Colorado State University has had an informal yet fruitful education and research partnership with Mongolia over the last 30 years. And now, we’re making it official: on Jan. 23, the University signed a memorandum of understanding with the National University of Mongolia.
The new agreement is designed to foster collaboration on education and research. This agreement will also allow the universities to develop joint graduate courses, training efforts and graduate research studies.
Jim Wagenlander, the Denver-based honorary consul on Mongolia, said that in Colorado and Mongolia, the people live “under a big blue sky. It’s a unique quality we share.” A lawyer by trade, Wagenlander helped start and serves as chairperson of the Ulaanbaatar-Denver Sister Cities Committee. Ulaanbaatar is the capital and largest city of Mongolia.
Chuluun Togtokh, director of the Institute for Sustainable Development at the National University of Mongolia, acknowledged the work by CSU researchers and his university over the years. To date, more than 20 Mongolian students have received master’s degrees at CSU, while another seven have received doctoral degrees.
Three decades of collaboration
Mongolia previously recognized two researchers from the Warner College of Natural Resources for their long-term efforts in the country.
In 2016, CSU Professor Maria Fernández-Giménez received the Order of the Polar Star from Mongolia. The award is the highest civilian honor the country presents to foreign nationals. And in 2013, Professor Emeritus Dennis Ojima was honored as a Champion of the Environment by the Mongolian Minister of the Environment and Green Development.
“It’s very rare to have a partnership or international agreement that lasts for 30 years,” said Kathleen Fairfax, vice provost for international affairs at CSU. “We are looking forward to it continuing.”
Fernández-Giménez said she first began working in Mongolia in 1993. Today, she is still working with some of the same people, including herders, students and Mongolian researchers.
Ojima said he was always struck by the hospitality and welcoming attitude of the Mongolian people he worked with. “I see our partnership really enabling additional technology exchanges,” he said.
Wagenlander encouraged everyone in the room to really make something out of the new agreement.
“If there’s any university uniquely qualified to take this to the next level,” it is CSU, he said.