Elbegdorj Tsakhia Appointed the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow

Elbegdorj Tsakhia Appointed the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow

While at Stanford, Elbegdorj, formerly the president of Mongolia, will focus on examining strategies to support Mongolian democracy in an increasingly polarized geopolitical landscape.
Elbegdorj Tsakhia

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University is pleased to announce that Elbegdorj Tsakhia, former president and prime minister of Mongolia, has been named the new Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow at FSI, effective February 1, 2023.

The Liautaud Fellowship brings former heads of state, senior policymakers, and other eminent experts to Stanford, with the goal of promoting meaningful dialogue on the challenges world leaders face in crafting policy solutions to pressing global problems. Previous Liautaud Fellows include Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former president of Estonia, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster U.S. Army (Ret), former U.S. national security advisor, and, most recently, Oleksiy Honcharuk, former prime minister of Ukraine.

In 1990, following a peaceful transition that ended 70 years of communist rule in the country, Mongolia established itself as an electoral democracy. Despite economic and other challenges, Mongolian democracy remains robust and political rights and civil liberties in the country have been firmly institutionalized, in contrast to other countries of post-communist Eurasia that slid back to authoritarianism and political closure.

Mr. Elbegdorj was one of the key leaders of the 1990 Mongolian democratic revolution and is known as an international campaigner on democracy. During his time at Stanford, he will focus on examining paths to strengthening Mongolia’s development as an open, democratic state and its options for pursuing independent foreign policy in the midst of the geopolitical shifts brought about by the U.S.-China great power competition and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

"Mongolia made great strides as a democracy under President Elbegdorj’s leadership,” said FSI Director Michael McFaul. “He is a brave advocate for human rights and civil society, and I'm honored that he is able to join us here at Stanford."

Mr. Elbegdorj served Mongolia as a member of parliament four times, prime minister twice, and president for two terms (2009-2017). In these roles, he prioritized strengthening the rule of law in the country and advancing active participatory democracy. He also led multiple social, economic, and governance reforms. During his tenure as president, he initiated actions to promote women’s rights, support environmental sustainability, and address the impacts of air and soil pollution, significant public health issues in the Mongolian capital.

“I regard Mongolia as a democratic anchor in the East and as a depository of hope for others,” said Elbegdorj. “There is no better place than Stanford and FSI to consider Mongolia’s political experience and its strategic options in an increasingly polarized geopolitical landscape.”

Mr. Elbegdorj continues his work to advance democratic governance and a sustainable future through the Elbegdorj Institute, a think tank he founded in 2008, and his Green Belt Foundation.

As a visiting fellow at FSI, his primary affiliation is with the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC).

"I’m delighted to welcome Mr. Elbegdorj to Stanford and our center,” said APARC Director Gi-Wook Shin, the William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea and a senior fellow at FSI. “APARC and FSI have long-lasting collaborations with policymakers in Mongolia that demonstrate the power of synergy between policy research and governance. We look forward to further building on these relationships to advance policy actions that strengthen democracy in Mongolia and around the world.”

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