How Mercer students can benefit from the American Center of Mongolian Studies

Jonathan Addleton, adjunct professor in the IGS department was recently appointed as the new director of the American Center for Mongolian Studies. He joined Mercer’s staff in January after serving in U.S. Foreign Service for over 30 years.

Provided by Jonathan Addleton

Jonathan Addleton, adjunct professor in the IGS department was recently appointed as the new director of the American Center for Mongolian Studies. He joined Mercer’s staff in January after serving in U.S. Foreign Service for over 30 years.

Jayla Moody, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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Have you been dying to take a trip to Mongolia? This may be a little more possible with a new addition to Mercer’s campus.

On Oct. 1, Mercer’s Department of International and Global Studies (IGS) began serving as the new host for the American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS).

ACMS is a nonprofit educational organization established in 2004 to advance academic research, training and exchanges in Inner Asia, according to a press release.

Jonathan Addleton, adjunct professor in the IGS department, was recently appointed as the new director of the center. He joined Mercer’s staff in January after serving in the U.S. Foreign Service for over 30 years. Because the center moves around, where the director currently presides is usually where it ends up at.

He has held several positions, including U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia from 2009 to 2012 and United States Agency for International Development Mission Director in Mongolia from 2001 to 2004.

“The center itself is a part of a network of 27 centers,” Addleton said. “It’s called the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.”

The concept is that Americans benefit from studying in other countries, he said.

“ACMS is rotated. It was founded in 2004 starting at Austin College in Texas, then Western Washington University and then The University of Wisconsin,” Addleton said. “In most cases, the executive director has some affiliation with the school.”

The center is not perceived as a permanent program, but having it here opens doors for Mercer to implement research, academic and mission opportunities in Mongolia.

“From my perspective, this is also an opportunity to raise the visibility for Mongolia and Mongolian studies, and not just in Macon and Middle Georgia,’’ Addleton said.

Addleton said there are several ways Mercer students can get involved with the center.

“They fund about eight or nine fellowships every year,” he said. “Sometimes undergraduates apply, and they’re successful.”

He said he’d love at some point for there to be a Mercer on Mission trip to Mongolia.

“Mongolia is a country where many issues are played out, whether it’s history or environmental issues,” Addleton said. “In international relations, it’s a matter of interest. If you’re an anthropologist, living nomadic-herder culture is also interesting.”

He said Mongolia has issues in almost every field.

“In a variety of ways, I think there’s opportunities for the visibility, concrete things and potential programs in the future,” he said. “If it’s about changing lives, Mongolia can do that.”

Professor Eimad Houry, chair of IGS department, said one of his goals is to broaden the range of exposure for students when it comes to other cultures and other parts of the world.

“One of the areas in which we are weak is Asian studies,” he said. ‘We do have an Asian Studies minor, but currently, it is comprised of almost only Chinese language courses.”

He said even though the minor is called Asian Studies, it’s really Chinese Studies.

“The addition of possible courses on Mongolia is exciting especially for the kind of support that it offers in the Asian Studies minor area,” he said.

Houry said he hopes a Mercer on Mission trip to Mongolia will happen as early as summer 2019.

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