UVU Student Body President To Speak To Open World Trustees At Library Of Congress
January 31, 2011
For Immediate Release
For more information: Rusty Butler (801) 863-8994
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Matt Reichman (801) 863-6808
Utah Valley University student body president Richard Portwood has been selected to speak at the Library of Congress to report back to the federal agency that facilitated a recent visit of his to Russia.
In November 2010 the Russian government invited Portwood and 14 other U.S. student body presidents, some from Ivy League institutions, to Moscow. The U.S.-based Open World Leadership Center helped coordinate the trip, during which the young cohort met with key Russian dignitaries and leaders. Portwood has since been chosen to report on the trip at the annual meeting of Open World’s Board of Trustees on Feb. 8 in Washington, D.C. — an unusual honor for a non-board member.
“I don’t know that we’ve had such a young leader come and address our board,” Open World senior adviser Chang Suh said, describing Portwood as “a hybrid of Abe Lincoln and James Stewart.”
“He’s going to inject a lot of enthusiasm into the meeting,” he said.
Open World’s mission is to network emerging leaders, especially internationally, Suh said. Its board includes James Billington, the librarian of Congress, several congressmen, ambassadors and members from the private sector, including Walter Scott Jr., chairman of Level 3 Communications, Inc., and Michael Yanney, chairman emeritus of the Burlington Capital Group. All the student travelers will participate in a roundtable discussion preceding the meeting, but Portwood alone will represent the group at the private meeting held at the Library.
“Richard made remarkable impressions on both Russian leaders in Moscow and at the Library of Congress during his recent trip,” said Rusty Butler, UVU associate vice president for International Affairs.
Suh related an instance in which Vladislav Surkov, a top aide to Vladimir Putin, interrupted a discussion to tell Portwood he needed to remember his face, because he would be a leader of his country someday. Such favorable impressions, along with the importance of linking emerging U.S. leaders and those of Eurasia, made Portwood an ideal candidate to address the Board. Equally impressed was Portwood, who decided to pursue international relations as a result of the trip.
“Experiences like this don’t come about every day, and I am very conscientious that this will be an experience I will always remember,” he said. “It’s a privilege to represent the outstanding students of UVU and elevate our reputation among such a well-accomplished Board of Trustees.”