Hannah Bieker, Utah Valley University (UVU) Rotaractor, contributed to the agenda and activities of the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) in New York on March 18-20, 2019. Hannah is also a member of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU. She was featured on March 18, 2019 by the Daily Herald as a Rotaractor who will speak at CSW63
Since 2007, UIMF has advocated for the empowerment of mountain women and girls under the UN’s sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda through the student engaged learning (SEL) model, whereby students are given the primary responsibility to work together as a team to solve problems, with faculty serving as mentors. The visit to CSW63 was planned and organized primarily by students, including raising funds for the trip with the Orem Rotary as one of co-sponsors. The model involves students across the campus and in particular non-traditional ones, who are usually 25 years and older and combine their education with having families and working part or full-time jobs.
The UIMF team and Hannah Bieker under SEL hosted a parallel event at CSW63, titled “Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls” on March 19, 2019 in which they advocated for mountain women to be included in CSW63’s agreed conclusions.
In her statement, Hannah spoke about Rotaractors’ contribution to the implementation of the UN sustainable development goals by participating in service projects such as teaching skills like conflict resolution at the Columbia Peace Project or the creation and management of fish farms in Uganda. She also described how in June 2018, 11 Rotaractors throughout Utah went to Puerto Penasco, Mexico and completed 7 service projects including: meeting Polio survivors, building ADA wheelchair accessible ramps, empowerment of children and adults in the community, teaching health education to elementary school children, providing musical instruments for a community orchestra, services to newborn children in maternity wards, and donated supplies for a Hemodialysis Center.
UIMF members, including Hannah, also used SEL to prepare and gain support for a written statement from the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and Utah-China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce, two non-governmental organizations in consultative status with Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The statement addressed the concern that mountain women are neglected at national and international levels and need to be in the focus of the UN 2030 Development Agenda. It was published by ECOSOC as official document E/CN.6/2019/NGO/64 on November 19, 2018.
As one of the important outcomes, the visit to CSW63 provides an opportunity to organize a joint visit of Rotaractors and Interactors from the State of Utah to the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2020 under the auspices of Rotary International through the SEL methodology developed at UVU. As other examples of its successful implementation, UIMF hosted side and parallel events and submitted a written statement E/CN.6/2018/NGO/37/Rev.1-EN during CSW62, and submitted a written statement E/2018/NGO/17 and made an oral statement during general debates at High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development on July 19, 2018.
UIMF activities to promote SMD since 2007 in the State of Utah and North America contributed to the decision of the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN/DPI) to accept UVU as an Associated Member of UN/DPI in November 2017. UIMF will further advocate for mountain women, UVU’s SEL model, and Utah model of SMD by contributing to a side event on mountains during the upcoming UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 26-28, 2019.