In this podcast episode, host Khaldun Al Saadi chats with Dulguun Batmunkh and covers a wide range of topics with her. He finds out for us what Dulguun’s study routine is and what global problem she thinks needs urgent attention.
Dulguun is a former employee of the Federal Foreign Office as well as the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Mongolia and is currently completing her Master’s in International Policy Analysis at Stanford University. She is also a Knight-Hennessy Scholar.
The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship is an internal scholarship provided by Stanford University. The aim is to prepare a new generation of global leaders to work on challenges from different perspectives and across disciplines. Dulguun brings her knowledge and experience from her work with various institutions, from government to think tanks, to the table. In doing so, on the one hand, she was able to learn a great deal about her country. On the other, she was also able to achieve goals, such as greater opportunities for young people to have a say at the political decision-making level and the networking of women in the professional field.
To get the scholarship, Dulguun had to undergo a rather unusual process with two different applications: firstly, a regular graduate degree level programme and, secondly, for the Knight-Hennessy scholarship itself, proof of various skills. For example, independent thinkers who have the ability to look at global challenges in a unique way are particularly sought-after. However, they should also be able to tackle these problems and respect others’ ways of thinking. There is also a strong emphasis on purposeful leadership and an ambition to improve the quality of people’s lives. It is important to really understand the daily challenges of society and to approach them from the position of a citizen – that “you're pretty down to earth”, as she puts it.
Khaldun also wants to know what study routine Dulguun is following for her Master’s, to which she replies, with a chuckle, that she is still searching for the best approach in this regard. Since finishing school six years ago, she first had to find her way back into studying. At Stanford, she has the opportunity, but also the challenge, of having many options and meeting very different people. As she is not currently pursuing a PhD, she is less concerned about grades. “The thing that I’m more focusing on is the experience that I’m getting here as well as learning from experts from different fields in order to just get to know what’s out there outside of my discipline,” she adds.
Khaldun would also like to know from Dulguun what global problem she has identified during her work in recent years. In her opinion, an important issue that currently receives too little attention is education. After quite some time in the development corporation sector, she has realized that there should be a focus on education policies in the future. Education has the potential to have a long-term impact on societies and thus to improve life in a sustainable way, especially in developing countries and countries of the Global South. There are major differences in the education systems of the various countries and the problems they are predominantly confronted with. The sector will change in many ways in the years to come. Life expectancy is increasing, and people are changing their professions more frequently than in the past. These disruptions mean that new ways must be found to create access to education. However, education is only one part of life and can only be improved if adjustments are made in other areas.
As always, Khaldun is also interested in what drives others. When it comes to inspiration, Dulguun has no single source, but is inspired by many different things and people. For example, she admires her mother for how she manages to go about her daily work while having so much compassion for others. She never puts herself first and is willing to make sacrifices in her personal (career) plans and needs for the good of others. Dulguun is also inspired by conversations with people who have very different stories and experiences.
New episodes of the podcast are released every three weeks. Host Khaldun seeks to get an inside look at the perspectives of young diplomats, experts and activists on the vast array of global challenges we face today by sitting down with them for a virtual cup of coffee.