Opportunities increasing for study, work in Mongolia

Submitted by Western Today on Tue, 04/26/2016 - 10:09am

Western Washington University has developed several ties with Mongolian universities, organizations and not-for-profit organizations, and those ties are leading to increased opportunities for student study and faculty collaboration in Mongolia.

This past summer, a group of WWU “global ambassadors” traveled for two weeks to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to learn more about opportunities for collaboration between WWU and Mongolian institutions. The ambassadors included Karen Stout, director of the Karen W Morse Institute for Leadership; Lauren McClanahan, associate professor of Secondary Education; Danica Kilander, associate director of the IDEA Institute; and students Caleb Albright, Olivia Hill and Michael Secrist. Through their meetings and travels, the group learned there are many opportunities for educational and research opportunities related to politics and government, sustainability, agriculture and the environment, business and entrepreneurship, education, the libraries, history, culture, language, art and music and leadership.

While in Mongolia, for example, Stout learned about the significant leadership roles women have historically held and continue to hold in Mongolian society. Mongolia is the only country in which women earn more income than men, in which they are the majority of all college and graduate students, and in which they occupy more than 80 percent of office and administrative jobs in the capital city. This summer, Stout will go back to Mongolia with instructor Holly Diaz and a group of approximately 10 students for a three-week study-abroad trip. They will explore the roles and identities of women leaders in education, politics and government, environmental social change, business and entrepreneurship and the arts, to name a few topics.

The study abroad program led by Stout and Diaz will be a 10-credit program in which eight to 10 students will enroll in LDST 337: Issues in Global Leadership and COMM 416: Women and Social Change. They will interview women leaders, visit organizations aimed at supporting leadership development and travel south to the Gobi desert to celebrate the cultural festival of Nadaam. The deadline for this program has been extended to April 29.

Faculty members with research interests that might overlap with current or historical events in Mongolia or who would be willing to teach classes or workshops in Mongolia to help Mongolian instructors develop new pedagogies and gain access to cutting edge research should consider building on the ties Western already has there. Karen Stout and other members of last year’s global ambassador team would be happy to provide them with more information.