UIMF Discussed Mountain Targets with Ambassador Harold Forsyth Chair of the OAS and Permanent Representative of Peru to the OAS

UIMF Discussed Mountain Targets with Ambassador Harold Forsyth Chair of the OAS and Permanent Representative of Peru to the OAS

On Thursday, March 3rd, 2022, the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University, hosted Ambassador Harold Forsyth, Chair of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) and Permanent Representative of Peru to the OAS

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On Thursday, March 3rd, 2022, the Utah International Mountain Forum, (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University, under my leadership hosted His Excellency, Ambassador Harold Forsyth, Chair of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) and Permanent Representative of Peru to the OAS.

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Dallas Karren, UIMF President, reads a prepared statement and conducts the event with UIMF members on stage and His Excellency Ambassador Harold Forsyth

 

The OAS is the world’s oldest international regional organization, comprising 34 independent States of the Americas and “constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere” with a focus on democracy, human rights, security, and development. Dedicated to “International law,…order,” and “intensive continental cooperation,” the OAS regards “representative democracy” as “indispensable,” “solemnly affirms” the “principles and purposes” of the United Nations, and promotes the individual and collective “Political, juridical,...economic,” and social well-being of its member States.

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His Excellency, Ambassador Harold Forsyth, Chair of the OAS and Permanent Representative of Peru, shakes my hand following conclusion of the event

 

            This event and our distinguished guest was of utmost importance to me professionally and personally. Having spent two years in Colombia, I understand the needs and benefits in advancing the OAS objectives in the American continents, and in particular, Latin America.

            The event was co-sponsored by the UVU Office for Global Engagement and the UVU History and Political Science Department, for whose continued support we are grateful. Student members of the UIMF worked as a team and prepared the event and handled advertising and all necessary logistics under my supervision through a task list and event agenda that I created and delegated among members.

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A presentation by Alitha Thompson, UIMF Vice-President, details the accomplishments of UIMF members

 

Students prepared and read statements during the event that addressed the need to promote institutional frameworks within mountain and rural areas as part of the focus of the UN and OAS development agendas.

As President, it was my responsibility to open and conduct the event. In my prepared statement, I provided opening remarks and thanked H.E. Ambassador Forsyth for being with us. I further provided information and history on the organizations represented at the event before laying out the agenda. Afterwards, I turned over the podium to other UIMF members.

Alitha Thompson, Vice-President of UIMF and President of Foreign Affairs, had a powerpoint presentation in which she expounded upon UIMF accomplishments. Rusden Scott, UIMF Member, spoke on the SEL method at UVU. Stefan Atkinson, Vice-President of Foreign Affairs, informed us on mountain communities and their importance. Alexandria Lamb, Foreign Affairs Member, then addressed us, on the subject of non-traditional students. William Clark, spoke on the negative effects of climate change on mountain areas. Next, two students from Central and South America discussed sustainable mountain development within their respective countries. Tristin Smith, UVU Rotaract President, presented on Guatemala and current challenges with the Drug Cartels. The Concluding student speaker, Carolina Yauyo, UVU Global Student Leadership Council Member and Native of Peru, articulated Sustainable Mountain Development in Peru. Other UIMF members also contributed to preparations and logistics for the event.

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Ambassador Forsyth responding to students

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Presenting Ambassador Forysth with a gift bag and poster for signing

 

On behalf of the Utah International Forum, I presented Ambassador Forsyth with a gift bag as an expression of our gratitude for his time with us, then asked him to sign an event poster. Additionally, we Prepared a folder of UIMF accomplishments which we presented to Ambassador Forsyth. This included Written statements from UVU students that were accepted and published as official UN documents during the sixty-fifth and sixty-sixth sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women, two Extensions of Remarks in the U.S. Congressional Record by Congressmen John R. Curtis and Ben McAdams, the UN Secretary General’s report on SMD A/74/209 from July 22, 2019 which highlights the UIMF, and several other UN documents. We also included brochures and information such as when the UIMF hosted through SEL the Fourth International Women of the Mountains Conference in 2015 in Utah; included language about mountain communities for the first time in the final document of the sixty-eighth United Nations Civil Society Conference, held in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 26-28, 2019; or presented at the 2018 High Level Political Forum at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The purpose of this was to demonstrate to Ambassador Forsyth the Student-Engaged Learning (SEL) model at UVU to demonstrate how students can be involved and make an impact throughout the Americas.

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Ambassador Forsyth signs our poster

 

We were then honored by Ambassador Forsyth addressing our coalition and responding to our statements. He addressed us, thanking us for our insight saying that he learned a great deal about issues that he did not know much about. He promised to push for the inclusion of our objectives and possibly create a group within the OAS to do so. Additionally, Ambassador Forsyth acknowledged our requests to connect Tristen Smith and myself with the OAS Ambassadors of Guatemala and Colombia, respectively, and he said that he would accomplish this for us. Carolina Yauyo, who is a native of Peru, was able to network with the OAS Ambassador of Peru, Mr. Forsyth, as a result of this meeting. These connections serve to aid us in our professional endeavors of our respective countries of interest.

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OAS poster signed by Ambassador Forsyth during our event pledging support of our coalition

 

Ambassador Forsyth gladly signed our event poster which I presented to him, and demonstrated his approval and support, stating, “Deeply touched by your strength and resilience. We are with you.”

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Group photo with Ambassador Forsyth

Following the conclusion of our event, a luncheon was held by the University and the Office for Global Engagement during which possibilities of collaboration between UVU, Peru, and the OAS were discussed.

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Dr. Baldomero Lago, UVU Chief International Officer and Honorary Consul of Spain speaks during a luncheon with Ambassador Forsyth, Former Lima Mayor and Presidential Candidate George Forsyth, and UVU faculty.

After the lunch, I thanked His Excellency Ambassador Forysth again for coming, and he promised me to be in contact.

                     Mr. Dallas M. Karren, UIMF President

VIDEO OF THE EVENT 

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TASK LIST

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STUDENT STATEMENTS

Dallas Karren

Alitha Thompson            Rusden Scott          Stefan Atkinson           Alexandria Lamb           William Clark           Tristin Smith          Carolina Yauyo