BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (February 24, 2011) – Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold took part in an introductory Mongolian class taught by Indiana University Bloomington’s Tserenchunt Legden to students at the Australian National University on the evening of February 21 via distance learning technology.
The course is offered through the ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute and is designed in part to share the two institutions’ expertise in less commonly taught languages. To date ANU has provided Indonesian language instruction to IU students. IU has offered Mongolian to ANU students. Legden is a lecturer in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Joining Legden in Bloomington were Christopher Atwood, chair of Central Eurasian Studies, and Patrick O’Meara, vice president of international affairs. Several IU students from the Department of Central Eurasian Studies who have been studying Mongolian here were also on hand.
Following self-introductions in Mongolian, the students in Bloomington and Canberra charmed the prime minister with several traditional Mongolian songs. The experience was reported across the country in Mongolia, including on its three TV channels.
Batbold was in Canberra to sign a memorandum of understanding with ANU designed to enhance education in Mongolia. Through the agreement, ANU will have greater access to resources at Mongolian National University and will increase its research capacity in Mongolian studies.