I chose the SIT Mongolia program because of its exciting and unorthodox take on abroad learning. I didn't want to be in a modern city or at a university for my time in a different country. The itinerary of this program was ideal. I wanted to see the land and the people as they are today in the environment they both live and love.
Chimi Lama, Smith College
Ulziijargal Sanjaasuren, Academic Director
Ulzii (short for Ulziijargal) Sanjaasuren, graduated from the Odessa State University in Ukraine and then taught English for 10 years at the University of the Humanities in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She later spent six years working as a program coordinator for international development organizations including UNDP, DANIDA, and the Soros Foundation. Her responsibilities included identifying priority areas for future projects and conducting onsite supervision and evaluation of project activities, while specializing in education development programs. After two years of freelancing, she joined SIT in 2000 and was one of the designers of the SIT Mongolia program.
Ulzii holds an MA in teaching foreign languages from the Pedagogical University of Mongolia. She completed her PhD coursework at the same university and has started her thesis on the application of cognitive language learning principles in course design. Ulzii is the author of several series of English language textbooks for secondary schools in Mongolia. She is a past recipient of the Mongolian President’s Prize – Author of the Best Textbook, 2002. In March 2009, Ulzii received an ELTons Award from the British Council, as team leader of the Mongolian Curriculum Development and Textbook Writing team. She is a full-time resident of Mongolia.
Yarinpil Ariunbaatar (Baatar), Homestay Coordinator
Baatar works with the academic director to help oversee the program's day-to-day activities. He assists the academic director with the design and development of homestays, both urban and rural, in addition to helping with personnel and contingency matters. Baatar has extensive in-country and international travel experience. Personal interests include photography, ethnography, and Mongolian history with an emphasis on the history of the Mongolian Buryad people. He is fluent in Russian and speaks intermediate English. Baatar holds a BA and MSc from the Mongolian University of Science and Technology. His focus changed from engineering to education in early 2000 when he joined the SIT Study Abroad Mongolia program.
Shijir Batchuluun (Shijir), Program Assistant and Seminar Coordinator
B. Shijir holds a bachelor’s in business management from Citi Institute of Mongolia. He has lived in Germany and the US and has worked as a translator and safety officer in Major Drilling Mongolia. He joined the SIT Study Abroad Mongolia program in August 2014 as program assistant and seminar coordinator. Like all the staff he has many hats to wear; in addition to his duties as the program assistant, seminar coordinator, and office manager, he acts as a translator in the field.
Sampling of the lecturers for this program:
Bumochir Dulam, PhD
Dr. Bumochir Dulam is in charge of the field study seminar lectures on field methods and ethics and thematic seminar lectures on development of anthropological studies in Mongolia and shamanism, particularly Mongolian shamanism. Additionally, he frequently serves as an ISP advisor.
Dr. Bumochir is a professor at the National University of Mongolia and is the acting chair of the Social and Cultural Anthropology Department in the university’s School of Social Sciences. His main areas of interest and experience are in the fields of philology (folklore) and anthropology. He has conducted field research on shamanism in the north and east of Mongolia and undertook a yearlong field study to examine respect and politics among the Deed Mongols in Qinghai, in the northwest of China. Based on his fieldwork findings, he completed an MA in primary source studies at the National University of Mongolia and a PhD in philology at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. For his MA, he compared and analyzed sacrificial texts used in the worship of Eternal Heaven (Monkh Tenger); for his PhD he studied shamanic chants.
Additionally, Dr. Dulam studied social anthropology at the University of Cambridge where he was awarded an MPhil and PhD. For his MPhil, he analyzed shamanic rituals in terms of language and chants. For his PhD he studied respect and traditional ways of producing political power.
Oyun Sanjaasuren, PhD
Member of Parliament; Minister of Nature and Environment and Green Development of Mongolia, Head of the Civil Will Party and the Zorig Foundation
Dr. Oyun Sanjaasuren delivers lectures for the thematic seminar focused on Mongolia’s present political and social development and Mongolia’s central government policy for nature conservation and green development. Additionally, she is a strong source of support and information for students’ Independent Study Projects.
Dr. Sanjaasuren is currently serving her fourth term in the Parliament of Mongolia. In addition to her duties as an MP, she is the head of the Civil Will Party, head of the Zorig Foundation, and president of the Mongolian Geological Association. She received her BA and MA in geology in the former Czechoslovakia in 1987 and her PhD in earth sciences from Cambridge University in 1996. She started her professional career as a geologist in a Mongolian-Czech joint venture. She has also worked for a UNDP project and for Rio Tinto Ltd (UK). She is a former minister of foreign affairs and former vice speaker of the Parliament. She is one of the main initiators of anti-corruption legislation in Mongolia and is an avid advocate of education, democracy, and good governance. Dr. Sanjaasuren is one of the most prominent and well-respected female politicians in Mongolia.
Damba Ganbat, Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies of Mongolia
Damba Ganbat is the director of the Institute for Strategic Studies of Mongolia. He is advisor to the president of Mongolia on research and a member of the Board of the Minister of Foreign Affair of Mongolia. Ganbat earned his PhD in political science from the Mongolian Academy of Science. From 1999 to 2010, he was an executive director of the Academy of Political Education. Now he is the chairman of the board of the academy. He is also a board member of the National Public TV/Radio, secretary general of the Mongolian Political Science Association, and member of the Doctoral Dissertation Committee in Political Science.
From 1996 to 1999, he served as an expert in the Foreign Aid Coordination Unit at the Prime Minister’s Office of Mongolia. He was also a counterpart of the projects supported by Konrad Adenauer Foundation/Germany and TACIS/EU. He is currently a member of the Asian Barometer Survey working group in charge of Mongolia (www.asianbarometer.org). Under his management, ABS has been conducted four times in Mongolia since 2002.
He has published various articles examining democratization, democratic and authoritarian values, elections, political party development, and principles of foreign and security policy of Mongolia.
Dr. Ganbat delivers lectures for the thematic seminar focused on Mongolia’s present political and civil society development and on key studies on Mongolia’s democratization process. Additionally, he is a strong source of support and information for students’ Independent Study Projects.
Mr. Badruun Gardi
Mr. Badruun Gardi delivers lectures for the thematic seminars on the status of civil society in Mongolia and the urbanization process and discontent in ger (suburban) districts of Ulaanbaatar. He regularly advises students on their ISPs.
Badruun Gardi is the executive director of Zorig Foundation. He has previously served as the foundation's scholarship programs coordinator. Named after the leader of the democratic revolution of 1990, the late Zorig Sanjaasuren, the foundation aims to spread and strengthen democratic values in Mongolian society. Badruun is an adjunct fellow at the Urban Community Research Center for Asia at the Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan, and is a graduate of Stanford University, where he studied psychology and communication.
Ms. Onon Bayasgalan
Ms. Onon Bayasgalan lectures on ecosystem-based climate change in Mongolia and adaptation strategies and water resource management policies.
Onon Bayasgalan works as a policy analyst at Wildlife Conservation Society, Mongolia. She holds a BA in environmental economics from Whitman College and a master's of environmental management in environmental policy from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is interested in environmental policy in fields such as sustainable pasture management, air pollution, global environmental governance and climate change strategies. She has dedicated time to youth education on global environmental problems, both for young students in primary school and for young adults seeking to further their careers.
Mrs. Batjaviin Bayartuul, Mongolian Language Teacher, National University of Mongolia
B. Bayartuul has been teaching Mongolian to SIT students since spring 2009. She graduated from the University of the Humanities (UH) as a teacher and translator of English. She holds an MA in linguistics from the National University of Mongolia (NUM). Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the same university. She has worked there a number of years as a Mongolian language teacher for international students.
Her research work focuses on second language acquisition and lexicology. She also published two textbooks on Mongolian grammar and a dictionary of synonyms for foreign learners.
Ganbold Dashlkhagva, Mongolian Language Teacher, Mongolian State University of Education
Dr. D. Ganbold has been teaching Mongolian to SIT students since fall 2012. He graduated from the teachers college in Arkhangai as a primary school teacher. He received his next BA in Mongolian language and literature from School of Khovd, the National University of Mongolia. In 2001, he got his PhD in Mongolian language and culture studies from the Institute of Language and Literature at the Mongolian Academy of Science. He has taught Mongolian language and literature in Khovd and the Mongolian State University of Education. His research work focuses on ancient and religious Mongolian literature, traditional Mongolian script, and Buddhist studies. He has authored over 40 articles that were published in Mongolian, Russian, and Chinese.