From left to right in Dalanzadgad, Mongolia: Jargal, Gail, the leader of the local herder's group and her son, Joni, Bataar, the two other sons of the local leader, Uska, Dawn and Bagii.
by Dawn Bazely & Carol Irving
SWiM Team Project Newsletter, March 2007
Water is essential for life on earth. As global warming increases, many areas of the world will become much drier. Sonya Nergui, a Botany Professor at the National University of Mongolia (NUM), visited York University in Spring 2006. She has been charged with heading and developing NUM's Water Research Centre in Ulaanbaatar, which will be vital in allowing Mongolia to cope with pressures on water resources.
Sonya's visit was part of an international agreement between the National University of Mongolia and York University, Canada. In the Fall of 2005, Adrian Shubert, York University's Associate Vice-President, International, signed the agreement in Mongolia.
The agreement also provides for student exchanges between the two universities. At York, Sonya was hosted by Prof. Gail Fraser in the Faculty of Environmental Studies and by Associate Dean of Science & Engineering, Paula Wilson. Dawn Bazely led a grant application to AUCC. We settled on a project about Human Security and Water. In addition to Sonya's visit, there has also been an exchange of Administrative staff between York and NUM.
How did six York University students and faculty come to be in the Little Gobi desert in Fall 2006? And, how did four Mongolian visitors come to be looking at Niagara Falls in November 2006, and commenting on it being "a lot of water!"? We all participated in the Sustainable Water in Mongolia (SWiM) project, a Students for Development project of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) that is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). We thank the AUCC and CIDA for their strong support of our project.
More stories like this one are included in the first SWiM (Sustainable Water in Mongolia) Team Project Newsletter available here for download in PDF format.