Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Russia's Crown Jewels

Now for some news from the weird. Chinggis' tomb may have a competitor for the title of most elusive (and likely non-existent) treasure in Mongolia. According to a LA Times story, a LA socialite is convinced that the last Russian Czar's crown jewels are buried somewhere in the Gobi Desert. It is a family legend that includes bandits, a map, and failed attempts to recover the hidden booty. I think the story pretty much speaks for itself, so I won't write anymore. Read the full LA Times story by clicking here: Russian Crown Jewels.

Umnugovi Baseline Study

The Umnugovi Aimag (South Gobi Province) government held an unveiling ceremony today for an economic and environmental baseline study conducted in the region during 2008. The study was funded by the Oyu Tolgoi project and included the participation of several local research institutions and scholars. More information about the study is available on the Umnugovi Aimag website at www.umnugovi.mn. An executive summary of the report and survey maps based on the report data are also available in the ACMS library.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Internship Opportunity

The Asian Foundation (TAF) in Mongolia has begun advertising its summer associate (internship) program for the third consecutive year. This is a great program that TAF started in 2007 as part of its initiatives to promote increased public dialog about responsible mining and the preservation of Mongolia's ecology. It's one of those programs that I wish had been around when I was a graduate student. Time in the field, professional experience, and an opportunity to get one's hands dirty. More information about the program is available on the ACMS website www.mongoliacenter.org.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


The ACMS is the product of many different people and organizations coming together and trying to build a place where international and Mongolian scholars can easily interact and participate in world class research and study activities. Our Deputy Director is fond of saying that "at the ACMS we make evolutionary progress not revolutionary progress." I like this expression very much because it really describes the steady and consistent progress the ACMS has made in the last 5 years in striving to reach the goal of being a world class academic institution.

This is no better exemplified than by the steady growth of the ACMS Library. In January 2006 the ACMS moved to Building No. 5 of the National University of Mongolia to a room the size of an average American home's master bedroom (see image above). In less than a year the ACMS outgrew that space, and subsequently we moved a floor up in the same building to two rooms with about 1,200 square ft. of space (see image below). It took yet another year for the ACMS to begin to out grow its new space. Currently the ACMS provides services to approximately 250 people per week, the majority of them students at the National University of Mongolia. But, the center also serves dozens international scholars per week--a number that has grown as more and more scholars from all countries discover the excellent library and services provided by the ACMS.

Looking ahead the ACMS and its partners dream of a much larger center that will become an internationally recognized institution and local leader in promoting academic research. Each day the dream slowly evolves into something real.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Library Acquisition

The ACMS Library recently acquired a 22 volume set of Qing Dynasty documents spanning the 17th and 18th centuries concerning Mongolia. The documents are written in Mongol script, Manchu, and Tibetan, and they come from a collection in the Chinese National Archives.

The set was purchased using funds from the ACMS Research Fellowship. The program allows each fellow up to $2,000 to purchase materials for the ACMS Library to be used for their research.

CAORC Meeting In Senegal

The ACMS is a member of a consortium called the "Council for American Overseas Research Centers," otherwise known as CAORC. I recently returned from the CAORC US & Overseas Directors meeting which was held January 4-5 with an extension tour January 6-9 in Senegal. The West Africa Research Center (WARC) hosted the conference at its center located in Dakar. Approximately 50 people attended the conference to discuss future collaborative work among the member centers as well as other institutions with area studies programs. CAORC organizes these meetings every 2-2.5 years, and they are a great opportunity for the member centers' directors to share ideas and learn about how other centers operate.

CAORC has been instrumental in securing funding for several programs and activities at the ACMS. The US-Mongolia Summer Field Research Program has been funded with CAORC support each year since its inception, and much of the computer hardware available in the center was purchased using CAORC grant funds. The Digital Library for International Research (DLIR) is also a CAORC project which provides the ACMS, along with other member centers, with an online catalog for its library.

More information about CAORC, its programs, and the programs of member centers is available at www.caorc.org.