Mongolia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Yondon Otgonbayar?

Thursday, June 21, 2018
Yondon Otgonbayar (photo: Neil Gaudet, NRGI)

Yondon Otgonbayar, a long-time member of his country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented his credentials to President Donald Trump as Mongolia’s ambassador to the United States on March 28, 2018. He had nominated to the position on May 25, 2017.


Otgonbayar was born August 3, 1965. He attended School #52 in Ulaanbaator, Mongolia’s capital, before serving a hitch in the army as a member of the 282nd Infantry Regiment. In 1983, he left for the Moscow Institute of Foreign Relations, finishing in 1989. He returned to that school later, in 2005, and added a Ph.D. He also earned a post-graduate diploma at the School of Marketing and Management in New Delhi, India, in 1995.


Otgonbayar joined Mongolia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1989 as first secretary in the Department of Asia. In 1991, he was sent to India as second secretary in the embassy in New Delhi. Otgonbayar was then put in the Department of International Organizations and served in 1996-1997 in Mongolia’s mission to the United Nations.


In 1997, Otgonbayar left government to be the CEO and director of Bayangol Hotel. He returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2000 as first secretary in the Department of Policy Planning and the following year was made foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Nambaryn Enkhbayar.


Otgonbayar left the Foreign Ministry in 2004 to become secretary general of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP), now the Mongolian People’s Party. At the time, Mongolia was doing a lot of trading with China after years of being a client state of the Soviet Union. Otgonbayar worked to encourage trade with the United States, Japan, South Korea and the European Union as well. In 2006, Otgonbayar added leadership of the Ulaanbaator branch of the MPRP to his party duties.


Otgonbayar was made minister of education, culture and science in 2008. He was elected to parliament in 2012 from Bulgan, a province along the border with Russia. In 2016, Otgonbayar was named vice minister of education, culture, science and sports, a post he held until going to Washington.


Otgonbayar is married and has two children. He speaks English, Russian and Hindi.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More

Curriculum Vitae (pdf) 

Mongolia’s Shifting Ties: More China, Less Russia (by James Brooke, New York Times)

Official Announcement


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