25 years of diplomats training in Mongolia markedThe Mongol Messenger
SIRPA aims to become influential policy research center
History of the modern diplomatic service of Mongolia dates back to early 20th century when Mongolia declared independence from the Qing Dynasty or the Manchu and the Mongolian government was established with five ministries, including Minister of Foreign Affairs headed by Chin Van Khanddorj.
Over the following decades, the government had been sending young people to study mainly in the Soviet Union or former Soviet countries every year to prepare specialists in all areas. A large number of Soviet-educated diplomats and foreign affairs officers, who are capable of representing and protecting the interest of Mongolia, were born during this period.
In 1991, during the time the country started transitioning into a democratic and open society, a faculty of foreign affairs was launched at the National University of Mongolia (NUM). Consequently, the nation’s leading state university started producing foreign service officials and diplomats at an academic level using its own university resources. Due to structural change of the NUM, its former name the School of Foreign Service was altered to become School of International Relations and Public Administration at the NUM (SIRPA).
Aimed at preparing proficient national staff to work within the international affairs field for public service, international institutions and business organizations, SIRPA teaches all types of subjects related to international affairs, legal and economics at bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate level. During the past 25 years, it has grown into one of the prestigious educational institutions of the country attracting the brightest young students across the country. Half of SIRPA’s over 2000 alumni is currently working in jobs related to their field of study at government and private organizations.
Although SIPRA is the most recently established department among other faculties of NUM, many graduates are already engaged in international careers and positions of leadership at national and international levels. A number of earlier graduates have today achieved great successes, assuming the highest diplomatic rank of Ambassador, namely M.Batsaikhan, Ambassador of Mongolia to Paris, France (1997 alumnus) and T.Tugsbilguun, Ambassador of Mongolia to Bangkok, Thailand (1999 alumnus). Current parliament members B.Enkh-Amgalan and B.Purevdorj, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs D.Battsetseg and former Erdenes Mongol CEO B.Byambasaikhan are all among the successful alumni of the school.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of SIRPA, a variety of events have been organized throughout the year to commemorate the milestone that Mongolia started preparing its own national workforce specialized in diplomacy and international relations. During the last two weeks, the main events within the anniversary were hosted in Ulaanbaatar, such as General Assembly and Security Council meeting of the Model United Nations” and international guest scholars lecture event.
The international guests’ lecture event was attended by Prof. Dr. Igor Okunev, Deputy Dean of the School of Political Affairs and World Politics at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) of Russia and Prof. Euikon Kim of the Inha University of South Korea, who delivered interesting speeches on “Political Geography of Northern Eurasia: Spatial Structures Evolution and Geopolitical Identities” and “21st Century East Asia and America’s Choice”. The latter lecturer was conferred with Honorary Professor title in 2007 by the SIRPA.
Another two academic conferences under the theme “International Relations: Training and Research and Mongolia” and “Russian Studies: Pressing issues and future trends” were also held to mark the anniversary. The forum “International Relations: Training and Research and Mongolia” was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 1. More than 30 domestic and international scholars of international relations as well as professors and teachers at SIRPA delivered speeches on subjects of current situation and future tendencies of world affairs as well as issues faced in the country’s public administration field. Several international guests besides the aforementioned two scholars, such as from Kazakhstan’s Karaganda State University attended the conference as well.
During the current times of fast changing world orders and international political and economic situations, Northeast Asian region is drawing increased international attention and Mongolia’s two immediate neighbors are pursuing stronger and independent foreign policy. The conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs touched on issues concerning how Mongolia should cope with the present international situations by preserving the national interests and integrity. Some speakers remarked that “As Mongolia, with abundant land and natural resources, has full potential to develop economic relations with any country in the world; and in order that economic and trade ties with its neighbor Russia and China and then multilateral partnerships with other countries are needed to be attached high importance by Mongolia”.
At SIRPA building on December 4, the academic conference themed “Russian Studies: Pressing problems and future perspectives” touched upon the current level of Russian studies in Mongolia, Mongolia-Russia political and economic relations in the 21st century, the stance of former Soviet Union during Mongolia’s candidacy to the United Nations in the 20th century, issues concerning relations of Russia, China and China and public and social administration over the education in Russia in context of contemporary Russian studies and literature ties of Mongolia and Russia.
With a regard to the fast changing missions and roles of SIRPA for the foreign relations of Mongolia, S.Battulga, Dean of SIRPA said “Even though SIRPA’s main function is directed at preparing and training national diplomatic workforce, emerging trends of the international environment and politics are requiring the school to play an active role in the foreign affairs of Mongolia and further to become a powerful and effective research center. In this regard, aside from our target to produce well-prepared Foreign Service officers and diplomats, we have set on a mission to turn into a national top policy research center dedicated to conducting research and studies on the key issues on foreign relations and policy issues of the country”. Dean Battulga is a graduate of SIRPA or former School of Foreign Service of 1994.
Dr. Prof. Altantsetseg, former Dean of SIRPA said that the research center, which has been just established at SIRPA this year said that “SIRPA’s future goals will extend from becoming a principal database and source to the foreign service of Mongolia to supplying a broad range of most vital researches developed by national and international leading scholars and foreign policy experts with experience in the foreign policy areas”. First of the works done by SIRPA’s policy research center is “Policy News” periodical bulletin containing studies and articles addressing subjects regarding to the foreign policy and international relations of Mongolia and its challenges and opportunities.
Since last September, the research policy center has been implementing two research projects in the scope of its mission, first project with a name of “Upgrading foreign policy decision-making mechanism of Mongolia” headed by Dr. J.Enkhsaikhan, former Ambassador of Mongolia to Austria and the UN and the second project “Coordinating the trilateral economic corridor of Mongolia, Russia and China with geo-economic interests of Mongolia” headed by Dr. J.Gulguu, former Ambassador of Mongolia to Turkey.
Concluding the series of events held to mark the anniversary, a ceremony was held at the State House on December 2. International foreign affairs school and domestic high profile political and social figures delivered their congratulatory messages to SIRPA during this event. Also, Mongolian well-known political analyst and writer Baabar and Chinggis Khaan Order Laureate and theoretical physicist Kh.Namsrai delivered lectures on subjects “Changing Global Order and Mongolia” and “Modern Physics” respectively during the ceremony.
The full article was featured in the Mongol Messenger's issue No. 49 for December 9.