US – Asia Institute Celebrates Mongolia: 25 Years of Democracy

Marguerita Cheng |

Senator John McCain delivers a keynote on the special relationship between the United States and Mongolia.

Mary Sue Bissell, US-ASIA Institute Executive Director, and Mr. Kee, and next generation of US-Asia leaders welcome guests.

2015 marks a historic milestone in modern day Mongolian history as it celebrates its 25th year of democracy. Since the Mongolian people demanded political change in 1990, the country has embraced a multi-party system and instituted a constitution that places heavy emphasis on human rights and freedoms. Freedom House has rated Mongolia as Free since 1999 and its Freedom Score has shown continual improvement year after year. Sandwiched between Russia and China, Mongolia’s ability to maintain a liberal democracy while building strong relationships with its two neighbors is a remarkable achievement.

The evening featured Mongolian cuisine and memorable entertainment.

On May 20th 2015, the US-Asia Institute, along with the Embassy of Mongolia and The Mongolian Society, welcomed friends of Mongolia from the Administration, Capitol Hill, and the business, academic and diplomatic communities to recognize and celebrate the country’s progress through 25 years of democracy.

Congressman Jim McDermott (WA), Javade Chaudhri (US-Asia Institute Trustee), Rita, and Mary Sue Bissell (US Asia Institute Executive Director).

Susan Thornton, Ambassador Bulgaa and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) share smiles at the US-Asia Institute on Capitol Hill.

Evening Program Agenda:

Welcome and Introductions: Mr. Javade Chaudhri, US-Asia Institute Trustee.

Remarks: Mr. Bulgaa Altangerel, Ambassador of Mongolia.

From the United States Congress:

  • Senator John McCain (AZ)
  • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
  • Congressman Jim McDermott (WA)
  • Congressman David Price (NC)
  • Congresswoman Grace Meng (HY)

From the United States Department of State:

  • The Honorable Susan Thornton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of East Asian & Pacific Affairs

Other Remarks: Mr. Mark Green, Ambassador & President of the International Republican Institute.

Ambassador, Mr. Bulgaa Altangerel shares perspective on why the Mongolian people value such a strong friendship with the United States.

Message From The Mongolian Ambassador, Mr. Bulgaa Altangerel:

I am honored and privileged to serve my country in the United States of America, the most important third neighbor of Mongolia and role model for democracy. Mongolia enjoys her relations and cooperation in the U.S.

The two countries successfully expand political, economic and defense partnership based on the common values and shared strategic interests. The State Great Hural ratified the Transparency Agreement in matters related to international trade and investment between Mongolia and the United States. Mongolia added troop contribution to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. Mongolia has been a strong partner of NATO and contributes to the United National Peacekeeping efforts to promote peace and security.

Mongolia benefited the first Compact of MCC focused on property rights, vocational education, health, road, and the environment. Mongolia was selected an eligible country for the 2nd MCC and talks on the project proposal are going well.

Mongolia, as the Participating State of the OSCE recently chaired the Security Forum of the OSCE. It hosted the Ministerial Conference of the Freedom Online Coalition on 4-5 May 205 in Ulaanbaatar.

I wish to emphasize that the U.S. Congress played a key role in establishing the legal foundation for developing the bilateral ties and cooperation as well as in strengthening reforms of legal system of Mongolia. The House Democratic Partnership provides parliamentary assistance to the State Great Hural to promote transparency, legislative independence, access to information and government oversight. The U.S. Congress numerous resolutions to support Mongolia on its way towards democracy.

In twenty five years we have achieved much towards building free society, however, much more to do to sustain it. Official celebration of our Democracy will be held on July 29, 2015, the day that marks the 25th Anniversary of Mongolia’s first fully democratic and free election.

President Elbegdorj said at the Ministerial Meeting of the Community of Democracies held in Ulaanbaatar in 2013 “Mongolia stands ready to share her democratic lessons, achievements and success. We stand open to discuss our mistakes, the ways to correct them and to be studied by others. We are ready for action and engagement. Look at us as a center of democracy education, a life model for challenges and opportunities of freedom”. In this regard, we established an International Cooperation Fund, a modest fund to contribute to this cause. With Kyrgzstan, we share our experiences in building effective parliamentary democracy and legal reform; we train Afghani diplomats and civil servants; we hosted media workers, journalists and civil society members from Myanmar.

I take this opportunity to thank the US-Asia Institute for hosting this important event together with our Embassy and the Mongolia Society.

Bulgaa Altangerel, Ambassador of Mongolia, shares wisdom with Rita, Sarina and Karolina.

Ambassador Altangerel presented his Letter of Credence to President Barack Obama in 2013 as the Ambassador of Mongolia to the United States. He was born in Khovd Province, Mongolia on October 25, 1955. He graduated from the Moscow Institute of International Relations (1974-79) and the Moscow Institute of Political Sciences (1988-90). He holds Master degrees in International Law and Political Science, Ph.D in International Law, and Professorship at the Mongolian National University and the Law and Security Academy of the Russian Federation.

Charles Sills, Chairman of the Board Federal Allies Institute and Board Member at The Eurasia Center, Mary Sue Bissell, Executive Director, Frank Phifer, Senior Vice President Hecht, Spencer & Associates, Inc., and Blue Ocean Global Wealth executives celebrate Mongolia’s 25 Years of Democracy.

About the US-Asia Institute:

Founded 36 years ago by the late Joji Konoshima and Esther G. Kee, the US-Asia Institute is a private, nongovernmental organization. It was established in 1979 to facilitate communication and understanding between the United States and the countries and people of East Asia. Through people-to-people exchanges at the highest levels, conferences, off-record-briefings and quiet diplomacy, the Institute has succeeded in keeping channels for dialogue open, and has carved a niche in the US-Asia relationship. The Institute’s network of political, business, governmental, and academic leaders here and abroad provides unique insight and access vis-à-vis this important relationship.

To learn more about partnership and sponsorship of the US-Asia Institute please contact:

Mary Sue Bissell
Vice President & Executive Director
US-Asia Institute
232 East Capitol Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20003

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