Remarks for the Signing of the Renewed Binational Fulbright Foreign Student Program Funding and Services Agreement

Ambassador Michael S. Klecheski
Government Palace, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
January 27, 2022

Thank you to Minister Enkh-Amgalan and the Ministry of Education, Vice President of Fulbright Student and Scholar Programs Mr. Edward Monks and the Institute of International Education (IIE), to my friend Anand from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and to all who came to witness the signing of the renewed Bi-national Fulbright Foreign Student Program agreement.

This is a big day, because on January 27th, 35 years ago, our two countries established diplomatic ties. We will celebrate this in many ways over the coming year. Today’s ceremony is a perfect way to mark this particular day for three reasons: one, because cooperation in education has been a core element of these 35 years of diplomatic ties; two, because Fulbrighters have contributed mightily to Mongolia and the United States in those years; and three, because we are signing an agreement not just to continue but to expand the program’s possibilities, creating new opportunities for the years ahead – you might say for the next 35 years.

This renewed agreement reaffirms the shared commitment of the United States and Mongolia to providing high quality educational opportunities for Mongolian students and to building lasting ties between U.S. and Mongolian institutions.

In addition, this renewed agreement formally terminates the collateral requirement previously imposed on program participants, thus opening the scholarship to all Mongolian students, regardless of economic status.

The Fulbright program opened in Mongolia 28 years ago. The first Mongolian Fulbright Visiting Scholar traveled to the United States in 1994, and the first Mongolian Fulbright Foreign Student in 1995.  Since then, the United States has supported nearly 400 Fulbright exchanges between our two countries.

In 2009, the United States and Mongolia initiated discussions to establish a bi-national Fulbright Foreign Student Program and signed the agreement on December 15, 2010.  Since then, the program has enabled more than 100 Mongolians to pursue graduate studies in the United States in a wide range of fields, including education, environmental science, public health, geology, engineering, and more.

As part of our commitment to education and exchange, the United States offers around 120 scholarships and exchanges every year in Mongolia – an investment of over $2 million annually in our shared future.

The Fulbright program’s diverse and dynamic network of scholars, alumni, and global partners fosters mutual understanding between the United States, Mongolia, and the 160 partner nations, advances knowledge across communities, and improves lives around the globe.

The United States and Mongolia remain committed to strengthening the bonds between the peoples of our two great nations in order to promote peace and prosperity for all.