Mongolia: Geopolitics and the Environment

Faculty and Staff

Ulziijargal Sanjaasuren, Academic Director

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.

Bumochir Dulam, PhD

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.

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. Chuunbaatar 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.


Costs Dates



Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Ulaanbaatar

Language Study: Mongolian

Prerequisites: None

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)


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