August 31, 2022

Letter from the Director September 2022

Dear Friends of Utah

Did you know that each year, Utah Global Diplomacy presents a prestigious award to seven young Utahns who are working to achieve the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Utah, the United States, and around the world?

It's called the 7 for 17 Award and is given to these young individuals in connection with our International Youth Summit hosted each fall. The 7 for 17 award recipients exemplify Utah Global Diplomacy's core values of respect, social responsibility, and open dialogue and have demonstrated a significant commitment to meeting one (or multiple) of the 17 United National Sustainable Development Goals through novel, innovative, or unique means.

So, I want to congratulate them for their grit, tenacity, and dedication to making the world a better place for everyone, and it is an honor to take this moment to highlight their work.


Crystal Bayat_Utah Global Diplomacy_International Youth SummitCRYSTAL BAYAT - SDG #5: Gender Equality

Crystal Bayat is an Afghan social activist and human rights advocate known for her protests against the Taliban takeover. She was selected as one of the BBC 100 women 2021 all around the world, she also was awarded a full-ride scholarship for Masters of Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Crystal Bayat Founded Crystal Bayat Foundation, a Non-Profit humanitarian foundation dedicated to protecting women's rights in Afghanistan and the world. She continues her fights against the Taliban for a #Free Afghanistan and to ensure women's rights in Afghanistan.


 Danice Ball__Utah Global Diplomacy_International Youth SummitDANICE BALL - SDG #13: CLIMATE ACTION

Dani is working to promote interdisciplinary climate efforts. She is a recent graduate of Princeton University, where she worked with the Behavioral Science for Policy Lab studying the Indian energy transition and completed a senior thesis on the sonification of climate data. She has worked with sustainability in conjunction with national security and policy, buildings' energy and HVAC systems, and communication through art and design.


 Ermiya Fanaeia_Utah Global Diplomacy_International Youth SummitERMIYA FANAEIA - SDG #5: GENDER EQUALITY

Ermiya Fanaeian is a Trans liberation and Feminist political organizer whose work has included organizing around the abortion struggle, working with the ACLU to secure the rights of Trans youth in the education system, organizing to criminalize conversion therapy in the state of Utah, working on electoral campaigns, and creating research studying the conditions of gender-oppressed people at the hands of state institutions.


 Hailee Hernandez_Utah Global Diplomacy_International Youth SummitHAILEE HERNANDEZ - SDG #1: NO POVERTY

A first-generation Mexican and Native American, Hailee's work in homeless services began, assisting operate Homeless Court and monthly birthday parties. In 2019 as Program Improvement Specialist at the Gail Miller Homeless Resource Center (GMRC), she trained 40+ new employees on new Trauma-Informed program policies and procedures that have since been adopted and executed at all Salt Lake County Shelters. Hailee is the first to report homelessness trends and needs in rural Utah, implementing community support meetings for Summit and Wasatch Counties' unsheltered neighbors.


 Jacob Lawson_Utah Global Diplomacy_International Youth SummitJACOB LAWSON - SDG #8: DECENT WORK & ECONOMIC GROWTH

Jacob was born and raised in Utah. Bernie Sanders inspired him during the 2016 election and that's what made him politically active. He has been organizing his Starbucks in Cottonwood heights since early March or this year and has helped successfully unionize two Starbucks in Utah. He will soon be appointed to the diversity council in West Jordan City.



 Muskan Walia_Utah Global Diplomacy_International Youth SummitMUSKAN WALIA - SDG #7: AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY

Muskan founded a campaign to commit her local school district to a 100% clean electricity transition by 2030, and in all energy sectors by 2040 and has assisted with the expansion of local clean energy campaigns in Utah school districts. Muskan is also a leader and mentor at U-YES, Utah Youth Environmental Solutions Network, where she supports the development of a new youth-based climate justice curriculum. Her experiences have cultivated a passion and commitment to community building, climate education, and environmental justice.


 Obaid Barakzai_Utah Global Diplomacy_International Youth SummitOBAID BARAKZAI - SDG #16: PEACE, JUSTICE, & STRONG INSTITUTIONS

Obaid is a young community organizer, leader, and immigrant from Afghanistan. For the past eight years, he has been serving as a peace ambassador for the Seeds of Peace and Postcards for Peace organizations, creating and organizing safe spaces for young leaders from diverse regions of conflict to resolve conflicts through dialogues. Being a certified linguist and fluent in seven languages, he has interpreted thousands of appointments and documents for those from marginalized and war-torn communities. Due to the recent humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, he has helped with the Afghan resettlement efforts in Utah while speaking up to the world through the media.


 There were also two honorable mentions: 


Amira, born and raised in the Central African Republic, founded PreventHer, an organization that educates immigrants and refugees about breast cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. In collaboration with the Huntsman Cancer Center, PreventHer has hosted mammogram clinics, and PreventHer has since provided education sessions to many immigrants and refugees in Utah.


Beringo, a student at Salt Lake Community College, is a leader among students of color on campus. She is a board member of the Black Student Association and has helped plan and organize many activities and events for students of color on campus.


If you are interested in learning more about these individuals, please join us for the International Youth Summit on Saturday, September 24, at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan, where many will be presenting their work.


Felecia Maxfield-Barrett
Executive Director