fist Bump with Associate VP Rusty Butler

January 21, 2012 - Jacob Dayan,
Consul General of Israel

International Mountain Day Events


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

Written by:  Karissa Neely (801) 863-6351

Consul General of Israel Jacob Dayan will meet with the Utah Valley University community Jan. 21, at noon in room 206C of the Sorensen Student Center. Dayan assumed the position of consul general in October 2007. In this role, he is the senior representative of the state of Israel in the southwestern United States.

“As such, he is the official voice for the region for his government,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president for International Affairs & Diplomacy at UVU, and primary host of the ambassador’s visit. “His office also issues visas, supports cultural, commercial and educational exchanges and activities and works on behalf of Israeli citizens living within his jurisdiction.”

Dayan visited UVU briefly last year, and met with President Matthew S. Holland and UVU’s vice presidents. Butler said during that visit he invited President Holland to Israel to look at Israeli universities which might be good matches for a UVU sister institution. Because of Holland’s former education and experiences in Israel, he indicated some interest.

“Such a link with an Israeli university could be very beneficial in our global outreach to train internationally-minded citizens, teachers, and businessmen at UVU,” Butler said.

Dayan was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and speaks English and French fluently. He has served in multiple capacities for his country, including as a policy adviser and chief of staff to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom. He managed various projects related to Ministerial activities as well as diplomatic initiatives at the United Nations General Assembly. Dayan also served in the role of political counselor at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. He has also served in the Department of Palestinian Affairs in the Foreign Ministry, where he participated in Israeli peace delegations and served on several working committees.

Lunch and Lecture

Lunch and Lecture at UVU with the Consul General

Ambassadors on Skpe

The Consul General and UVU VPs and Staff