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.
Chuluunbaatar Ulziikhishig, Field Coordinator
Ulzii (Akh) has been working for the SIT Mongolia program since its inception. He has been responsible for the development and execution of all educational excursions and travel to rural homestays. He manages visas and program logistics and assists students in finding appropriate ISP locations and making the necessary contacts and logistical arrangements for project execution. He is responsible for all of the payments and purchases made for field travel. He speaks fluent Russian and good English. His personal interests include shamanism, table tennis, photography, and wrestling. He holds a diploma in radio engineering from Odessa Military University and an MSc in military management from Tveri Military Academy in Russia.
Tsedenbal Baigal, Program Assistant and Language Coordinator
Baigal helps the academic director arrange lectures and site visits and oversee the implementation of the language program. She also manages the program offices and lecture facilities as well as the SIT library. She holds a BA in English language teaching and also computer science from the Mongolian University of Education and an MA in foreign relations from the School for Foreign Service at the National University of Mongolia. Prior to joining SIT Mongolia in August 2009, she worked for the University of IEB as an English teacher.
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.
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
B. Bayartuul graduated from the National University of Mongolia (NUM) as a teacher and researcher of Mongolian language and literature. She holds an MA in linguistics from the NUM. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the same university. She has worked a number of years as a Mongolian language teacher for foreign students.
Her research work focuses on second language acquisition and lexicology.
Dr. Luvsanjav Chuluunbaatar
Chair, Foreign Language Department, School of Mongolian Language and Culture, NUM
Dr. L. Chuluunbaatar delivers lectures for the thematic seminar on history and the development of script culture among nomadic Mongols. He also serves as an external Mongolian language examiner.
Dr. L. Chuluunbaatar holds a PhD in the history of linguistics from the Institute of Mongolia, Buddhism and Tibetan Studies and the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Russia. He has an MA in Mongolian language and literature from the National University of Mongolia. He has worked for many years as a lecturer at the National University of Mongolia and extensively taught Mongolian, English, Tibetan, and translation theory. With an interdisciplinary background in Mongolian, Buddhism, Oriental studies, and educational and comparative studies, he has lectured at universities in England, Russia, Hungary, China, Japan, Thailand, and Korea. He was a visiting professor at London University for two years and at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in Japan for three years. He has compiled 14 publications and authored over 30 articles in disciplines that include Mongolian language and Buddhist studies. His work has been published in Mongolian, Russian, English, and Japanese. He chairs the Foreign Language Department, School of Mongolian Language and Culture, at the National University of Mongolia. He has presented his research at numerous national and international professional conferences.