Racial identity in Mongolia as a foreigner

My final article at the UB Post, unedited version. My boss requested that I write an article detailing particular impressions I had of Mongolia as a foreigner, but this wound up being a piece on Asian-American identity and the ambiguous place of Asian adoptees in ethnic communities. Link to original is currently unavailable.

When I first arrived, I hopped in a taxi with a Mongolian cab driver who spoke no English. He was a cheery fellow, blasting and humming along to 1960s radio tunes.

While we were waiting in traffic, he asked me something in rapid Mongolian. I shook my head and said I didn’t understand. He said more slowly, “Bi, mongold. Chi?”

“Bi mongold bish,” I replied, the only sentence I knew at the time. He demanded, what was I, then – Japan? Korea? Mexico? I told him, “American.”

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UNFPA battles domestic violence with family planning and education

Article from earlier this summer containing an interview with Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative of Mongolia. Original can be found here

Recently, the UNFPA released both its “Breaking the silence for equality: 2017 National Study on Gender-based Violence in Mongolia” and a statement on reproductive resource availability by Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA representative, at the National Consultative Meeting on Reproductive Health and Family Planning. In the following interview, Kitahara discusses the progress of Mongolia in the areas of family planning and reproductive health, as well as the responses, challenges, and future plans of the UNFPA in regards to gender-based violence and human rights.

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Young Mongolian entrepreneurs ‘activate’ the economy

Unedited version of an article on the UNDP’s Activated2030 initiative in Mongolia to bolster the economy in a sustainable manner. Original can be found here.

In late 2017, the UNDP launched Activated2030. This program identifies prevailing attitudes and entrepreneurial tendencies among young Mongolians. The UNDP hopes to improve general perception of startup culture and to encourage youth entrepreneurship.

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Implementing gender sensitivity in disaster relief

This article contains excerpts from my interview with Bjorn Andersson from the UNFPA Asia-Pacific region. It addresses disaster relief in the context of recent flooding in Mongolia. Link to original article is currently unavailable.

Following a few days of downpour this past week, several roads in the Bayanzurkh District of Ulaanbaatar have been severely damaged, raising safety concerns for residents amidst flooding. The capital authorities have issued several notices of evictions to unauthorized families and entities located in at-risk zones, but reportedly, they have refused to move.

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Foreigner’s perception of Naadam and women

Article written for the UB Post during Naadam, detailing my impressions as a foreign woman and addressing the progress of gender equality in the nation as well. Link to original currently unavailable. Picture credits to Sebastian Zusi.

For Naadam, the city bloomed with silk and color. Mongolians wore deels with bright hues and intricate patterns. By the National Stadium, people milled about on the grounds, drifting from tent to tent with khuushuur in their hands. And inside the Naadam grounds, on the field, there were four women. They all wore blue cotton deels and straw-colored hats, and they marched up to the line that marked their position. They raised their bows, pulled back the string, and then an arrow hurtled through the air. They were beautiful and graceful.

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Economic value of dogs for Mongolia

An article addressing strays and the potential benefits of canines for Mongolia. Link to original article is currently unavailable.

I recently went to Gandan Monastery to take photos with a couple of friends. There, we befriended a stray dog. She served as a model for our pictures and as a new friend. However, upon exiting the temple, we were dismayed to see several locals come up to the dog and scream at her. One man even started looking for stones to pelt at her.

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Peace Corps volunteers bridge American and Mongolian culture

An article featuring the Peace Corps and a couple of their projects, initiatives, etc. Original can be found here.

Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Mongolia since 1991, with more than 1,100 volunteers teaching English as a foreign language, supporting health and community development, and bridging American and Mongolian cultures.

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The rise of Pawling bread

Written for the inaugural issue of The Pawling Record, April 2017. Link to original article is currently unavailable.

Flour, water, salt, and wild yeast are all Cynthia Kinahan needs to bake the perfect bread – no pun intended.

Since its recent expansion to the store on 10 East Main Street, the already widely-popular micro-bakery has surged in renown. On Saturdays from 9:30am to noon, shoppers wander in to smell the sweet aroma of freshly baked sourdough. They try the buttery, fluffy brioche or a slice of nutty sesame bread and fall in love with the taste of home-made artisanal bread.

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Embracing the future: PHS Class of 2017

Coverage of the Pawling High School 2017 graduation ceremony. Link to original article is currently unavailable.

On Friday, June 23, at 6:30 p.m., the doors to the Pawling High School gym opened to admit a long line of high school seniors just moments away from graduation. They were greeted by a vast audience assembled to welcome the Class of 2017 to their collective future. It would be an evening to celebrate the achievements of each student and, to borrow from an admonishment of Henry David Thoreau, to encourage them to “go confidently in the direction of their dreams,” while embracing the uncertainty of the future.

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A taste of home: five things to send your kid in college in the darkest months of the year

Written for The Pawling Record to help bolster local business and to save college students from the ramen rut (which I still have not escaped). Original can be found here

Now that the holidays are over and the wrapping paper put away, the last thing on your mind is probably sending gifts. But by now, your college student has returned to school – and we’re still hungry. Care packages are always welcome, regardless what time of the year it is. Especially care packages with food from regional farms or local businesses. Dining hall fatigue is real, and second semester is exactly when we quit the meal plan in favor of instant ramen. Here are some recommendations for items you can send by mail to your college student to improve their culinary experience at university and possibly save them from a lifetime addiction to ramen.

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