The influence of Khan: Mongolia Day at York

The better part of a millennium (779 years to be exact) after the death of the founder of modern Mongolia, York University is holding its first Mongolia Day. The event offers opportunities to reflect on the influence of founder Chinggis Khan (the more modern spelling of Genghis Khan) and will examine sustainability in contemporary Mongolia. It also serves to celebrate York’s strong connections to the National University of Mongolia.

Left: Chinggis Khan (c. 1162-1227)

A series of special guests from Mongolia and York University will offer presentations and perspectives on the global influence of the country as part of Mongolia Day. The event is free and open to all members of the York community and will take place in the form of two sessions on Friday, Nov. 10. 

Special guests include Dugerjav Gotov, the Mongolian ambassador to Canada, and Tserensodnom Gantsog, president of the National University of Mongolia. Both will speak at the opening session of Mongolia Day. The session will take place in room 280 York Lanes, at 10:30am following introductions by York’s associate vice-president international, Adrian Shubert.  

A collaborative agreement was signed between York University and the National University of Mongolia in October 2005 and the two institutions have taken part in a number of activities already. NUM and other Mongolian institutions have sent 30 professors specializing in English to participate in courses at the York University English Language Institute (YUELI). (For the full story, see the July 19 issue of YFile.) In addition to the YUELI visit, there was a staff exchange between the international offices of the two institutions and plans are underway for future proposals in education and public policy.

Right: Professor Dawn Bazely in Mongolia

Another result of York’s collaborations with the National University of Mongolia will be featured in the remainder of the 10:30am session of Mongolia Day. Dawn Bazely, director, Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability at York University, and Gail Fraser, professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, will present on their participation in the CIDA/AUCC Students for Development University Team Project (previously known as the Canada Corps University Partnership Program). Their project titled, “Sustaining Water in Mongolia: A Human Security Approach for Good Governance (SWiM)”, brought York students and faculty together with students from the National University of Mongolia for fieldwork in Mongolia, as well as bringing Mongolian faculty to York to learn about the complexities of water governance in Canada.

Left: The Mongolian countryside

For the second part of Mongolia Day at York University, Professor Edward J. Vajda of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, will give a lecture titled “Chinggis Khan and World History”. Vajda teaches Russian, Eurasian & East Asian studies and linguistics, and speaks nearly 20 languages.

His lecture will provide an overview of the legacy of Mongolia’s most famous leader. The lecture is sponsored by the Department of History, Faculty of Arts and the Office of the Vice-President Academic at York University.

For a full schedule of the day’s events, click here.