Thursday, May 30, 2013

Supporting Research on Mongolia

by Dr. Julian Dierkes & Dr. Charles Krusekopf
The Mongolian Parliament has been considering a proposal for the creation of a special fund for the implementation of a National Program for Promoting Mongolian Studies adopted by the Government in 2012. This proposal was initiated by President Ts. Elbegdorj and recently endorsed by the Parliament’s Budget Standing Committee. As international academics conducting research work on Mongolia, we want to applaud the overall aim of the proposal to promote academic research and build global understanding of Mongolia’s culture, environment and contemporary society.
Based on our more than 20 years of research experience in Mongolia and our work with the American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS) supporting academic research and exchange in Mongolia through our office, library and programs in Ulaanbaatar, we would like to offer four suggestions to maximize the impact and effectiveness of the National Program for Promoting Mongolian Studies:
  1.  Adopt an inclusive definition of the term “Mongolian Studies”;
  2. Use an inventory of research on Mongolia to plan further activities and to integrate researchers in different disciplines around the world;
  3. Make the results of research on Mongolia more accessible; and
  4. Build research capacity among Mongolian Studies scholars in Mongolia and abroad.

First, it is important that the Program adopt an inclusive definition of the term “Mongolian Studies”. We suggest that the term should include academic research on Mongolian any discipline, from anthropology and the social sciences, to history and the humanities, zoology and the natural sciences.From our experience, researchers in Mongolian Studies traditionally dedicated their careers to Mongolian history and linguistics, and were clustered around a few established centers of Mongolian Studies. Today, universities and researchers worldwide are moving away from geographically-defined research and toward more comparative and theory-driven approaches.Researchers are now more likely to be trained in disciplinary fields, and then select a particular country for their empirical work, rather than focusing exclusively in one country.
This tendency is particularly evident in past few years in Mongolia. Academic interest in Mongolia across a range of disciplines has been increasing, and the ACMS has seen growth in our membership, which now includes more than 40 universities and almost 400 scholars from around the world. The ACMS office in Ulaanbaatar hosts a growing number of students and researchers every year who are conducting research work in a wide variety of academic fields, including more than 300 international visitors in 2012. Most of these researchers and students do not consider themselves “Mongolian Studies” scholars, but work and publish in their primary disciplines, including biology, political science, and  anthropology. Field researchers find Mongolia to be an excellent site to study topics of global interest and importance such as climate change, economic and political transition, East Asian civilizations, and cultural continuity and change in the face of rapid development. The Program should capture and support this broader interest in Mongolia, particularly among new generations of scholars, while still supporting specialists who focus exclusively on Mongolia.
Another source of growth in academic interest in Mongolia has been the research conducted by Mongolian scholars, many of whom have received advanced degrees from prestigious international universities. These scholars also may not define themselves as “Mongolian Studies” specialists, but they are conducting research on topics crucial to Mongolia’s present and future development. It will be important to support these scholars and research topics that focus on contemporary Mongolia to provide better information and analysis to decision makers.
To support the active and growing group of researchers working with Mongolia, we would encourage several specific initiatives under the National Program for Promoting Mongolian Studies.
First, in order to plan for further activities for the Program, an inventory of contemporary research on Mongolia is needed. This should precede and inform decisions on the focus areas for the Program. The ACMS has been exploring ways to create a database of scholars and institutions working in Mongolia, similar to the databases of Japan Studies scholars and institutions created periodically by the Japan Foundation. This database might be updated and made useful through a social media site that allows Mongolian Studies scholars to meet and share information on their research work.
Second, we would support efforts to make resources related to Mongolia more accessible, both within Mongolia and online. Mongolian libraries and museums lack online catalogues, and digital collections are underdeveloped and generally not accessible. Databases, catalogues and digital collections can be developed using international standards, which would allow Mongolian materials to be accessible by both international and Mongolian scholars.Bibliographies of publications related to Mongolia can be created through the inventory of research we recommend above, along with archives of unpublished materials such as reports and research papers. These efforts will require training and the development of software, hardware and content, but Mongolia can partner with international organizations and build on the experience of other developed and developing countries.
Third, individual scholars should be supported in their efforts to build research and writing skills. Mongolian scholars need training through workshops and mentoring in developing and publishing academic papers in leading international journals and other forums, and in finding ways to link their research work with current policy issues. Foreign scholars need help building their networks and partnerships in Mongolia, and skills such as Mongolian language with possible publishing in leading Mongolian journals. Based on the experience of the ACMS, which developed the first for-credit online Mongolian language course, we believe online courses can be important tool to bring together a dispersed set of scholars from different universities and raise their cultural awareness and research ability.

Several of these suggestions would enhance the impact and support the implementation of the National Program for Promoting Mongolian Studies.We look forward to work with the Mongolian government, academic institutions and the ACMS to help promote Mongolian Studies and the development of a new generation of scholars who can contribute to both the preservation of Mongolia’s cultural heritage and the sustainable development of the country.

More information on the ACMS and its current programs can be found at

Charles Krusekopf
Executive Director, American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS)
Associate Professor, Royal Roads University

Julian Dierkes
Vice-President, ACMS
Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Монгол улсдахь эрдэм шинжилгээний ажлыг дэмжих

2012 онд Засгийн газраас баталсан “Монгол судлалыг хөгжүүлэх үндэсний хөтөлбөр”-ийг хэрэгжүүлэхэд зориулж тусгай сан байгуулах талаар Монгол улсын Ерөнхийлөгч Цахиагийн Элбэгдоржийн санаачилсанхуулийн төслийг Монгол улсын Их хурлаар идэвхтэй хэлэлцэж байна. Энэхүү төслийг Их хурлын төсвийн байнгын хороогоор саяхан хэлэлцэж дэмжсэн билээ. Монгол судлалын чиглэлээр эрдэм шинжилгээний ажил хийдэг олон улсын эрдэмтэдийн хувьд Монгол улсын энэхүү санаачилгыг сайшаан хүлээн авч, Монголын соёл урлаг, байгаль орчин, орчин цагийн нийгмийн талаар эрдэм шинжилгээний ажлыг эрчимжүүлж, дэлхий нийтэд таниулах чухал ач холбогдолтой ажил болго гэдэгт гүнээ итгэж байна.
Сүүлийн 20-н жилийн туршид Монгол улсад эрдэм шинжилгээний үйл ажиллагаа явуулж буй Америкийн Монгол судлалын төв(АМСТ)-ийн хөтөлбөр, номын сангаар дамжуулан хуримтлуулсан туршлагыг үндэслэн “Монгол судлалыг хөгжүүлэх үндэсний хөтөлбөр”-ийг үр дүнтнй хэрэгжүүлэхийн тулд дараах саналуудыг дэвшүүлж байна:
  1. “Монгол судлал”-ын томьёоллыг илүү өргөнөөр авч үзэх;
  2. Монголын талаар хийгдсэн эрдэм шинжилгээ, судалгааны ажлын бүрэн жагсаалтыг гаргаж, цаашдын чиглэлийг тодорхойлж, салбар чиглэлийн эрдэмтэдийг нэтгэж ажиллуулах;
  3. Монголын талаар хийгдэж буй эрдэм шинжилгээ, судалгааны ажлынүр дүнг олон нийтэд хүртээмжтэй болгох;
  4. Монгол судлалын гадаад, дотоодын эрдэмтэдийн судалгаа, шинжилгээний чадавхийг сайжруулах.

Юуны түрүүнд, “монгол судлал”-ыг илүү өргөнөөр томьёолох. Өөрөөр хэлбэл, бидний саналаар Монголын тухай хийгдэж буй бүхийл салбарын эрдэм шинжилгээний ажлыг багтаах нь зүйтэй. Үүнд угсаатан зүй, нийгмийн ухаанаас авахуулаад түүх, хүмүүнлэг, ургамал амьтан судлал ба бусад байгаль шинжлэлийн чиглэлүүдийг багтана. Бидний туршлагаас үзэхэд уламжлалт “Монгол судлал”-ын эрдэмтэд нь зөвхөн Монголын түүх, хэл шинжлэл гэх мэт цөөхөн чиглэлийг хамарч, хэдхэн төвүүдэд ажилладаг. Харин олон улсын чиг хандлагыг аваад үзэхэд олон орны их, дээд сургууль болон эрдэмтэд нь тухайн ганц орны чиглэгдсэн арга зүйгээс татгалзаж, илүү харьцуулсан ба онолын чиглэл рүү ханддаг болжээ.Эрдэмтэн, судлаачид нь ямарваа нэгэн орныг шууд сонгохын оронд эхлээд салбарын онолоо судалж, дараа нь тухайн орныг судалгаа хийх талбар болгон сонгодог болсон байна.
Энэхүү хандлага сүүлийн хэдэн жилМонгол улсын хувьдтодорхой ажиглагдав. Их олон салбараар Монголын тухай сонирхож эхэлж байна. АМСТ-ийн эдүүгээ дэлхийн 40 гаруй их дээд сургуулийн 400 орчим эрдэмтэн, судлаачдыг гишүүчлэлдээ багтаагаад байна. АМСТ-ийн Улаанбаатар дахь төлөөлөгчийн газраар үйлчлүүлж буй оюутан, эрдэмтэн судлаачдын тоо жил бүр өссөн нэмэгдэж байна. 2012 оны байдлаар нийт 300 гаруй гадаадын эрдэмтэд, оюутнууд үйлчлүүлсэн байна. Эдгээрийн ихэнх хэсэг нь уламжлалт “Монгол судлал”-ын чиглэлийн бус харин биологи, улс төр судлал, амьтан ургамал судлал гэх мэт салбаруудаас байна. Хээрийн судалгаа хийж буй эрдэмтэд нь Монгол орныг цаг агаарын дулаарал, эдийн засаг болон улс төрийн шилжилт, Зүүн ӨмнөдАзийн орнуудыг судлал, хөгжлийн хурдацтай үед соёл уламжлалаа хэрхэн хадгалан хамгаалах вэ гэх мэт сэдвүүдийг судлах чцхал талбар байна гэж үзэж байна.Тиймээс “Монгол судлалыг хөгжүүлэх үндэсний хөтөлбөр” нь энэхүү өргөн хүрээний сонирхолыг хамруулж, шинэ үеийн эрдэмтэдийг гаргаж ирэхийн зэрэгцээ уламжлалт монголч эрдэмтэддээ дэмжих нь зүйтэй.
“Монгол судлал”-ын чиглэлээр хийгдэж буй Монголын эрдэмтэдийн тоо өсөж байна. Ялангуяа, гадаадын нэртэй их дээд сургуулиудад суралцаж, эрдэм шинжилгээний ажил хийж буй Монголчуудыг тоо өссөн байна. Эдгээр нь зөвхөн уламжлалт салбараас гадна Монгол улсын хөгжлийн өнөө, ирээдүйн чухал сэдвүүдээр эрдмийн ажлаа хийж байна. Тиймээс өнөөгийн Монголын орны талаар судалж буй эрдэмтэд, судалгааны чиглэлүүдийг дэмжих нь чухал байна.
Хоёрт, “Монгол судлалыг хөгжүүлэх үндэсний хөтөлбөр”-ийн цаашдыг ажлыг төлөвлөхийн тулд Монгол судлалаар өнөөг хүртэл хийгдсэн ажлын жагсаалтыг гаргах шаардлагатай.
Гуравт, Монгол судлалын чиглэлээр хийгдсэн ажлын хэвлэмэл болон цахим бүтээлүүдийг олон нийтэд хүртээлттэй болгох ажлыг бид дэмжиж ажиллана. Монголын номын сангууд, музейнууд онлайн буюу цахим каталог тэр болгон байдаггүйгаас гадна цахим материал цөөн байдгаас хүртээл муутай байдаг. Эдгээрийн сайжруулснаар Монгол судлалын материалыг эрдэм судлаачид хаанаас авч судлах боломжтой болно. Энэ чиглэлээр Монгол улс гадаадын байгууллагатай хамтран сургалт явуулж, програм хангамжийг нэвтрүүлэх хэрэгтэй.
Гуравт, эрдэм судлаагчдын эрдэм шинжилгээний ажил хийх, хэвлэн нийтлүүлэх чадавхийг сайжруулахад туслалцаа, дэмжлэг үзүүлэх шаардлагатай. Үүний тулд Монгол эрдэмтэд, оюутнуудад гадаадын нэр хүндэй шинжлэх ухааны сэтгүүл хэвлүүлэх чадавхи бий болгох сургалт явуулах нь зүйтэй. Гадаадын эрдэмтэдийг Монголын ижил чиглэлээр судалгаа хийдэг байгууллага, сургууль, эрдэмтэдтэй холбоо тогтоох, түншлэл бий болгох ёстой. Мөн тэдгээрт Монгол хэл сургаж, Монголын эрдэм шинжилгээний сэтгүүлд хэвлүүлэхэд дэмжлэг үзүүлэх нь зүйтэй.АМСТ нь Монгол хэлний онлайн сургалтыг боловсруулж явуулдаг бөгөөд олон оронд байгаа гадаадын эрдэмтдэд хүрч ажиллах боломжтой.

Ийнхүү дээр санал болгосон чиглэлүүд “Монгол судлалыг хөгжүүлэх үндэсний хөтөлбөр”-ийг илүү үр дүнтэй хэрэгжүүлэхэд тус болно гэдэгт найдаж байна.Энэ чиглэлээр АМСТ нь Монгол улсын Засгийн газар болон бусад холбогдох бүх байгууллагатай хамтран ажиллаж, “Монгол судлал”-ыг хөгжлийн шинэ шатанд гаргаж, залуу эрдэмтэдийг хөгжүүлж, улмаар Монгол улсын цаашдын тогтвортой хөгжил, соёл уламжлалаа хадгалахад хувь нэмрээ оруулахад бэлэн байна.

АМСТ-ийн талаар дэлгэрэнгүй мэдээллийг–ээс авна уу.

Чарлз Крусекоф
Америкийн Монгол Судлалын Төв(АМСТ)-ийн Гүйцэтгэх Захирал
Роял Роудс Их Сургуулийн профессор

Жулиан Диеркс
АМСТ-ийн Дэд Ерөнхийлөгч
Бритиш Колумбын Их Сургуулийн профессор

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Running Scorecard of Mongolia Across Various Indicies

For individuals looking to track Mongolia's progress,  Dr. Julian Dierkes the Coordinator of the Program on Inner Asia at the Institute of Asian Research based at the University of British Columbia,  has compiled and updates a list of diverse but currently relevant indices.

For more information  go to Mongolia Scorecard

Understanding Mongolian History through Collaborative Research and Public Discussion

Summary of Report by  Erdene Myagmar, ACMS Visiting Scholar Fellow

On March 15th 2013,   Dr. Erdene Myagmar from the Department of Archeology and Anthropology at the National University of Mongolia returned from her three month visit to Western Michigan University.  As a recipient of the ACMS Visiting Scholar Fellowship, she worked in collaboration with Dr. Jacqueline Eng and her graduate student J. Gomez  to conduct a comparative analysis of the Asian population archeological data sets to address interesting new questions about population health during different time periods.  This resulted in a collaborative paper “Investigation of the Effects of Diet, Sex, and Age on Dental Health Among Ancient Asian Samples from China and Mongolia” which was presented at the 40th annual North American Meeting of the Paleopathological Association held  April 9-13, 2013.

 During her fellowship she also conducted two other projects with the Department of Physical Anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of  Natural History.  One was the examination of cranial nonmetric traits  of  Native American remains to be used in future research of the biological affinities of Asian and American populations.  The other was the study of long bones and skeletal material from fetal, infant and sub-adult remains of a known age to be used for comparison with bioarcheological excavations within Mongolia.

Dr. Erdene also provided two well received public lectures during her stay in Kalamazoo.  The first was on “Bronze Age nomadic cultures of Southern and Eastern Mongolia” targeted to professors and graduate students of Anthropology.  The second was titled “Mongolian Nomads: History and Culture” which was targeted to a more general academic population.

We congratulate Dr. Erdene Myagmar and welcome amongst the ranks of the ACMS Alumni.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Support Positions with the OSCE for the 2013 Mongolian Presidential Election

Since Mongolia has joined the Organization for Security and Co-operation  there has been a major long and short term election observation project underway which started with last year's election.  With the Presidential election scheduled for June 23rd, the OSCE is looking for individuals to fill a number of support positions.  These positions are open to all interested in being involved.
For more information follow this link: OSCE Mongolia 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Introduction from the incoming Resident Director Marc Tassé

"It’s been just over a week since my arrival in Ulaanbaatar, it is a pleasure to find the time and introduce myself as the new Resident Director for the American Center for Mongolian Studies. I am both excited and humbled by the task at hand.  The ACMS has been an active and respected member of the local community, something I aim to maintain and foster during my time here. As the first Canadian Director for the ACMS, I hope that I can live up to the legacy left by my predecessors.

This is my third tour through Asia, the first being a three month term in Thailand as a volunteer research assistant with some time spent as a resident in a local Buddhist monastery.  The second was a 6 year term in South Korea, working as an international trade consultant as well as getting heavily involved in the local traditional culture scene. I have also been involved in the direction of several non-profit and community organizations, both in Canada and overseas.

I have recently come out of a three-year work sabbatical, during which I completed a Masters of Global Management from Royal Roads University and a Masters in International Business Administration for the Munich University of Applied Science, I was searching for an opportunity that would combine my experience in international management, passion for learning, and intrigue in traditional Asian cultures. Being the Resident Director of the ACMS fulfills all of these requirements and more.

During the next few months I will be working on strengthening our relationships with the local academic, NGO, government and private sectors in order to facilitate the activities of our members and the research community.  By developing new relationships I hope to expand the options available and discover new areas where the ACMS can have an impact.

I look forward to hearing from all of you suggestions on how the ACMS can continue to grow and fulfill its mission of supporting the development of Mongolian Studies and academic exchanges." -Marc Tassé

Understanding Mongolia: Fact, Fiction and Everything in Between - By Brian White, Editor, The Mongolist


The digital age has made easy information something we take for granted. Every second journalists, academics, think tanks, bloggers, and many other knowledge producers provide timely analysis and synthesis of complex issues. Except on Mongolia. Information is a bit more sparse in that area, and it is often difficult to sort out what is fact, fiction, and everything in between because of a lack of trusted information sources and even information itself. Brian White created the blog "The Mongolist " in 2012 as his way to supplement his own unending curiosity about Mongolian politics, business, and society and to contribute to a better understanding of Mongolian issues among the public by using an investigative evidence based approach to his writing. In this lecture, Mr. White will present on several topics he's investigated for his blog and expand on some of their more interesting and important implications.