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Monday, July 29, 2013

NEWS: How to film a music documentary in Mongolia

Originally posted on POPcity - Mar 20, 2013
by Lauren Knapp

Lauren Knapp with the band Mohanik

I’m standing in a monastery located in one of the most picturesque valleys the Mongolian steppe has to offer. It’s about 10:00 am and I’ve spent the morning filming a whole crew of young Mongolians set up a makeshift recording studio in the back courtyard of one of Mongolia’s oldest standing monasteries. The young rock band, Mohanik, is just about ready to start a full day of recording.

It’s the end of August, the end of summer, and the end of my stay in Mongolia. My work has all been leading toward this final event – Mohanik recording their completely unique album in a completely unique location. I’ve spent the last several months following this band of 23-year-olds as well as several others. Today’s shoot at the monastery is one of the last pieces I need.

I landed at Chinggis (Ghengis) Khan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia just after 3:00 a.m. on October 23, 2011. My mission: to make a documentary film about a new generation of urban Mongolians by way of their music.

This was going to be a great adventure. I was alone in Mongolia with only a few key phrases at my disposal. I had been able to find almost no information about the rock scene I was hoping to make a documentary film about. And I was still not entirely sure why I’d chosen to come to the world’s coldest capital city just before winter.

More fundamentally, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I set out to make a documentary film all alone, in a foreign language, in Mongolia.

I spent the winter, which could reach a disturbing negative 40 degrees at its worst, doing my preliminary research. I went to bars to check out bands, watched YouTube videos of Mongolian pop stars, and scheduled a whole slew of initial interviews.

While I couldn’t have told you exactly what I was hoping to find in Mongolia, I knew I was looking to understand the modern music scene, find musicians who were both talented and passionate, and highlight a trend that was unique to Mongolia.

I had my kit: a Canon 60D DSLR Camera, handheld audio recorder and lavalier microphone, tripod and single light I’d bought at a camera shop in Ulaanbaatar. It was all this one-woman band could carry. I created a team of kind-hearted volunteer translators (almost all University students). And by spring, I began interviewing music producers, rock stars, anthropologists, rappers and DJs. Each new person I met put me in contact with three others. Suddenly, the Mongolian rock scene was tangible and I had become a part of it.

By spring, I had discovered my theme. After years of mimicking Western bands, Mongolian musicians were now creating something all their own. They were meshing traditional sounds, costumes and instruments with rock and pop styles to create a truly new kind of music.

The young band Mohanik was one of the best examples of this.

At first glance, Mohanik was the most Americanized of the bands I’d come across. When I met them they were playing “Johnny B. Goode” at a bar and wearing leather jackets and sunglasses. Two of the members spoke impeccable English, their practice space was covered in American movie posters, and they almost always had the Street Fighter video game on pause, ready to play. When I was with Mohanik, I felt transported back to high school or college when being in a band was more than just making music.

And so, it was particularly surprising to me when they told me about their new material. They were amassing a new collection of tunes that were unwittingly bringing out a Mongolian part of them. They were suddenly singing about wolves, mountains and ancient battlefields. Their rhythms began to sound more like shamanic drumming. They found themselves playing only in the Mongolian pentatonic (five note) scale. As they explained to me, their Mongolian soul was simply emerging through the music.

By the end of summer, they had finished writing and were ready to record. But they would not settle for a studio. Instead, they wanted to record this album in a place that felt more Mongolian. It had to be outside. Nature is a huge part of Mongolian identity. It had to have history. But it also had to have electricity and be accessible from Ulaanbaatar.

They settled on the monastery and invited me to come with them to film it.

And so, a week before I had to leave the country, I hopped in a van with the crew and took the dark, bumpy ride to one of the most peaceful places on earth.

That final two-day shoot was the culmination of so much for me. Mohanik recording that album in that monastery was a pinnacle in a storyline I’d been following for months. It was essential to my film. But it was also a personal milestone. I found myself suddenly understanding jokes the crew was telling in Mongolian. The Mohanik boys had embraced me as a friend, not just some American filmmaker.

I had finally felt a sense of belonging in this terribly foreign country, just in time for me to leave.



Word List:
  • unique: very special or unusual
  • shoot: an occasion when somebody takes professional photographs for a particular purpose or makes a film/movie
  • trend: a general direction in which a situation is changing or developing
  • tangible: that can be clearly seen to exist
  • meshing: to fit together or match closely, especially in a way that works well; to make things fit together successfully
  • impeccable: without mistakes or faults
  • amassing: to collect something, especially in large quantities
  • unwittingly: without being aware of what you are doing or the situation that you are involved in
  • culmination: the highest point or end of something, usually happening after a long time
  • pinnacle: the most important or successful part of something
Pronunciation MP3:
= unique
= shoot
= trend
= tangible
= mesh
= impeccable
= amass
= unwittingly
= culmination
= pinnacle

Monday, July 22, 2013

NEWS: Mongolia puts veg on national menu

Originally posted on Asia Times on May 7, 2013
By Michelle Tolson
ULAANBAATAR - Genghis Khan knew about hard times. The founder of the Mongol Empire, which spanned most of Eurasia until roughly 1227, Genghis and his clan had to survive on their wits and natural surroundings, often resorting to meals of "green leafy things" when food was scarce.

Today that history seems to have been lost, with most Mongolians dismissing fruits, vegetables and cultivation as "unmanly", according to Marissa Markowitz, a food security consultant with the ministry of industry and agriculture (MoIA).

Less than 1% of the country's land is used for crop production. Following the instincts of ancestors who were primarily nomadic herders, Mongolians rely on livestock for their food needs, guiding large herds across the vast grasslands of the Central Asian Steppes.

The Soviet-era meat and dairy industries that flourished here between 1921 and 1990 collapsed along with the Soviet Union, robbing Mongolians not only of the centralized economic structure that had regulated production and distribution for years, but also of major markets for their products, tipping the country towards food insecurity.

One third of households in urban provincial centers and the capital, Ulaanbaatar, were found to be food insecure in 2009, according to a seminal study by Mercy Corps.

The standard diet here is comprised of wheat, meat and rice, said Markowitz, citing reports by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Research released by the ministry of health in 2008 and 2010 revealed that a full third of the country's population of three million eat no fruits or vegetables at all.

Some of that is changing. In an attempt to curb imports and boost domestic agricultural production, the government has imposed tariffs on Russian wheat, which previously sold for less than locally produced wheat.

A grain importer named Erdenetsetseg, who operates at the Bars wholesale market in Ulaanbaatar, told IPS, "Russian flour has become almost impossible to sell because of the taxation" that has taken the price of imported flour to US$24 per 25-kilo bag, against $18 for local produce.

Though the new rule imposed by the Mongolian government has been hurting importers, who brought in 70% of the nation's wheat supply until 2008, according to the MoIA, it has given local farmers the breathing room they need to compete with imported produce.

Between 1999 and 2005, small farmers struggled to stay afloat as potato imports from China surged to 41,000 tonnes from nine tonnes, according to a report by the FAO. Today, Mongolia's wheat cultivation provides 150% of the country's needs and potato cultivation provides 140%, according to Markowitz.

Industrial-scale agriculture is also developing. The northern Selenge province now "resembles the Midwest of the United States", with kilometer after kilometer of potato fields stretching outward as far as the eye can see, Markowitz said.

Even so, this has yet to affect the lives of most of the population. Little knowledge of vegetable use stemming from a lack of access to nutritional information, doctors and health specialists contributes to their imbalanced diet, which particularly affects the one in five families living on $1.25 a day.

Vegetables and fruits are expensive compared to the monthly minimum wage of about $100. Spring is a particularly difficult period, when national food stores are depleted and prices rise steeply. During this time, local sea buckthorn berries sell for about $3-$4 a kilo; carrots for roughly $2 a kilo and tomatoes for nearly $4 a kilo.

A severe lack of storage capacity in rural areas and informal settlements known as "ger districts" - shantytowns comprised of traditional Mongolian felt tents, or yurts - exacerbates the problem, with transportation costs adding to the price.

The poverty index is 23.4% in Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with 60% of the city's one million residents living in informal settlements or shantytowns.

A fifth of Mongolian children under the age of five are stunted, according to the MoIA's statistics on malnutrition.

Experts on food security are also concerned about extreme desertification brought on by the introduction of a market-based food system, which saw herds increase by 20 million heads between 1999 and 2007.

Bringing back gardens

In light of these alarming trends, the country has recently embarked on the slow process of rebuilding its agricultural sector.

In the northwestern Songino Khairkhan district in Ulaanbaatar, in a neighborhood crowded with gers surrounded by wooden fences, a two-acre (0.8 hectare) farm flanked by snow-capped mountains is thriving. Warm greenhouses nurture vegetable seedlings and, outside, the hardy sea buckthorn bush saplings are preparing to explode into ripe orange fruit.

This is the headquarters of the Mongolian Women Farmers Association (MWFA), a volunteer-led NGO that works in all 21 of Mongolia's provinces to promote vegetable and fruit cultivation among poor families.

The climate here - cold and dry with a short growing season from May until September - is ideal for potatoes, beets, cabbage, carrots, onions and radishes, which can be stored during the long winter months when temperatures drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius.

But a survey published by the Mercy Corps showed that despite 40% of the urban poor having access to land, only 6% grow their own vegetables, and even these families cultivate the produce for their own personal use rather than additional income.

Markowitz, coordinator of the project, says the NGO has already worked with 4,500 families on "enhanced nutrition and resource conservation" and supported vegetable gardens as a "viable way to generate household income". MWFA also teaches families how to cook and preserve vegetables by canning.

The organization hopes this will reduce dependence on Russian and Chinese imports that typically flood the local market during the cold season, which lasts from October through April.

A volunteer named Tuya told IPS the farm is very popular among locals, particularly for their cultivation of sea buckthorn, which thrives in Mongolia's harsh weather and helps to stem desertification.

Over 30 grafted varieties of the plant grow in the central and northeastern parts of the country. The yellow berry, known as a "super plant", is high in vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids and can remove toxins in the body. Families freeze harvested berries in the winter, and often turn them into juice for a quick meal.

In 2007, the far-western Uvs province, considered the birthplace of wild buckthorn domestication in the 1940s, attained the coveted geographic indicator status, comparable to the Champagne region in France, which ensures a higher price for specialized produce. Today, Uvs supplies the nation with 60,000 saplings yearly, according to a FAO case study.

In addition to helping spread sea buckthorn plants, MWFA has published two books and 30 texts on agriculture, using their greenhouses as teaching aids. They also provide free classes to the local community in the surrounding ger districts.

One of the teachers, Bayraa, told IPS that classes span 20 days and instruct individuals interested in subsistence agriculture or entrepreneurs aiming to start a business. Some teachers travel to the countryside to impart knowledge of vegetable cultivation to populations in more remote provinces.

Today, Ulaanbaatar boasts over 20 vegetarian restaurants, helping to fuel a demand for local greens and reduce the impact of herding on the country.

If the expansion of agriculture here is successful, Mongolia could build a different kind of empire to Genghis Khan's - one with nutrition and food security at its core.

Word List:
  • scarce: not enough of it and it is only available in small
  • curb: to control or limit something, especially something bad
  • tariff: a tax that is paid on goods coming into or going out of a country
  • afloat: having enough money to pay debts; able to survive
  • depleted: to reduce something by a large amount so that there is not enough left
  • exacerbates: to make something worse, especially a disease or problem
  • stunted: that has not been able to grow or develop as much as it should
  • thriving: to become, and continue to be, successful, strong, healthy, etc.
Pronunciation MP3:
= scarce
= curb
= tariff
= afloat
= deplete
= exacerbate
= stunted
= thrive

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Malala Yousafzai speaks at the United Nations

Text originally posted at Independent.co.uk on July 12, 2013
Video originally posted by ABCNews on YouTube.com on July 12, 2013

Pakistani girl celebrates her 16th birthday on day she speaks to United Nations' student delegates.

Some of history’s greatest statesmen have spoken there. Today, the Assembly listened spellbound to a 16-year-old schoolgirl. These are Malala’s words

Honourable UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon, respected president of the General Assembly Vuk Jeremic, honourable UN envoy for global education Mr Gordon Brown, respected elders and my dear brothers and sisters: Assalamu alaikum.

Today is it an honour for me to be speaking again after a long time. Being here with such honourable people is a great moment in my life and it is an honour for me that today I am wearing a shawl of the late Benazir Bhutto. I don’t know where to begin my speech. I don’t know what people would be expecting me to say, but first of all thank you to God for whom we all are equal and thank you to every person who has prayed for my fast recovery and new life. I cannot believe how much love people have shown me. I have received thousands of good-wish cards and gifts from all over the world. Thank you to all of them. Thank you to the children whose innocent words encouraged me. Thank you to my elders whose prayers strengthened me. I would like to thank my nurses, doctors and the staff of the hospitals in Pakistan and the UK and the UAE government who have helped me to get better and recover my strength.

I fully support UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his Global Education First Initiative and the work of UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown and the respectful president of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic. I thank them for the leadership they continue to give. They continue to inspire all of us to action. Dear brothers and sisters, do remember one thing: Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.

There are hundreds of human rights activists and social workers who are not only speaking for their rights, but who are struggling to achieve their goal of peace, education and equality. Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I am just one of them. So here I stand, one girl among many. I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights. Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated.

Dear friends, on 9 October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends, too. They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed. And out of that silence came thousands of voices. The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born. I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. And my dreams are the same. Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I am here to speak for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists. I do not even hate the Talib who shot me.

Even if there was a gun in my hand and he was standing in front of me, I would not shoot him. This is the compassion I have learned from Mohamed, the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This the legacy of change I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

This is the philosophy of nonviolence that I have learned from Gandhi, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learned from my father and from my mother. This is what my soul is telling me: be peaceful and love everyone.

Dear sisters and brothers, we realise the importance of light when we see darkness. We realise the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way, when we were in Swat, the north of Pakistan, we realised the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns. The wise saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” It is true. The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them. This is why they killed 14 innocent students in the recent attack in Quetta. And that is why they kill female teachers. That is why they are blasting schools every day because they were and they are afraid of change and equality that we will bring to our society. And I remember that there was a boy in our school who was asked by a journalist: “Why are the Taliban against education?”He answered very simply by pointing to his book, he said: “A Talib doesn’t know what is written inside this book.”

They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would point guns at people’s heads just for going to school. These terrorists are misusing the name of Islam for their own personal benefit. Pakistan is a peace-loving, democratic country. Pashtuns want education for their daughters and sons. Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and brotherhood. It is the duty and responsibility to get education for each child, that is what it says. Peace is a necessity for education. In many parts of the world, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorism, war and conflicts stop children from going to schools. We are really tired of these wars. Women and children are suffering in many ways in many parts of the world.

In India, innocent and poor children are victims of child labour. Many schools have been destroyed in Nigeria. People in Afghanistan have been affected by extremism. Young girls have to do domestic child labour and are forced to get married at an early age. Poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism and the deprivation of basic rights are the main problems, faced by both men and women.

Today, I am focusing on women’s rights and girls’ education because they are suffering the most. There was a time when women activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But this time we will do it by ourselves. I am not telling men to step away from speaking for women’s rights, but I am focusing on women to be independent and fight for themselves. So dear sisters and brothers, now it’s time to speak up. So today, we call upon the world leaders to change their strategic policies in favour of peace and prosperity. We call upon the world leaders that all of these deals must protect women and children’s rights. A deal that goes against the rights of women is unacceptable.

We call upon all governments to ensure free, compulsory education all over the world for every child. We call upon all the governments to fight against terrorism and violence. To protect children from brutality and harm. We call upon the developed nations to support the expansion of education opportunities for girls in the developing world. We call upon all communities to be tolerant, to reject prejudice based on caste, creed, sect, colour, religion or agenda to ensure freedom and equality for women so they can flourish. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave, to embrace the strength within themselves and realise their full potential.

Dear brothers and sisters, we want schools and education for every child’s bright future. We will continue our journey to our destination of peace and education. No one can stop us. We will speak up for our rights and we will bring change to our voice. We believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the whole world because we are all together, united for the cause of education. And if we want to achieve our goal, then let us empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and let us shield ourselves with unity and togetherness.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty and injustice and ignorance. We must not forget that millions of children are out of their schools. We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright, peaceful future.

So let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first. Thank you.



Word List:
  • statesman: an experienced political leader that many people respect
  • Assalamu alaikum: an Arabic spoken greeting, often translated as 'Peace be upon you'
  • shawl: a large piece of cloth worn by a woman around the shoulders or head
  • ambitions: something that you want to do or achieve very much
  • Taliban: A fundamentalist Muslim movement whose militia took control of much of Afghanistan from early 1995, and in 1996 took Kabul and set up a radical Islamic state. The movement was forcibly removed from power by the US and its allies after the September 11, 2001, attacks
  • Talib: A member of the Taliban
  • Pashtuns: an ethnic minority speaking Pashto and living in northwestern Pakistan and southeastern Afghanistan
  • deprivations: the fact of not having something that you need, like enough food, money or a home; the process that causes this
  • ensure: to make sure
  • compulsory: that must be done because of a law or a rule
  • caste: the system of dividing society into classes based on differences in family origin, rank or wealth
  • creed: a set of principles or religious beliefs
  • sect: a small group of people who belong to a particular religion but who have some beliefs or practices which separate them from the rest of the group
  • flourish: to develop quickly and be successful or common

Monday, July 8, 2013

NEWS: From Mojave to Gobi: Sharing What Works in California to Help Guide Mongolia's Future

Originally posted at Huffington Post on April 23, 2013
By Sophie Parker, Ecoregional Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy

Mongolian government officials travel with staff from The Nature Conservancy to meet with the National Park Service during a four-day tour of the Mojave Desert to learn about Development by Design. (Photo credit: Erica Brand/TNC)

"This landscape looks very much like our Gobi Desert. I feel like I could be at home." These words were repeated numerous times by a group of visitors from Mongolia during a recent four-day field trip to the Mojave Desert in California, which was followed by a one-day trip to meet with federal and state decision makers in Sacramento.

The Nature Conservancy's goal: to share with Mongolia's senior government officials the conservation methods that we're using to protect the biodiversity of the Mojave Desert while helping to inform the siting of renewable energy development, with the hope that our strategies will be of use in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.

At 500,000 square miles, the Gobi is the fifth largest desert in the world, and nearly all of it is undeveloped. From a conservation perspective, the Gobi is not unlike the Mojave, as it is a vast, fragile and wild landscape that provides the only habitat for a few extremely rare and endangered species. In the Gobi, these include the Gobi bear and wild Bactrian camel. One can find a variety of more common and wide-ranging animals there as well, such as the gray wolf, argali wild sheep, ibex and golden eagle. The Gobi has been the home of nomadic herding people for many millennia and is the site of the discovery of the first-known fossil dinosaur eggs. So there are many good reasons to protect it for future generations.

The government of Mongolia currently faces some tough decisions, as there is unprecedented interest in developing the Gobi Desert to harvest the renewable resources of both sun and wind and to mine recently discovered copper deposits, which are some of the richest in the world. These projects will not only fragment habitat and produce pollutants, but they will also use water, which is a scarce resource in any desert.

Because the majority of the Gobi is in public ownership, the Mongolian government will decide its fate. The income to be reaped from development and mining is not trivial, but there is a strong desire on the part of the government (including the aptly named Ministry of Environment and Green Development) to plan for future development projects in ways that will not harm the ecological value of the wild landscape. They want a win-win. That's where The Nature Conservancy comes in.

Renewable Energy Done Right

California has an energy mandate to have 33 percent of the state's electrical power come from renewable sources by 2020. For the past five years, The Nature Conservancy has spearheaded a unique approach to conservation of the Mojave Desert in the face of unparalleled pressure from all sectors to develop renewable energy facilities as quickly as possible.

Through systematic, science-based, landscape-scale assessments in concert with thoughtful collaboration with decision makers, the Conservancy is providing an alternative to unplanned renewable energy development in the Mojave Desert and is helping pioneer these innovative approaches in the U.S. and beyond. Specifically, the Conservancy is tackling siting issues to guide future development of already degraded lands, working to reduce the impacts of solar panels, wind turbines and their associated infrastructure, and addressing groundwater depletion from solar facilities. With smart planning, California can develop the renewable energy it needs while simultaneously protecting iconic desert landscapes and ecology.

The Nature Conservancy spent five days sharing this smart planning approach with Mongolia's government officials in hopes that they will adopt similar strategies to guide future decisions about the Gobi Desert, so that it can continue to provide the intact landscapes and water resources upon which plants, animals and people rely.



Word List:
  • numerous: in large numbers, many
  • biodiversity: existence of a large number of different kinds of animals and plants which make a balanced environment
  • vast: extremely large in area, size, amount, etc.
  • millennia: a period of 1000 years
  • unprecedented: that has never happened, been done or been known before
  • reaped: to obtain something, especially something good, as a direct result of something that you have done
  • trivial: not important or serious; not worth considering
  • spearheaded: a leading element, force, or influence in an undertaking or development
  • in concert: together, each doing their own part
  • collaboration: the act of working with another person or group of people to create or produce something
  • pioneer: a person who is the first to study and develop a particular area of knowledge, culture, etc. that other people then continue to develop
  • degraded: to make something become worse, especially in quality
  • iconic: acting as a sign or symbol of something
Pronunciation MP3:
= numerous
= biodiversity
= vast
= millennia
= unprecedented
= reap
= trivial
= spearhead
= collaboration
= pioneer
= degrade
= iconic

Monday, July 1, 2013

NEWS: Herding Health

Originally posted on DoDLive - Mar 23, 2013
Story By Randy Roughton & Video by Andrew Breese

Despite widespread poverty and malnutrition, Lt. Col. Douglas D. Riley believes Mongolia, with its vast amount of livestock, could be Asia’s “protein basket.” Of course to reach its potential and feed the continent’s many hungry people, changes have to be made.



That’s why the Air Force veterinarian has been visiting the country. To date, he’s made four trips to Mongolia, and on his most recent visit, Riley worked with Mongolia’s armed and border forces to show veterinarians how to produce healthier herds.

“What’s really ironic is that Mongolia, being part of Asia, sits in the poorest section of the world with the most malnutrition in the world,” said Riley, who’s assigned to the 13th Air Force Cooperative Health Engagement Division. “Yet Mongolia has the ability, with its livestock alone, to feed the vast majority of Asia through the protein in the animals if the animals and the ground were managed properly.”

The Department of Defense and Air Force interest in humanitarian operations in countries like Mongolia is to foster a more stable country, one more difficult to be infiltrated by terrorists. On the ground in Mongolia, Riley hoped his work assisted this effort.

“If we can find a way to build partnerships, maybe, just maybe, at the end of the day, we won’t have to worry about country or state-on-state war,” he said. “Because we are so small a world now, through globalization and the ability to move from point to point, if we don’t find a way to tie ourselves together with an understanding, we are missing an opportunity that is far greater than any weapon we could create. We are missing an opportunity to tie societies together to better each other.”


A flock of sheep cross a road in northeastern Mongolia. Mongolia is the land of livestock with more than 30 million livestock, including 13.8 million sheep, 10.2 million goats, 3.1 million cattle, 2.6 million horses and 322,300 Bactrian camels. The livestock is permanently threatened by the fragile condition of pastureland, severe winters and endemic animal diseases. To cope in the short term, herders at the subsistence level may have to sell animals. With fewer animals they find it even harder to survive. Herders are among the poorest of the poor in Mongolia.



Word List:
  • vast: extremely large in area, size, amount, etc.
  • ironic: strange or amusing because it is very different from what you expect
  • foster: to encourage something to develop
  • infiltrated: to enter or make somebody enter a place or an organization secretly, especially in order to get information that can be used against it
  • endemic: regularly found in a particular place or among a particular group of people and difficult to get rid of
Pronunciation MP3:
= vast
= ironic
= foster
= infiltrate
= endemic