Economics and Business, Politics

Mongolia in the Shadow of China’s New Normal: Why I’m Still Optimistic

Two articles ago, I wrote about China’s New Normal. If you haven’t read it, please refer to it now since it explains the background for this post. A quick review: China is transitioning from a cheap-labor manufacturing economic base to a service-oriented consumer economy. If done right, China will finally take its place as a… Continue reading Mongolia in the Shadow of China’s New Normal: Why I’m Still Optimistic


“As Much as 75% of Mongolia is at Risk of Desertification”

If you haven't seen this series by photographer Daesung Lee about the effects of climate change on Mongolia, then you're welcome because you're going to see it now. By placing past images of the countryside alongside the current landscape, he forces the audience to acknowledge the fearsome consequences of climate change. According to the article… Continue reading “As Much as 75% of Mongolia is at Risk of Desertification”

Economics and Business, Politics

What’s up with China’s New Normal?

For a while now, China has been reassuring us all that the slowdown in its growth engine is all part of this conversion into a more consumer-oriented society, rather than the cheap-labor, cheap-goods factory machine that it has become known for. Rocketed by a burgeoning middle-class, there is now a new China in town.  This is a China… Continue reading What’s up with China’s New Normal?


UB’s Air Pollution Dilemma and Affordable Smart Air Filters comes to UB

With the waning of the summer, the nights are getting longer and the weather is getting colder. Before long, the winter will be upon us, which means that temperatures will precipitously dip into -30-40 Celsius, and thick blankets of snow will cover the hilltops. It also means that the crisp Mongolian air will soon become… Continue reading UB’s Air Pollution Dilemma and Affordable Smart Air Filters comes to UB

Economics and Business, Society and Culture


For anyone doing research on Mongolia, especially on the economic side of things, I'm sure that the World Bank database ( is a familiar friend. For those of you who didn't know that fun fact, go there immediately to revel in the amount of data that the World Bank has collected and compiled into a… Continue reading Upper-Middle-Income-Ish

The Greenhouse Project - 2014

The Last of the Greenhouse Project, International Development and the Future

Hello everyone - Thank you for all of your support. We are very proud of the work that we have been able to accomplish in Khongor, and could not have done it without the support of the Davis Projects for Peace, the Center for Global Engagement at Kenyon, the 14th School students, teachers and staff,… Continue reading The Last of the Greenhouse Project, International Development and the Future

Society and Culture

Mongolia. Much Exotic. You Like, Yes?

In those rare times when Mongolia does happen to make it onto the pages of global newspapers and magazines, there is something that the well-trained editors and writers sitting behind the desk invariably do. They emphasize the incredible(ly trite) contrast between the old and the new as evidenced by any number of things around Ulaanbaatar. "Ah, yes,… Continue reading Mongolia. Much Exotic. You Like, Yes?

The Greenhouse Project - 2014

Purpose. Philosophy.

There are some thoughts that always return to me in cycles, some thoughts that are now like good friends, loyal customers or terrifying stalkers. They keep me company through the quieter moments in my life, or they keep me up, raising my pulse, triggering an anxiety attack. As you can discern, these companions bear a… Continue reading Purpose. Philosophy.

The Greenhouse Project - 2014

Workshop 1 a Success!

Tee and I held workshop 1, which centered around eating healthy and exercising regularly, last Thursday. We had about 30 kids show up, all interested in what we were doing and teaching. We first talked about the food pyramid, and then about portions. During the middle, two nurses from Darkhan came and talked about general… Continue reading Workshop 1 a Success!

Society and Culture

The Looming Diabetes Epidemic

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading causes of death in Mongolia. Non-communicable means that these diseases are not transmitted from person to person. Frequently, they are of long duration and slow progression, such as heart disease, cancers, respiratory disease and diabetes. According to WHO, low and middle income countries account for 80% of NCD deaths,… Continue reading The Looming Diabetes Epidemic

The Greenhouse Project - 2014

The Greenhouse Project – Update

As I mentioned earlier, my friend Tee and I are in Mongolia this summer on a grant from the Davis Projects for Peace initiative by The Davis Foundation. We are happy to announce that construction of the greenhouse has been completed! Construction and materials were bought from a Korean company  by the name of Evergreen… Continue reading The Greenhouse Project – Update

Society and Culture, The Greenhouse Project - 2014

Mongolia’s Health Crisis

Some information to consider: Mongolia has the number-one prevalence of liver cancer in the world, with 78.1 cases per 100,000 people; for males, the rate is 97.8 cases per 100,000 cases, and for females, the rate is 61.1 cases per 100,000 cases. The second highest prevalence of liver cancer is in Lao PDR, but consider… Continue reading Mongolia’s Health Crisis

The Greenhouse Project - 2014

The First Steps

Airports have become something of a common haunt for me. After making the 14+ hour trip between the US and East Asia several times, I have gotten used to the strangely formal atmosphere of air transit. You're stuck together in a metal container that can miraculously lift off the ground despite the tons it must… Continue reading The First Steps