November 11, 2011

Mongolia Students Conclude 3-Week Exchange

Sixteen Mongolian students and educators are wrapping up a successful three-week visit to Boston and Washington DC as part of the Emerging Youth Leaders Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program focuses on democracy and free expression in civil society, and is implemented by the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN), Mongolia Education Association and United Planet.

During their three-week exchange to the United States, Mongolian students and educators explored democracy and freedom of press and expression through exposure to American media and culture.

While promoting mutual understanding between the two countries, the Mongolian participants also engaged in workshops that encourage responsible citizenship and journalism. Participants visited the Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, Emerson College Radio, Teen Voices Magazine, Newseum and MIT Center for Future Civic Media. Many students expressed deep interest in the concepts of freedom of expression and press, often comparing what they learned to the context of their own Mongolian community. The workshops inspired the participants to share what they learned when they return to Mongolia by, "organizing a debate on democracy and rights", "writing articles about free expression in classrooms", and "sharing the experience with friends, family, schools, and newspaper club".

Additionally, participants also engaged in cultural events such as exploring a corn maze, participating in trick-or-treating, attending a high school football game, and volunteering in a soup kitchen.

For pictures from the exchange, please view below:

November 8, 2011

Emerging Youth Leaders Meet U.S. Department of State Officials

On November 8th, participants of the US-Mongolia Emerging Youth Leaders Program met with officials from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participants met with Jennifer Bookbinder, a Presidential Management Fellow in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, who helped manage the program; Nazgul Toktosanova, the Bureau’s Alumni Coordinator; and Ariel Wycoff, a Program Analyst in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Participants shared stories from their exchange, learned about US-Mongolia relations, and discussed their role as exchange ambassadors for Mongolia and the United States of America.

"I would like to say special thank you to U.S. Department of State, iEARN, United Planet and Mongolian Education Alliance. I will never forget the opportunity you gave me." Undram Jadamba- Amgalan Complex School

November 1, 2011

US-Mongolia Exchange Celebration

On November 1st, 2011, United Planet hosted a celebration for the Emerging Youth Leaders program featuring exciting stories from students, teachers, host families and program managers. The program was held at Villa Victoria Center for the Arts located in the quaint Boston South End neighborhood.

Dave Santulli, Executive Director of United Planet, launched the program with deep gratitude to the U.S. Department of State and iEARN for the opportunity to facilitate such a unique exchange program; “how better for two such different cultures to get to know and understand each other? I am so thrilled to meet the students, teachers, families, and sponsors who’ve worked so hard to pull this program together”.

Helen Smith, Executive Director of the New England Press Association, followed. Smith, an experienced journalism teacher, shared her experience of teaching journalism to Mongolian participants. Throughout their exchange, Smith taught participants about the role of freedom of expression, press, and democracy in journalism; as well as the techniques of writing news articles, how to conduct interviews, and much more.

Attendees then heard from a host family who conveyed the joy of hosting a Mongolian student. Surprised at how closely they had already formed a bond with their host-son, the host family exclaimed, “ Sukhbaatar became the older brother my son never had!” They then expressed gratitude in having the opportunity to experience a new culture and share their home with a Mongolian student.

Similar sentiments were expressed by representatives from Boston Public Schools, including teacher John Cheeseman, International Coordinator Bethany Woods, and all fellow exchange students from Boston. As part of their presentation, Bostonian students shared a picture slideshow of their exchange experience in Mongolia.

Finally, Aqeela Jogee Cutter shared a brief message on behalf of iEARN and the U.S. Department of State.

The evening ended with a beautiful Mongolian melody sung by both Bostonian and Mongolian exchange participants.

October 26, 2011

US-Mongolia Emerging Youth Leaders Program

iEARN is excited to welcome a group of 16 students and educators from Mongolia as part of the US-Mongolia Emerging Youth Leaders Program!

The US-Mongolia Emerging Youth Leaders Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State, managed by iEARN, and administered by United Planet and the Mongolian Educational Alliance. The exciting program facilitates a physical exchange between student and educators from Boston Public Schools and Mongolian public schools. A group of 15 Boston students and educators travelled to Mongolia this summer, and this week a group of 16 Mongolian students and educators will complete the exchange by traveling in Boston and Washington DC for three weeks. The Mongolian participants arrived in Boston on Saturday and have already had orientation and their first night with their host families. They are very excited to be here!

Watch for blog articles from them soon reporting on their visits:

Related Links

August 15, 2011

Boston Students Explore Mongolia

Students from Boston Public Schools just returned from a ground-breaking exchange between public schools in Mongolia and Boston. During the exciting three week exchange students visited three different regions of Mongolia -  UlaanBaatar, the capital city of Mongolia; the Gobi desert; and the rural Nairamdal Center.

Highlights from the trip included:

  • Exploring media and freedom of press with news agencies in Mongolia
  • Interacting with students in local schools
  • Learning about Mongolian families through a week-long homestay
  • Gaining an in-depth understaning of Mongolian history and culture by visiting museums, folk concerts, and cultural centers
  • Enhancing civic engagement by volunteering in local schools, orphanages, and environmental centers
  • Practicing journalism skills by interviewing Mongolian herdsman and their families in the Gobi desert
  • Touring  natural landscapes of the Gobi including: the Moltsog Sand Dunes, Eagle Valley, Baynzag Flaming Cliffs, and the Haytsgait Valley
  • Creating a newspaper in collaboration with Mongolian peers
  • Developing leadership skills by facilitating intercultural dialogue and creating presentations about culture, democracy, freedom of rights, and personal interests

Please view the photography slideshow for images from the Mongolia exchange: