Trisha Dugovic | Staff Writer | [email protected]
In order to promote the Women of the Mountains conference, which will be held at UVU in October, UVU students and faculty traveled to Washington, D.C. to the National Prayer Breakfast where world leaders joined together on common ground.
Attendees from many different faiths came together in prayer and scripture reading. Through this they were able to connect and learn from each other.
UVU students Jesler Molina and Andrew Allen went to the breakfast with two faculty members: Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev and Dr. David Connelly. There they were able to meet Jared Reni, a UVU student on an internship in D.C. who also attended the breakfast.
A combination of both grants and personal money made it possible for them to attend the event.
Both Molina and Allen are involved with the Utah International Mountain Forum (a coalition of several different clubs at UVU). According to Abdrisaev, both know where they want to be in the future concerning their education and career.
“It was just natural for [Molina and Allen] to go,” said Abdrisaev.
The National Prayer breakfast is a time for “bipartisan parties to build relationships on a personal level,” said Abdrisaev, who has attended this event 18 times.
“No matter the differences, there is always a point where we can agree and have something in common; in this case it was by praying,” said Molina
Abdrisaev said that it is essential that leaders “first talk to each other to then work together.”
“For students, it’s a time for engaged learning and to get connected to dignitaries. It also gives students a chance to learn and listen to interfaith dialogue,” said Abdrisaev.
The event spanned several days. Delegates from UVU attended meetings with the American Councils for International Education, the International Republican Institute as well as other organizations.
Abdrisaev said that a highlight for both faculty and students was sitting in the same room several feet from President Obama.
“[Obama’s] speech was controversial. His main point was not to condemn members of a whole religious group for what a few may do,” said Molina.
The Dalai Lama, Darrell L. Waltrip (keynote speaker), and Dr. Alia Hatoug Bouran (Ambassador of Jordan) were several other guests in attendance.
Molina reached out to the Ambassador of Jordan about coming to the Women of the Mountains conference which is meant to address issues critical to women and children, specifically of the mountainous nations which are generally impoverished and underdeveloped, according to womenofthemountains.org.
“It was a short experience because there were a lot of people. I approached her and said I was from UVU and I was there with a delegation. I told her that we would love to have her visit UVU and Utah,” said Molina. “We are working with the state department in order to get guests to campus, however we are just beginning the process, nothing is secure yet.”