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D. Tsolmon: Most news today is translated from foreign news agencies and journalists

By B.BYAMBADORJ

This year, one of the oldest universities in Mongolia, the National University of Mongolia (NUM) is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The following interview is with D. Tsolmon, who holds a Ph.D. and is a professor at the School of Foreign Relations of NUM. Translated from Zuunii Medee newspaper.

-You used to study at this school. When did you start teaching?
-I feel that I’m always somehow connected with NUM. I studied there and because of my high marks in classes, I earned my way to study at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1960. After I graduated, I came back to Mongolia and worked in many administrative offices, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Central Union of Parties.
Starting from the year 1990, I began my hourly lectures at both the NUM and the University of Humanities. The majority of my topics were on the foreign and domestic strategies of the US. That was because when I was at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, I was especially experienced in the international affairs of both South and North America. I travelled to the US as a researcher within a Fulbright program for two years, and then joined the School of Foreign Relations of NUM as a professor. I have been giving lectures since then.
-This is the 70th anniversary of NUM, one of the oldest state universities of Mongolia. Please tell us about its establishment and early days.
-The Government decree on creating a National University was approved on December 6, 1940 and in 1942, NUM was established with three faculties: teachers, veterinary and human medical faculties. The teacher’s faculty began with seven different schools such as physics, chemistry and language.
The most difficult part of having a university at that time was that we always lacked professors and teachers. So there were mostly Russian professors lecturing us, which had us learning the Russian language in addition to our necessary classes. There were also a number of Russian employees in the administrative offices of NUM too.
The laboratory equipment was all supplied from Soviet organizations and universities. The students at that time used to complain about the lab equipment and the new Russian technical terms were very difficult to use and comprehend in the beginning. As there were not enough rooms, other buildings were used as lecture halls until 1944, when the first of many NUM buildings were put into operation.
The current Health Sciences University of Mongolia and several other independent Universities were all at one time a faculty of NUM. Throughout the 70 years it was in operation, its foreign relations have greatly expanded and now it has become the voice of Mongolian professors and researchers internationally.
-How many employees does the NUM have?
-Currently there are 14 schools and two branch schools under the administration of NUM. There are currently 23,000 bachelor, doctorate and master students with 1,000 professors and 500 service employees.
-What can you tell us about the history of your faculty of the foreign affairs division?
-The School of Foreign Affairs was established in 1991 on the unison of many language faculties. Like other schools and faculties, the School of Foreign Affairs also lacked the professional individuals who would teach what they know to the students. But I think M. Dugersuren, who headed the Mongolian foreign diplomacy for 17 years, made great many changes to Foreign Affairs in terms of giving them a direction and connecting them with many other universities like NUM around the world. The first Mongolian textbook on international legislation and other relevant diplomacy was written and published by him.
This school is currently one of the State’s major schools on preparing diplomats. In 2011, we celebrated its 20th anniversary. Currently, many of its graduates are proudly employed in various Governmental administrations and non-Governmental organizations as diplomats, economists and foreign affair strategists.
-What is your opinion on today’s trend of the NUM?
I think that the independent status should be different than other universities with similar aims. It is more important to pay attention to the content of the studies which are taught to students, and also more attention should be paid to research. In other words, every instructor, lecturer and professor should be experts in what they are doing. This is the standard for many high-quality universities abroad. To be a professor at a university, high productivity and responsibility is required. In addition to this I would like to note that in State administrations, it is likewise important that professionals should lead them. Although they may have management skills, they should also be very knowledgeable skilled in their sectors.
-You have published many books on international affairs and diplomacy. Please tell us about this.
-Well, when I first joined this faculty in 1991 I was a part-time teacher then became a professor later. I think that my research papers and other prepared classwork made a significant change and probably make up the majority of the general schoolwork content we have today.
-What would be the difference between teaching in 1990 and teaching today?
-The year 1990 was an unstable year for both the Government and society, as our economic structure permanently changed. The Government was changed completely, and the public was in a revolutionary state with majority of them strongly involved in politics.
But when the Government and our economic system changed, the education system of NUM remained the same. During this time I think my research that I conducted in the US really made a difference.
-You have translated many foreign books on foreign relations. Tell us more about the books you have translated.
As a former member of the team who had the duty to forge a diplomatic alliance with the US, I have looked and studied a great deal into the American domestic and foreign relations strategy. I wrote “The History of the USA” and published it in 1999. It was republished for the fourth time last year. I would say that the 20th century was the century of the Americans.
I published the “History of the 20th Century” in collaboration with professors from the State University of Education. I also published a book titled the “History of Foreign Relations of the US” in 2005.
For the first time in Mongolia, a book on diplomacy and its accompanying formality was published by me in 2003; there have been three additional publications since then. Over the years, I also wrote several research papers. On most of my projects, notable researchers and diplomats from Mongolia have written forewords.
-What can you tell us about the difference between Mongolia’s foreign relations before and after democracy?
-I wrote a paper on this in 2000. I wrote that with the new changes, we need to make sure our previous foreign relations can adapt and change to what is now today a democracy. In Soviet satellite nations, their foreign relations were simply created straight from the Soviet Union. It is possible to say that in those countries, including Mongolia; foreign relations were all under the control of the Soviet Union. So our foreign relations were very limited and it was not possible to compare it to a foreign relation policy from a democratic nation.
But since 1990, we paid specific attention to two items in our foreign relations. The first is the “open” policy of foreign affairs. The second was to try our best to treat every foreign country equally, meaning we would not follow or prefer one country over the other. Additionally, democracy and the free market system affected our foreign affairs in ways that were nonexistent in the communist regime.
-What would you say to your fellow professors or your students who have come to hold high positions in State administrations?
-Foreign affairs and relations require high degree of responsibility and knowledge in wide range of topics. It is not about learning different languages and traveling to other countries. One needs to know the culture and ways of their own people. It is seen that in any diplomat, a nationalistic view is definitely required for their personality.
I wish that Mongolians would lead their country not by the mouths of foreigners but by their bright and intelligent minds. The famous diplomat and social worker B. Jargalsaikhan also once said that he is praying that Mongolia does not have to experience bending over to other countries, worshipping or idolizing certain counties too much or losing administrative and social privileges of the people because of money and position.
-What would you say on becoming a successful international journalist?
-This is a very important question. The fundamentals would be learning to perfectly speak the required languages, as well as excelling in your own language. A high degree of knowledge and experience in your field of journalism is also a must. I believe that there are not many professional international journalists in Mongolia. The majority of news today we see and read is written and created by foreign news agencies and journalists, whom we tend to translate from. Our journalists are writing foreign names and terms incorrectly.
Every question asked by a journalist is actually is aimed at getting a lot of answers than it seems to ask. A person with a lack of essential and basic knowledge in politics, economics or diplomatic relations cannot possibly become a successful international journalist. I do not think there are many Mongolian journalists who have specifically travelled to the hot spots on earth for important news reports.

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Posted by on Oct 19 2012. Filed under Топ мэдээ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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