MASA’s activities are guided by one general belief that an experience and knowledge is twice as strong and meaningful when shared with others and it is even more valuable when used for not only for one’s own self, but also for the betterment of others. At MASA, we believe that, taken collectively, the International Exchange Alumni network encompasses some of the nation's brightest and most visionary minds, and it is our vision to unite these people through their common experiences and common ambition to improve their society. Because, the united strength of the International Exchange Alumni network has the potential to be one of the most dynamic forces for positive change this country possesses.
Therefore, in light of the alumni spirit of knowledge sharing and community-oriented philosophy, MASA supports its members and other alumni of U.S. universities to share their expertise and experience with the alumni community and the larger public as part of our modest return to the society.
A big thanks to our alumni members for their continued effort and initiative in “giving back” to their communities and for their consistent support to MASA.
We encourage and invite any U.S. alumni as well as anyone else who wants to contribute to creating a positive society to join us and assist with our activities
General Area of Activities
MASA’s overall mission is to promote the bilateral relationship between Mongolia and the U.S. in all sectors and to encourage and support alumni initiatives and effort for societal and community development. All MASA activities are governed and guided by this general mission. MASA’s board is elected every two years and upon its appointment, each new board selects one specific area to focus on during its term in the next two years. Ever since its establishment, MASA has been working mainly in the area of community support and volunteerism, with special emphasis on promoting the concept of “equal opportunities” for everyone, including the people with disabilities. Given the association‘s previous success and experience in the disability field, the current board of MASA agreed that in the two years of its term (from 2011-2013), the association should continue to pursue this field and work to create an inclusive society in Mongolia. For, one of the common wisdoms we all learn and experience in the U.S. is the value of social diversity and how this understanding of diversity leads to Equal Opportunities for everyone, including people with disabilities. “Real development comes only when everyone has an opportunity to participate. Physical and conceptual barriers should be fought in order to ensure diversity and democracy in our society. And we as Mongolian U.S. alumni should be the one of the first to raise this issue and take a step”- Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa, President, MASA.
Projects We Did
Since 2007, we have conducted over ten major projects and activities and visited 10 provinces of Mongolia with the U.S. Embassy staff promoting Educational and professional development opportunities in America and conducting cultural outreach at local orphanage and disability centers and schools. For more information on our activities, please see below.”
“Equal opportunities and disability advocacy”
“In this area, we organized four major projects/events so far:
One of the reasons behind the general lack of understanding about the people with disabilities is the significant underrepresentation of the voices of people with disabilities in every social circle. These people do not have much chance to socially integrate due to lack of educational, employment and most importantly infrastructural barriers. For example, there are virtually no roads, public places and transportation that are accessible for people who use wheelchairs or have other disabilities. Therefore, the key to rectifying the current situation of the disabled in Mongolia is to empower the motivated members of the disabled community so that they can voice the needs and the interests of the disadvantaged.
To this end, in summer and winter of 2009 MASA organized two highly successful English training camps for a group of physically disabled people. This English training was a clear demonstration of the determination and motivation of these people to learn, to create, and to become leaders and motivators in their communities despite the towering wall of difficulties they face at every step. Motivated by this training, five of the physically disabled people who took part in this training, applied for a short-term exchange program called Volunteer Visitor program in 2010 and received a chance to tour the U.S. for two weeks along with another five of their fellow friends learning about disability advocacy and infrastructure in the U.S.
On June 3rd, 2010, the Mongolian U.S.G. Alumni Association in association with Wind Bird, an NGO that works on the behalf of disabled people, and Education TV, a non-profit television network, organized a Children’s Day event at the Children’s Palace for more than 300 Mongolian children in an effort to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the national holiday for children. The theme of the event, “Inclusive Not Exclusive”, was selected in order to promote the idea to Mongolia’s younger generation that their many differences are what truly contribute to a more meaningful, dynamic and worthwhile society. As one of the attendees put it, “If we ignore our differences, it would be like living in a house that had only one window.”
The Mongolian Association of State Alumni (MASA) organized a highly successful fundraising event on May 13, 2011 – raising $15,000 to support the summer program of "TRY Asia in Mongolia."
TRY Asia is an international event that promotes social awareness and acceptance of disabled people. This annual program has previously taken place in seven different Asian countries, and was hosted in Mongolia in June 2011 by The Universal Development Independent Living Center for Disabled, an NGO headed by Mr. Undrakhbayar, an alumnus of a U.S. State Department Voluntary Visitor Program. The event hosted 76 people from seven Asian countries and The group traveled around Mongolia for a total of 10 days during which they traveled on public transportation and visited schools, businesses, government agencies and public institutions to raise awareness of disability issues.
Please read more here (you can find the story and photos in the newsletter)
Empowering Physically Disabled Mongolians in the Work Force:
Since its formation in 2007 MASA has played an important role in connecting alumni and bringing them together through its consistent efforts for promoting equal opportunities for the people with disabilities in Mongolia. As part of our commitment to this cause, we have developed a proposal to create a database/web platform for connecting employers with potential skilled employees from the community of people with physical disabilities. We submitted our proposal for funding to the Alumni Affairs Office of the U.S. State Department and it was selected for funding from out of more than 700 project ideas from alumni throughout the world. This project aims at empowering physically challenged Mongolians in the work force through raising Employment and Business opportunities for them.
This project aims to raise public awareness of the human rights, motivate private and public organizations to employ persons with disabilities, support businesses and services of the disabled, as well as locate skills and services in demand. Mongolian Association of State Alumni (MASA) will develop a national employment and demographics database of physically challenged in Mongolia; establish a web based social map, which will facilitate greater communication within the community as well as future employers; train non-profits to keep the database and web based social map up to date; and organize “Job Fair for Disabled” in July 2012. The association is recruiting partners and volunteers who wish to collaborate on this project and if you are interested in supporting this project, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Outreach in Education and Scholarships
MASA also works in close collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar to promote opportunities for studying in the U.S. on scholarship programs to our Mongolian youth and professionals. We organize visits to rural parts of Mongolia to spread the word about scholarship opportunities and encourage our rural youth and professionals to take advantage of them. We also organize lectures at universities in Ulaanbaatar and conduct radio talk shows about the scholarships and our alumni share their experience of participating in them.”