x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Beyond

This event occurred on
September 22, 2012
10:30am - 7:00pm ULAT
(UTC +8hrs)
Ulaanbaatar, 1

TED is all about Ideas Worth Spreading. TEDxUlaanbaatar is an independently organized TED event, operated under license from TED worldwide. We are based in the capital city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar.

Our first event was held in August 2011 and was a landmark event - the first TEDx event ever held in Mongolia. We brought together some of the greatest minds and hearts from around the country, featured amazing speakers and performers, and inspired attendees, volunteers, and participants around the world. Our theme for TEDxUlaanbaatar 2011 was LEGACY: Honoring Tradition, Designing the Future.

Our speakers presented on topics ranging from Mongolian history to traditional intellectual puzzles, modern Mongolian hip-hop to timeless traditional music, and from the children of Ulaanbaatar’s streets to the country’s aggressive economic future. In our first TEDxUlaanbaatar event, we debutted Mongolia to the TED community, focusing on Mongolia’s rich past and promising future.

Our second annual event will be held in May 2012 and this year, we will look at Mongolia through a different lens. Our theme for TEDxUlaanbaatar 2012 is Beyond...

This year's event will look beyond today and toward tomorrow. Beyond plans and toward action. Beyond progress and toward sustainability. We want to know what is next for the economy, the environment, art, technology, and design in Mongolia.

We look forward to joining in this exciting vision with you. Thank you for visiting!

Blackbox Theatre, Khoroo 15
Ulaanbaatar, 1, 976
See more ­T­E­Dx­Ulaanbaatar events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.


Social Entrepreneur. Founder and CEO of NOMSYS, a community involved wireless internet service provider serving the underdeveloped communities of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Vice-President of the Ulaanbaatar City Council, actively engaged in improving the city of Ulaanbaatar. Secretary-General of the Mongolian Wrestling Federation


Bonnie Nelson is currently a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Mongolia, working as an English teacher at the Sukhbaatar branch of the Mongolian University of Science & Technology. In addition to teaching English, she is working on several community development projects in Baruun-Urt, including United English, The Good Father Project, and Awesome Mongolia. Before coming to Mongolia in June 2011, Bonnie obtained her Master's degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies while working as a service-learning liaison at the University of Washington. There she helped coordinate service-learning partnerships between nonprofit and campus organizations, faculty, and students. Bonnie also served as a team leader in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps from 2008 to 2009. As the creator of EverydayService.org, she loves encouraging others to change the world through service.


Aldarmaa Baatarjav grew up in the countryside of Sukhbaatar Aimag outside of Baruun-Urt. In her adulthood, she has watched Baruun-Urt experience dramatic development and growth and is actively focused on ensuring that education and opportunities for youth in the aimag are improving at the same rate. After being an English teacher at a local school and then university for 12 years, she is now the foreign language methdologist for all of the schools in Sukhbaatar Aimag. Aldarmaa was recently selected as the representative for the entire country of Mongolia to participate in an American Embassy sponsored trip to America along with other educators from around the world. She is the founding dean of Awesome Sukhbaatar and was the co-chair of the Good Father Project. When Aldarmaa is not traveling around the aimag working with the English and Russian teachers, you can catch her teaching English on the local SB Television network or spending time with her two sons and husband.


Galbadrakh Janchiv was a standout student, who majored in Physics, at Department of Theoretical Physics of National University of Mongolia. He earned his Master's degree from University of Yamagata (JPN) specializing in "Renovation of Mongolian High School System." It was his dream to lead Mongolian young generation to the world standard education and he worked hard to make his dream come true. Galbadrakh built Mongolian first 12 year high school and its students and teachers are constantly getting scholarships and benefits to study in Japan. He never had to get a loan or government fund to build "New Mongol" high school. The school was completely built on friendship and trust of Japanese people, they still continue to help him and sponsorship his students. We think he is a perfect example of how one can make his dream come true, and look beyond growth.


Julia Leijola is driven by a fascination for humanity and the many cultures it has birthed during our specie's relatively short existence on this planet. She turned her fascination into a passion by travelling on her own around the Northern Hemisphere. As a third culture kid, she has spent most of her life trying to understand why people fail to understand each other, and how this failure shapes our international relationships in an ever more globalized world. She has worked as a journalist and photographer, and obtained a Master’s degree in Anthropology at Cambridge (UK) specialising in issues surrounding development in contemporary Mongolia. Combining her enthusiasm for Mongolia and the media, she is now producing her first documentary project, which aims to provide better and more in depth knowledge to decision makers on all levels - from politicians to herders - to help them move beyond development as it stands today.


Robert Reid began his duties as Resident Country Director/Mongolia for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in 2008. He manages the $285 million Mongolia MCC Compact focused on helping Mongolians to increase their incomes by becoming healthier and better trained, and by using their land assets more productively. Prior to MCC, he was USAID's Senior Development Advisor to the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida where his overall objective was to strengthen both Department of Defense (DOD) and USAID planning and operations in SOCOM through improved coordination and joint action between the two organizations. In his previous assignment as the Chief of Operations for the Europe, Mediterranean and Asia Region of the Peace Corps, Robert worked with staff in Washington and 21 countries that stretched from Morocco to Mongolia to the Philippines to develop agency and regional policies, as well as to direct and implement programs involving 2000+ Volunteers and staff. Before coming to Washington, Robert started the Peace Corps/Crisis Corps program in Bosnia & Herzegovina, and also served with Peace Corps as the Country Director in Uzbekistan and Jamaica, the Programming and Training Officer in the Dominican Republic, the acting Administrative Officer in the Dominican Republic, the Training Director in Tuvalu, Project Director in Fiji, Rural Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji and Community Development Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Many of these positions involved initial start-ups, or improvement to programs, financial management and staff development. Robert also worked with USAID as a Program Manager, first in Bosnia & Herzegovina and then in Macedonia, with the responsibility of starting up a multi-ethnic activity with a grants program component for channeling critically needed funds throughout the country and stimulating civil society formation and enhanced multiethnic cooperation. As head of the USAID reconstruction office for the US Sector in Bosnia & Herzegovina, he led efforts to form the interagency working group and to create joint policy and communications among the international military forces, the USG, other diplomatic missions, NGOs and local officials. Robert started his international development career as a Peace Corps Volunteer, helping to form local community groups to assess community needs. Robert has a BA from the University of Michigan and a Master of International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management. During his five years with non-profits, Robert worked on USAID and other donor funded activities, including an assignment as Field Office Director of Save the Children in Tajikistan during that country's war in the 1990's. In all non-profit positions, he was the driving force behind bringing more professionalism to programming, training and administrative management.


Jambalsuren Zolbayar, commonly known as Amai (his artist name) was born on June 28th, 1979 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, during the communist time into an intellectual elite family (his father is a university teacher and his mother is an economist). He grew up in Ulaanbaatar however soon the family moved to the Soviet Union to the city of Irkutsk because of his father`s work. There he studied in a Soviet school for four years until the age of twelve, learning the Russian language and culture from very early on. After communism collapsed and relations between the two countries died down, the family had to return to Mongolia. In 1991 Amai entered the very elitist high school N°23. This was the time when the iron curtain fell, after 70 years of ideological brainwash and communist autarky, letting him discover Western culture with the greatest interest and enthusiasm. During the same time he watched his homeland spiraling down endlessly into an economic and political crisis. He and most Mongols got blinded by the glittering lights of New York, Tokyo and Paris, forgetting about Mongolia`s rich heritage. After having graduated from high school in 1997 and upon realizing Mongolia`s backwardness in comparison to other more modern and developed nations, Amai became an avant-garde artist and musician, promoting electro music and thereby giving the youth, Mongolia`s lost generation, a chance to see the world with different eyes. At the same time while both working at Andrew Style FM, the Mongolian-based Mongolian-Ukrainian radio station as well as managing the UFO Nightclub in Ulaanbaatar, Amai studied at the Mongolian National University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Foreign Affairs in Japanese Studies. Soon after, he enrolled in the Academy of Business and Administration of Mongolia and the Mongolian University of Culture. In addition, to satisfy his endless curiosity Amai took multiple courses, as for example electricity, computer sciences, traditional Mongolian music, design, video editing and photography. Amai was able to fully express himself by means of the progressively managed studio he created with the help of family investments. His goal was to promote new movements through music, video, design, events and other forms of expression to open the mind of the “lost generation” he once belonged to as well. In 2001, Amai laid the foundation for the “Club 21” movement with the goal to unify all people who liked electro music. His idea was not only to promote the vibrant electro music culture but to go far, further and beyond and bring more ideas from abroad, not to simply copy and follow, but to understand, learn and create. “Club 21” organized several well-known PR events involving and uniting Mongolia’s leading musicians, bands, DJ`s and models. Thus in 2005, Amai was nominated as “Best Event Promoter” because of his thoughtful ideas and innovative projects. Further on, Amai went into production and started to produce the TV program “Club 21”. The idea behind this project was to show to Mongol people the most intriguing clubs, parties and fashion trends to be found throughout the world. Shootings took place in cities like Singapore, Tokyo, Moscow and Chicago. The programs were edited for broadcast but the project was quickly stopped by censorship after its first broadcast because Mongolian society was not ready to accept what they interpreted as the promotion of alcoholism and bad morals. Amai composed and released three albums: “I Love You” (2002), “Who Am I” (2003) and “Indigo” (2005). The latter of which was available for free download on Internet to underline that artist are not merchants. Through the electro music culture Amai learned more about modern Western culture and experimented with several fusions of the two totally different cultures to create something new. For him it has been the only way to prevent ancestral cultures from disappearing under the pressure of globalization. Furthermore, Amai believes that this is also a way to make the world understand and feel Mongolia and see it in a different light.


Paleontologist Bolortsetseg is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and founder of the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs (ISMD). Her lifelong interest in paleontology was kindled by her father, also a paleontologist, at a young age. She went on to receive B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, a Ph.D. from the City University of New York, and postdoctoral training at the Museum of the Rockies. Bolortsetseg has led numerous expeditions to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia to collect fossilized dinosaurs and mammals, and along the way she has discovered new fossil species and previously unknown fossil localities. With the staff of the ISMD, she has engaged children and their teachers in outreach projects that seek to educate Mongolians about the rich fossil history of their country, including the first outreach project in the Gobi Desert. Most recently, she has been closely involved with Mongolia’s efforts to repatriate a nearly complete skeleton of Tyrannosaurus baatar (also known asTarbosaur baatar) that was illegally collected and exported from Mongolia. Although the fate of this skeleton has not been decided, this specimen has raised awareness in Mongolia of the vast fossil resources of that country. Bolortsetseg sees this as an important opportunity for Mongolians to take control of the fossil history of their country and to map out a future for Mongolian paleontology that balances scientific discovery with dinosaur tourism.


Booway Balhaajav used to be the president and CEO of NaranGroup. Booway brings over 10 years of experience in business development, entrepreneurship, strategic planning, financial analysis, and market research in the financial services, healthcare, and IT industries; as well as an additional 6 years in international diplomacy. An expert financial modeler himself, he has developed over 100 models so far, including pro forma projections for over dozen startups, evaluations, budget planning, sales forecasting, revenue models, cost analysis and operations metrics. He served as CEO at a $14 million, 100-person debt settlement company, guiding it through turnaround during this period that evolves rapidly evolving federal and state regulatory changes and increasing competitive pressure. In this role, he identified and implemented a $500,000/year cost saving and marketing efficiency improvement initiative and realized $3 million in new revenue opportunities. Previously, he spent three years advising startups; co-founded a financial services company; performed international business development at GTech Corporation (the world's largest transaction processing company); consulted to Fortune 500 financial services and healthcare companies at Symmetrix; and conducted financial analysis at Allmerica Financial. Booway earned his MBA from Harvard Business School, and his MA and BA in Linguistics from Moscow Linguistics University. Booway has been working as an Advisory Board member of The New Media Marketing Agency since 2011 focusing on developing the Agency’s brand and increasing competitiveness at the world level while contributing to the field of new media marketing.


Christa has had life-long passions for science, education, and travel – all of which have shaped her career path. After graduating from Penn State with a Bachelors’ in Astronomy & Astrophysics, Christa joined Teach for America, a corps of recent college graduates who dedicate two years to teach in under-resourced public schools. She went on to obtain her PhD in Atmospheric Sciencefrom the University of Colorado, where she studied what the atmosphere was like billions of years ago when life first formed. Pursuing more contemporary research for her postdoctoral work, Christa developed and is implementing a two-year field campaign to study air pollution in Ulaanbaatar through funding from a Fulbright Grant and an NSF International Research Fellowship. She is affiliated with the University of Colorado and the National University of Mongolia. She is also a PEER (NSF + USAID initiative) partner with Prof. Lodoysamba at NUM on an air pollution and health impacts study. While in Mongolia, Christa has developed several outreach projects, the newest of which is a mentoring program called Global Science Share that pairs scientists abroad with scientists in developing countries in order to forge new international collaborations and improve mentees’ technical writing.

Organizing team


Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


Brattleboro, VT, United States
  • Narantuguldur Saijrakh
  • Uyanga Vladimir
    Communication lead & MC
  • Batzorig Regzen
    Design lead
  • Joe Flasher
    IT, Attendees & Volunteers lead
  • Angarag Myagmar
    Venue lead
  • Tsendmaa Gan-Erdene
  • Tsendsuren Batsuuri
    Attendees & Volunteers
  • Daniel Cherry
    Speakers lead
  • Nomin Tuvsanaa
    Sponsorship lead
  • Bolor Bataa
    IT team
  • Neal Detert
    Logistic Lead
  • Tsetsegjargal Bat-Erdene
    Logistics & Stage design