As my posting in Mongolia draws to a close, I want to publicly thank Mongolians living across the country – from Dornod to Bayan Ulgii – for their interest, hospitality and support.
I will remember many things about Mongolia. But, perhaps more than anything, I will remember the vastness of the steppe; the beauty of the mountains; the brilliance of the night stars; and the personal kindnesses extended by so many Mongolians at every step of the way. A sense for the fascinating history and unique culture of this great country will also linger, long after my formal assignment in Mongolia concludes.
In fact, it has been my privilege to live and work in Mongolia twice – first as USAID country director (2001-2004) and now as Ambassador (2009-2012). On each occasion, I was able to visit all 21 of Mongolia’s provinces.
My wife Fiona shares my deep appreciation for Mongolia and our three children Iain, Cameron and Catriona have spent much of their early childhoods in this country, carrying with them memories that will last a lifetime. As a family, we have slept in gers and camped beside lakes and rivers in every corner of this spacious and beautiful land. We have also learned from the many Mongolians we have met, at times sharing in their customs, celebrations and rich traditions.
Earlier this month, we had the unforgettable opportunity to welcome Secretary of State Clinton to Mongolia, a historic visit in which she met with President Elbegdorj, Prime Minister Batbold and Foreign Minister Zandanshatar and also addressed the Executive Meeting of the Community of Democracies as well as the International Women’s Leadership Forum.
Looking back over the entire span of three years, I am especially gratified by the many concrete ways in which the ties between the United States and Mongolia have become both deeper and stronger:
— In 2009, the US Embassy sponsored three Fulbright scholarships for higher education in the United States; for 2011, the figure reached sixteen, including ten scholars funded by the Government of Mongolia. At this point, at least 1,200 and perhaps as many as 2,500 Mongolians are studying in the United States.
— Recently, the first Mongolian was admitted to the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point. Over the past few years, many more Mongolians have received private scholarships to attend leading American universities including Harvard, Stanford and Yale.
— In 2009, US exports to Mongolia barely reached $40 million; for 2011, the figure surpassed $313 million. Over the past three years, General Electric opened an office in Ulaanbaatar; Bloomberg Television established a presence in Mongolia; Wagner-Asia launched branch offices in Darkhan and Khan Bogd; and Mongolia signaled its intent to move its national airline MIAT toward an all-Boeing fleet. Major American companies such as Peabody are now poised to make a highly positive mark, joining with Mongolian partners to bring high safety standards, the latest technology and a long-term commitment to developing Mongolia’s mineral sector in a way that is ethical and reflects concern for the environment.
— In April 2010, our Embassy received the first ever “Green Embassy of the Year Award” from the US Department of State, in recognition of our attention to environmental concerns.
— In June 2010, Mongolia was one of the first four countries world-wide to receive a large grant under the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, sponsored by the US Department of State — $585,000 to help preserve and protect Amarbayasgalant Monastery, located in a beautiful valley in Selenge aimag, five hours north of Ulaanbaatar.
— In June 2010, the Los Angeles based band Ozomatli visited Mongolia, attracting some 20,000 Mongolians to hear their music in Sukhbaatar Square. To this day, the Ozomatli concert remains the single largest cultural event that the United States Embassy has ever sponsored in Mongolia.
— In November 2010, we welcomed into our home a group of disabled Mongolians representing the Mongolian NGO Wind Bird, returning from a memorable trip to discuss disability issues in the United States. Throughout my tenure, Fiona and I have sought to ensure the involvement of disabled Mongolians across the full range of Embassy-sponsored programs in Mongolia.
— In March 2011, it was my privilege to travel to Kabul to spend several days with the Mongolian soldiers serving there. The emergence of Mongolia as a “peacekeeping nation” is a remarkable development, most recently resulting in the deployment of the first of what will eventually be 850 Mongolian soldiers serving in the world’s newest nation, South Sudan.
— In April 2011, the Embassy launched a $25 million renovation project, symbolizing our continued and enduring commitment to partnering with Mongolia in a wide range of areas.
— In June 2011, President Elbegdorj met with President Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. During this same visit, he also opened Mongolia’s first Consulate in San Francisco.
— In August 2011, Vice President Biden visited Mongolia – the first such visit by a sitting American Vice President in 67 years. This visit also inaugurated our Embassy use of Facebook and Twitter.
— In January 2012, the Mongolian National Archives presented to me – which I in turn presented to our Library of Congress in Washington, DC – a facsimile copy of the travel pass given in 1862 to a “Mr. Felosi,” marking the 150th anniversary of what was very possibly the first American citizen to ever visit Mongolia.
— In June 2012, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) in Mongolia received the MCC’s first ever “Country Commitment Award”, given in part to recognize the special attention that MCA has paid to gender concerns.
Over the past year, Americans and Mongolians have together celebrated several notable anniversaries, including the 20th anniversary of Peace Corps in Mongolia; the 20th anniversary of USAID in Mongolia; and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
In celebrating that 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties, I am often reminded of a statement made many decades ago by an American diplomat named A.W. Ferrin. Serving as a commercial officer in Peking, he argued in as early as 1918 that the United States should establish a diplomatic presence in Urga, as Ulaanbaatar was then known. According to his message back to Washington, if the US were to open such an office, it would become “a most helpful factor in the development of a wonderful country”.
Throughout my three-year tenure in Mongolia, I have sought every day to fulfill the promise of that early aspiration – to indeed do my best to ensure that, as a proud partner and friendly third neighbor, the United States would indeed prove to be “a most helpful factor in the development of a wonderful country.”
Thank you once again for the many kindnesses that we have received over these last three years. As a family, we wish the people and country of Mongolia every success in the years ahead. We also sincerely hope that relations between the United States and Mongolia will continue to prosper.
Next time you stop by Round Table Pizza at the Retail Stadium Center near the Big League Dreams in Manteca, chances are you’ll get to meet Odbayar Batbold and Dashdamba Bazardari.
They are the two visitors from Mongolia who are being trained at the Manteca restaurant to serve as managers at the first Round Table Pizza restaurants that are being opened in that country. The entrance of “The Last Honest Pizza” into Mongolia also is “a first for any major restaurant franchisor,” according to the company headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Round Table Pizza recently announced that it just signed “an exclusive agreement with Mongolia International Food Holding Co., Ltd. to develop 10 restaurants in Mongolia.”
The first Round Table restaurant in the country’s capital of Ulan Bator will open in September.
Batbold and Bazardari, who arrived on July 3, will be joined by a third trainee in about four weeks.
At the Manteca restaurant, the managers-in-training are being taught how to open a Round Table Pizza and are being trained in every aspect of its operation, including making Round Table’s “incomparable pizza dough and sauce,” said Elaine Stevenson, the training manager at the Retail Stadium which is one of the company’s training restaurants.
“They are learning how to roll dough, how to make sauce, and how to make pizza,” said Stevenson. They will also take management classes, she said.
Mike Buck, Round Table Pizza Senior Director of International Operations stated in a release to the media that the trainees “will be taken through our basic eight-week manager’s training course, along with any modifications we have made for our Mongolian operations.”
He added, “The menu will be very similar, except that we will also serve Mongolian barbecue beef pizza and pasta there, and we may test some at the training restaurant in Manteca for some lucky customers.”
The opening of the first Round Table restaurants in Mongolia brings the total number of international Round Table Pizza restaurants operating or slated for development to 47, the company also announced.
“We continue to see increased interest from abroad as entrepreneurs recognize the value in the Round Table Pizza brand,” noted Round Table Pizza CEO and President Rob McCourt in the same media release.
“It is exciting to be involved in bringing the best pizza in the world to countries like Mongolia that have no idea what great pizza tastes like,” said Stevenson.
She encourages customers visiting the restaurant to say hello to the two managers-in-training.
Bazardari, whom the staff simply refers to as “Dash,” is describe as “more of a visual learner,” while Batbold who is also called simply as “Od” with the letters pronounced separately, is the gregarious one. He is also the more articulate between the two in the English language, and is often tapped to do the translating for his fellow trainee.
The 24-year-old Od, who speaks English fluently and with hardly an accent, explained he was mostly self-taught. “I used to watch a lot of (American) cartoons back home,” he said with a big smile, his eyes twinkling.
He watched so many of them he does not have any special favorites that he can remember, he added.
He is excited at the prospect of going back home and “bring the best pizza to the best place in Mongolia.”
The Round Table Pizza at Stadium Retail Center is the only Round Table Pizza that is a training restaurant in Manteca. The restaurant also trains managers for the company’s restaurants in the Bay Area.
Manteca has two Round Table restaurants – the other one, which is not a training restaurant, is located at Spreckels Park – with one in Ripon n Wilma Avenue, two in Modesto at Orangeburg and McHenry, and one in Ceres.
The company was founded in 1959 by Bill Larson whose vision was “to create a place where families could relax and share a superb pizza.” Today, there are 450 restaurants across the western United States and the world.
“For the first time in New York today began offering in the U.S. buuzy Mish Mash Cafe at 1103 King Highway. Come! Please support the American initiative Buryats, “- this message has appeared recently in social networks.
Author ads Rygzhita Baldanova not the first time noted on the Internet with a creative message. About a month ago, she created a facebook group called “Pedigree drill.” Rygzhita has proposed a scheme by which to recover their ancestral roots. Hundreds of people responded, many managed to get information about their ancestors sometimes from unexpected sources. Including myself Rygzhita by a group within the first two weeks, regained his paternal ancestry to 22 elbows.
– Currently, there are changes in the Buryat community at the federal level, the Buryat abolished territorial units – said about his interest in the topic of genealogy Rygzhita. – Also, migration is a drill, we will gradually dissolve in the western culture and forgetting the traditions of ancestors, losing their roots. It’s very sad. And so it is very important not to lose identity and traditions.
Buuz preparing to do, she decided, too, especially for patriotic reasons. Rygzhita medical profession, the public has to do with diet as long as her partner, with whom she works on many fronts in the medical field, has acquired a few months ago cafe.
– I took advantage of this and suggested that the Buryat buzy – says Rygzhita. – In New York, enough representatives of Mongolian and Buryat peoples. The project is interesting to me just because they wanted to Buryats were the first in New York among the Mongolian diaspora …
According Rygzhity, the project is mainly aimed at the Mongolian, including the drill. However, during the promotion will be free buuzy offered to all comers. Rygzhite, of course, wants the project to justify itself, and in commercial terms.
After buuzy promotions will be made to order, there are several drill, expressed a desire to do it. Their cost is inexpensive – $ 5 per dose of 5 buuz. This, incidentally, at the Ulan-Ude prices poses, but by American standards at all cheap.
The Festival begins with an elaborate introduction ceremony featuring dancers, athletes, horse riders, and musicians. After the ceremony, competition takes place in wrestling, horse racing and archery.
During the Naadam MSNOA’s Nomadic Art Gallery (Ger Gallery ) featuring artists Alungoo Sergelen, Munkh-Orgil Battsogt, Namuun Enkhbat, Shijir Jargaksaikhan and Suvd-Erdene Amgalanbaatar.
The brave young people who gathered on the streets in those cold December days in 1989, including a young man who would one day be elected as your new President, helped pave the way for Mongolia to become a dynamic and durable democracy. All over the world that year, we saw a flowering of freedom. People stood up and walls came down, said Clinton.
Democracy is never easy Americans can attest to that. And Mongolia has faced its share of challenges. But through every challenge, the people of Mongolia have pulled together and have risen to the occasion. You have become a model for emerging democracies everywhere. Whenever I visit a country that is struggling to become more democratic, I say what I said when I was in Mongolia: Let them come to Mongolia! Because I will never forget my own visit in 1995 the sweeping beauty of the steppe, the warmth and hospitality of the Mongolian people, and the aspirations of a nation committed to progress after decades of totalitarian rule.
In the years since, Mongolia has consolidated those early achievements and strengthened your democracy. Today even, Mongolian troops are serving around the world as peacekeepers, helping to bring stability to troubled lands.
Mongolians and Americans are fighting side by side in Afghanistan against violent extremists who threaten peace-loving people everywhere. We honor the service and sacrifice of your citizens, and we reaffirm the broad partnership between our two nations that is helping build a more peaceful and prosperous world.
Six Wyoming youth will be among 28 from 10 western states experiencing the deserts, tundra forests, snowcapped mountains and ancient nomadic cultural heritage of Mongolia through a youth exchange program administered by the University of Wyoming Extension.
“The program will provide an opportunity for students to explore global issues common to the western United States and Mongolia,” said Warren Crawford, UW Extension youth development specialist. “Students will also gain real-world experience learning about and living in a culture different from their own.”
Kim Reaman, volunteer development specialist with UW Extension, will also accompany the group.
“This type of experience can be life changing and start a young person down the path to being an involved, global citizen,” she said. “My first international experience was through the International 4-H Youth Exchange to Jamaica. I have had a heart for international programs and the effect they have on a young person’s life ever since. ”
This is the second year youth visited Mongolia through the program. They are selected through an application and interview process from the 13-state western region of the land-grant universities Cooperative Extension System. Finalists are from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Participants and hometowns are:
Arizona – Caitlyn Atencio, Lake Havasu; Thelma Magallanes, Suhuarita
California – Sigrid Derickson, Atascadero; Colby Pong, San Clemente
Colorado – Andrea Dean, Fort Collins; Andrea Northup, Sterling
If you can’t make it to Ulan Bator for Mongolia’s National Celebration Naadam, the MongolNaadam Festival in Washington State is your next-best option. The event held annually in the Mongolian capital Ulan-baatar celebrates that country’s three main sporting pastimes: Mongolian wrestling, archery and cross-country horse racing. Although the Washington State Naadam is scaled back somewhat (there’s no archery competition, and a child’s footrace replaces the horse race), the wrestling competition is the main attraction;. The Mongol Naadam is not as bilingual as other festival in the area, so brush up on your conversational Mongolian and bring your appetite for khuushuur, deep-friend pockets of dough stuffed with minced mutton or beef, garlic and onions.
Mongolian Naadam Festival 2012 in San Francisco Bay Area ……Update
15th Annual Bay Area Mongolians Heritage Day Naadam Festival
Where: San Francisco Golden Gate Park @ Helman West Meadow
When : July 7th Saturday 2012
Time: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Organizing Committee: Bay Area Mongolian Community Association , Mongolian Consulate San Francisco Bay Area,” Ger” Mongolian Children’s Center Oakland, Oakland Mongolian Christian Church, Emmanuel Church of San Francisco , Mongolian International air freight & ocean freight transportation companies We Mongol, Anglo Freight ,Khouylaa Khuu , Mongolian Students Non-Profit Organization in America, California Mongolian “Shagai “Center
Get involved :You’ll meet new Mongolian people, have fun and support a great event.
Let Mongol Culture Alive in San Francisco Bay Area.
Chicago‘s Mongolian community gathers this year Sunday 10 am ,July 8th 2012 to celebrate the Mongolian Naadam.
This Festivity is the one of the major celebration on the Mongolians honor of the national holiday of Motherland Mongolia. During the celebration, Mongolians compete in traditional sporting events and competitions that include archery, wrestling, and children’s wood horse racing.
Organizers: Mongol American Association, Chicago Mongolian Community Association, Mongolian Culture Heritage and Wrestler Center
Chicago’s Mongolian community, while geographically dispersed, is an organized and active group with a strong network of mutual assistance. The Mongolian American Association, founded in 1998, aids newcomers from Mongolia, serves as an organizational center for the community, and sponsors social and cultural events such as concerts and speakers. It is affiliated with other Mongolian groups in San Francisco, Denver, and Washington, and by 2001 it boasted 250 members. Some Chicago Mongolians attend cultural events in Bloomington, Indiana, where a small community of Mongols is gathered around the Mongolia Society and Indiana University’s Department of Central Eurasian Studies, the only program in the United States to grant a degree in Mongolian Studies.
Chicago’s Mongolian community gathers each year in February to celebrate the Mongolian New Year ( White Moon or White Months )
The community also gathers frequently for parties, concerts, speeches, and other social events and such Mongolian cultural activities as a performance by a Mongolian artist or a visit by a Mongolian Buddhist Monk. The Mongolian community maintains ties with Tibetan Buddhists in Chicago, and the groups sometimes celebrate holidays together.
Many of Chicago’s Mongolians are students who came to Chicago to further their education and have chosen to stay in the United States after completing their schooling. Others have come in search of new personal or economic opportunities, and many anticipate their stay to be only temporary. A few Mongolian entrepreneurs have established small businesses, and there is a small professional community. Many Mongolians are well educated but face difficulties on the job market posed by limited English skills and illegal status, forcing them to enter trades and service industries, including rug and carpet cleaning, construction, electrical trades, computers, food service, and custodial work.
Join the Mongolian Naadam Festival presented by Mongolian Community Association Los Angeles will celebrate its long-awaited return to the 3330 North Lincoln Ave. Altadena, CA 91001 on July 8 , 2012
Sunday July 8th 2012 at 11 :00 am
Location : 3330 North Lincoln Ave.
Altadena, CA 91001
Event Details : Mongolian Wrestling, Mongolian Song & Dance, Contest who wears most fashionable Deel ? Mongolian artists join under one roof to bring their local flair to the Naadam.ankle bone shooting contest, archery contest,