Mongolia is located in central Asia, between Russia and China. Nomadic tribes originally settled the country, until Genghis Kahn united it in 1206 AD. The Mongol dynasty spread to nearly all of Asia and some of Europe. It was overthrown in 1368, and Mongolia was subsumed into the Qing Dynasty of China. For almost three centuries, from 1691-1911, Outer Mongolia was a Chinese province before briefly becoming part of Russia before it was returned to Chinese rule. China and Russia continued to influence the country throughout the early part of the 20th century, when Mongolia moved toward Communism. Though Mongolia tried to remain neutral after World War II, it quickly allowed the Soviet Union to install troops along its border to protect against Chinese aggression.
Lay of the Land: Mongolia is a landlocked, bowl-shaped nation in central Asia sandwiched between Russian Siberia and the People’s Republic of China. The dry, barren Gobi Desert occupies the southeastern quarter of the country, while mountain ranges rise above 13,000 feet in the central and western sections. Mongolia is characterized by extreme variations in temperature and a relatively small amount of annual precipitation. A third of the country is covered by the Gobi Desert, but on the mountain slopes further north can be found large forests and powerful rivers.
Mongolia was originally settled by nomadic tribes. In 1206 AD, Genghis Khan united these tribes into a single Mongolian state. Genghis Khan went on to conquer nearly all of Asia and European Russia and sent armies as far as central Europe and Southeast Asia. Genghis Kahn’s son, Kublai Kahn, conquered China and established the Yuan dynasty from 1279-1368. Marco Polo subsequently made Kublai Kahn famous in his writings.
The United States officially recognized Mongolia in January 1987. In September 1988, the US established its first embassy in Ulaanbaatar. Richard L. Williams was the first US ambassador to Mongolia.
In January 2004, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage visited Mongolia, and President Bagabandi came to Washington for a meeting with President Bush in July 2004. President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Mongolia in November 2005. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld visited in October 2005, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert visited Mongolia in August 2005.
The election of a pro-business Democratic Party in 2009 has paved the way for the development of Mongolia’s mineral industry. Mongolia has virtually every desirable mineral resource: gold, copper, uranium, iron ore and oil. Previously, resource industries were deterred from investing in Mongolia because of political instability and punitive taxes on copper and gold profits. These taxes were repealed by President Elbegdorj Tsakhia on the eve of a deal with Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines to develop the $5 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold reserve, which is believed to be the size of Manhattan. The success of the deal has sparked international interest, and Mongolia is hoping to attract $25 billion in investments over the next five years to build the infrastructure needed to exploit its mineral wealth.
Supreme Court Ruling May Mean Millions in New Property Taxes
According to the State Department, Mongolia’s human rights problems consist of police abuse of prisoners and detainees; impunity; poor conditions in detention centers; arbitrary arrest, lengthy detention, and corruption within the judicial system; continued refusal by some provinces to register Christian churches; sweeping secrecy laws and a lack of transparency; domestic violence against women; international trafficking of persons; and some domestic cases of child prostitution.
Note: The United States established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of Mongolia on Jan 27, 1987. The Embassy in Ulaanbaatar was opened Apr 17, 1988, with Steven Mann as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. Ambassador Williams resided in the District of Columbia.
Bekhbat Khasbazar became ambassador of Mongolia to the United States on April 2, 2008. Bekhbat graduated from the Moscow Institute of International Relations in 1973 and earned a doctorate in history from the Moscow Academy of Social Sciences in 1990.
The landlocked nation of Mongolia, sandwiched between Russia and China, has long been one of the most remote and least developed places in the world. Its progress toward democracy and economic development since the end of the Cold War will likely be familiar to the career diplomat nominated by President Obama on March 5, 2012, to be the next ambassador to Mongolia.
Piper Anne Wind Campbell, daughter of Gay Campbell and David N. Campbell, a longtime director of Gibraltar Industries, which manufactures and distributes building materials. She was born circa 1966 in Buffalo, New York, and graduated Nichols School, a Buffalo prep school, in 1984. She later said her participation in a summer exchange program to Japan “definitely set me onto this career path in diplomacy.” Campbell earned a B.S. in Foreign Service with a certificate in Asian Studies at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1988, and a Masters in Public Administration at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in 1999.
She worked briefly for an organization promoting trade between Western New York and Canada prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1989. She began her career with service as a consular and administrative officer at the embassy in Manila, Philippines, followed by a stint as a general services officer providing support to the three U.S. missions in Brussels, Belgium (to the EU, to NATO and to Belgium). Campbell served in the State Department Operations Center from 1994 to 1995, and in the International Organizations Bureau from 1995 to 1996. Detailed to the civil affairs section of a UN peacekeeping mission in the Balkans from 1996 to 1998, Campbell helped the US Agency for International Development (USAID) establish an office in Eastern Slavonia, Croatia, in 1998.
After taking a one-year leave to earn her M.P.A. in 1999, Campbell covered Asian issues and Security Council reform at the U.S. Mission to the UN in New York from 1999 to 2002, and served as counselor for Humanitarian Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2002 to 2006. Campbell then served at the Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, first as deputy chief of mission, starting September 20, 2006, and then as chargé d’affaires ad interim from August 25, 2008, to January 19, 2009.
Back in Washington, Campbell served as chief of staff to Jack Lew, the deputy secretary of state for Management and Resources, until being named consul general at the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah, Iraq, on July 12, 2011.
Piper Campbell has donated $3,200 to Democratic candidates and organizations over the years, with $1,500 going to the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry and $700 to the Democratic National Committee in 2004; she also donated $1,000 to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008, according to OpenSecrets.org. An avid runner, Campbell has competed in marathons and half marathons on three continents.
Buffalo Native Nominated as Ambassador to Mongolia (Buffalo News)more