Andres Tennus

Follow-up to the conference "Mongols - traditions and modernity"

On March 24-26, 2023, the Centre for Oriental Studies hold the 3d International Multidisciplinary Conference “THE MONGOLS - TRADITION AND MODERNITY: Mongolian communities and their neighbours facing global and local challenges”.

The conference was organised together with a constant partner of our Institute – the National University of Mongolia and Zayabaatar Dalai (Chairman of the National Council for Mongolian Studies, Government of Mongolia; Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, National University of Mongolia; Director of the Institute for Mongolian Studies, National University of Mongolia).

This Conference was established in 2016 as a regular networking platform to facilitate exchange and cooperation among professional researchers, interested in various aspects of Mongolian, Inner, Central and East Asian Studies. This time the conference discussed topics relating to Mongolian peoples and their neighbours in various situations of challenges caused by natural, cultural, social, and political circumstances. It brought a broad approach to the discussion, based on diverse historical and contemporary perspectives on the geographical regions where Mongolian communities live and have lived (including Mongolia, China and Russia). The focus of the discussion was on local and global challenges and choices, and specific strategies used in dealing with various concerns.

The Conference became broadly international and brought together more than 100 participants, presenters, discussants and listeners, from 17 countries (Mongolia, Korea, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, France, Switzerland, Israel, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and others).

The conference consisted of 9 panels dedicated to various topics, including linguistics, archaeology, early and modern history, politics, social and economic issues, transnational relations, folklore, religions and arts. It also included a round table, which welcomed Mongolian and Central Asian Studies researchers from various countries to share and discuss their experiences of working in the time of the global pandemic, decolonisation debates and neoliberal academia.

The conference also included keynote lectures by the advanced scholars –

Prof. Dulam Sendenjav (Ulaanbaatar), Prof. Caroline Humphrey (Cambridge), Prof. Ágnes Birtalan (Budapest), Prof. Ludmila S. Dampilova (Ulan-Ude)

The conference became a fruitful avenue to start up new project ideas and plans for cooperation between a wide range of scholars and institutions. It also became a fortunate event to celebrate with our partners the recently established Mongolian Research Laboratory in the Institute of Cultural Research. The Laboratory received 150 books for its library – presents from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, the Institute for Mongolian Studies at the National University of Mongolia and other universities and colleagues.

At the opening of the Conference Toomas Asser (Rector of the University of Tartu), Janabazar Tuvdendorj (Ambassador of Mongolia), Zayabaatar Dalai (National University of Mongolia), Liisi Karindi (Honourable Consul of Mongolia in Estonia), Ágnes Birtalan (President of the International Association for Mongol Studies; Head of the Department of Mongolian and Inner Asian Studies and Research Centre for Mongolian Studies, Eötvös Loránd University) gave their speeches to celebrate this event and to greet organisers and guests.

At the closing of the Conference, Mr. Sanjaasuren Bayaraa (Mongolian journalist, diplomat, former Ambassador of Mongolia to India and one of co-editors of the book "A.D. Simukov, Works about Mongolia and for Mongolia") shared a story of his family, connected to Estonia and Mongolia, experiences of repressions during the Soviet times and liberation and democratic revolutions in the 1990s.

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