Utah International Mountain Forum Preparations for the 67th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women

The Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University began preparations for the advocacy of mountain women and girls at the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women during March 2023.

The Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF)a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) began preparations for the advocacy campaign for mountain women and girls at the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) during March 2023.  UIMF does this every year since 2017

Beginning in October 2022, Students began to work with the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS) and Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce (Utah China FISH D&C), two non-governmental organizations, which are registered under the United Nations Economic and Social Council to register for participation in the UN 67th session on the Commission on the Status of Woman. 

After that, UIMF members worked together to prepare a draft of a written statement and submitted it for consideration to the RANS and Utah China Fish D&C. As per UN rules, such NGOs have a right to submit such types of documents as their opinion contributing to the main theme of the CSW67. 

The draft of a written statement urged CSW67 to include a language with specific measures assisting mountain women and girls to be in the focus of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also presented the UVU Inclusive Co-curricular Student-Engaged Learning Model (SEL) as an educational initiative that matches with the priority theme of the CSW67 and can be implemented by any academic institution worldwide. SEL encourages students to work as a group to solve real-world problems, with faculty serving as mentors. The draft was approved by both NGOs and submitted to the CSW67 secretariat for their approval and distribution as the official document of the United Nations. This initiative based on UIMF as a core for the developed SEL model was already highlighted by the UN Secretary General’s Report on Sustainable Mountain Development A/77/217on July 22, 2022


In November 2022, UIMF and UVU Rotaractors, through the sponsorship of RANS and Utah China FISH D&C, applied to host a parallel event during CSW67, which was accepted and scheduled by the UN for March 6th, 2022. The UVU delegation at CSW67 will consist of the UIMF leadership, club members, and students enrolled in the UVU’s class POLS3410 - Globalization and Sustainable Development. UIMF members identified UVU Rotaract as the leading club for this initiative. The delegation will be led by Tristin Juarez-Smith, President of the UVU Rotaract club, under the advice of UIMF President Alitha Thompson, who led the delegation during CSW66.

Czaba        Aida

          (L to R) Alexander C. Jessop, UIMF member, President of the seventy-seventh session of the                                              (L to R): Permanent Representative of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Nations,

       United Nations General Assembly, Ambassador Csaba Körösi, Dr. Rusty Butler, and Edith Mora,                                        Ambassador Aida Kasymalieva meets Dr. Rusty Butler and Alexander C. Jessop,

                                        wife of Ambassador Csaba Körösi before the meeting.                                                                                                                                                                               UIMF member

On December 19-20, Dr. Rusty Butler, a mentor of UIMF, met with the President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Csaba Körösi, and Permanent Representative of the Kyrgyz Republic to the UN, Ambassador Aida Kasymalieva to discuss the possibilities to jointly advocate for mountain families and women by UIMF members with both UN representatives through the SEL method.He shared how UIMF has used SEL to advocate for mountain women and girls at CSW since 2016 and by hosting International Mountain Days at UVU and elsewhere in addition to plans to again host a parallel event for CSW67.

Upon confirmation by the UN for the parallel event, UIMF leaders have used their winter break to prepare a task list for the delegation, which is handled by student teams, such as logistics, CSW event activities, registration, in-person logistics, audio/visual technical, and documentation. A leader of a specific club of the coalition will lead each team. Stephan Atkinson, President of the UVU Foreign Affairs club, will handle the agenda and protocol of the delegation during CSW67, which also includes scheduling meetings at Permanent Missions of Group of Friends of Mountainous Countries to the UN. Rachel Welker, Vice President of the UVU Foreign Affairs club, will lead the documentation team, which includes helping edit speeches and end-of-day activity briefs/writeups.  Joshua Kooeyman, President of the UVU Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) club, will lead the registration logistics, which include monitoring and ensuring that each presenter is registered for participation at the UN, NGO forum, and parallel event.  Alitha Thompson, President of UIMF and mother of 5 kids, will oversee the logistics in New York to ensure people are prepared with documents, business attire, and schedules and arrive at their destination and flights on time. UIMF leaders have also contacted an independent contractor to handle the video and audio technicalities during the event as well as lead the technical team.

A requirement list has also been drafted to ensure students are eligible for travel and to present based on their dedication to SMD advocacy, participation, and professionalism in previous events, as well as availability. As CSW is a high-level political forum, UIMF leaders want to ensure that each student will present themselves as representatives of not only the university and sponsoring NGOs but as full-fledged advocates and contributors to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with focus on mountain communities, families and women.

UIMF hopes to demonstrate once again the value of the SEL method to the UN and continue their advocacy for mountain communities at the CSW67.

--Alitha Thompson, President of UIMF