Focus on Mongolia – March News

The Tale Of The Weeping Camel
March 26, 2015
Expeditions to Mongolia
April 8, 2015

Those that are frequent visitors to my blog (thank you!) will know that every month I like to post a round-up of the news from Mongolia. 

I choose items that (in my mind) provide an overview as to the issues affecting the country as well as articles that provide an insight into the Mongolian culture.

Here’s a brief summary as to what went on in March. 
Mongolian Imagery Exhibition – 976 Art Gallery – March 4th – 30th

State Honoured Artist Ts.Tsegmed opened his solo exhibition ‘Mongolian Imagery’ on the 4th of March. 

If you look at the images I’ve posted, you’ll notice that most of his artwork features camels instead of horses. This is because Ts.Tsegmed was born and raised in the Gobi region.

News item and images from UB Post

International Women’s Day – March 8th

As you may already know, March 8th is International Women’s Day. The official United Nations theme  for 2015 was  ‘Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!’ IWD is acknowledged throughout Mongolia as an official public holiday. 

In Mongolia,  the Heavenly Mothers Event was held for 1,000 women at Independence Palace to celebrate IWD. The Vice Chairwoman of the Social Democratic Women’s Association of Mongolia (Ch.Undarmaa) attended the event and there were discussions on employment and family and social welfare issues. There was also an awards ceremony with honours granted to women recognised for their achievements and their contribution to the community. 

News item from UB Post

For IWD, Mongolia’s Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg welcomed representatives of mothers and girls at the Government House on March 6th. 

Image from InfoMongolia
One Billion Rising Revolution Flash Mob 

I must admit I had not heard of the One Billion Rising Revolution so with the help of an internet search:

‘One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history.  The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.’

On March 8th, Oyundari Baynbaatar of Mongolia’s Beautiful Hearts Campaign NGO, organised for the One Billion Rising Revolution Flash Mob to take to Chinggis Square as part of IWD and as part of the One Billion Rising Revolution movement to raise awareness on violence against women.

The Beautiful Hearts Campaign NGO works to end child sexual abuse in Mongolia and to protect the rights of girls and young women. It provides psycho-social rehabilitation services and works to raise public awareness.

(On February 28th, over 10,000 people gathered in Chinggis Square at 6pm to mourn a four-year-old victim of domestic violence. A total of 5177 signatures were collected for a petition, written by the vigil’s organisers, asking for the government to improve efforts against child abuse and domestic violence.)

News item from UB Post

Soldier’s Day – March 18th

Image source UB Post

On March 18th, Mongolia celebrated its Soldier’s Day. 2015 was the 94th anniversary of the founding of Mongolia’s contemporary army when the Mongolian revolutionary Sukhbaatar (the guy on a horse in Chinggis (formally Sukhbaatar) Square in UB) led a guerrilla army in 1921 against the Chinese and won back the Mongolian part of Kyakhta. From 2003, March 18th was commemorate as Mongolian Armed Forces Day – changing in 2012 to Soldier’s Day. 

The below image (Source – Wikipedia), is from March 18th 2010 in Afghanistan  with members of the Mongolian Expeditionary Task Force 1 stand in formation for the (as it was then called) Mongolian Armed Forces Day.

News item from InfoMongolia

March 22nd – 34th Anniversary of Mongolia’s first participation in a space flight

March 22nd marked the 34th anniversary of Mongolia’s first participation in a space flight. Jugderdemidiin Gurragcha was the first Mongolian and only the second Asian to go into space.  He studied aerospace engineering at the Zhukovsky Military Engineering Academy in Ulaanbaatar graduating in 1977. He then joined the Mongolian Air Force as an aeronautical engineer and rose to the rank of major general. 

Image source
In March 1978 he was selected to participate in the Soviet Union’s eighth international Intercosmos mission (launched from Kazakhstan and spending nearly eight days in space).   Gurragcha was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. He later became Chief of Staff of Air Defence for the Mongolian Armed Forces. From 2000 to 2004 he served as the Minister of Defence.

When asked about how we can prepare future astronauts, J.Gurragchaa replied:

‘The relevance of space flight is in research, which must contribute significantly to the development of the country, its people, and technological advancement. Preparing astronauts has little to do with it. Mongolia is in need of an organization to define the state’s space policy. We must have a national space studies advisory board to support state policy. Even though such an organization exists, their activities are unclear.’

News item from UB Post

March 25th – First rainfall of the year

Khatgal soum – a district of Khovsgol Aimag in northern Mongolia where Khovsgol Nuur (Khovsgol Lake) is located – received the first rainfall of the year in Mongolia on the evening of March 25th. (The area had received snow fall throughout the winter but this is the first rainfall). 

(If you’re wondering why I put this in, look at it from the perspective of a Mongolian herder. Rain brings growth to the pasture.)

On March 26th,  light snow and rain fell in Ulaanbaatar. Western and central regions experienced snow and rain in the days after. The average wind speed was seven to twelve meters per second, blowing from the north-west  country wide. In the Altai Mountains and Gobi regions, the wind speed temporarily reached 16 to 18 meters per second, with dust storms.

Khovsgol Nuur in early December as taken by Turuu on one of our Winter Journey departures
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