Krusekopf publishes Mongolia COVID-19 chapter

COVID Response Team in Mongolia

School of Business Prof. Charles Krusekopf recently had his book chapter "Mongolia: After Successful Containment, Challenges Remain" published in a book that is now available from Oxford University Press, Covid-19 in AsiaLaw and Policy Contexts. The book was edited by Victor V. Ramraj of the Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives at the University of Victoria, and is the the first collected volume on COVID-19 law and policy issues in Asia. The book was written in spring and summer as the pandemic was evolving, and captures initial responses to the pandemic while identifying enduring law and policy challenges. The book includes contributions by academics as well as authors with experience in diplomacy, aviation, central banks, international trade, public health agencies, journalism, software development, medicine, and climate advocacy.

The Mongolia chapter was co-written with Mendee Jargalsaikhan of the Asia Pacific Foundation, and focuses on Mongolia's great success at preventing the public health impacts of COVID-19, despite Mongolia's location close to the epicenter of the outbreak in China. However, Mongolia's public health success came at an economic cost as the country was forced to close its borders to outside visitors and trade was disrupted. Thus far Mongolia has continued to enjoy success in the battling the virus, despite a few local outbreaks, there have been no deaths from COVID-19 in the country to date. 

The country faces continuing challenges however as periodic outbreaks lead to further trade closures, and the country has vowed to not open to travellers until a vaccine is widely available. As a developing country, Mongolia may face delays as wealthier countries line up first to get the vaccine. One intersting dynamic is that both China and Russia, Mongolia's two neighbours, are engaging in "vaccine diplomacy," offering to help countries such as Mongolia gain earlier access to their vaccines in exchange for closer ties. Mongolia remains wary, however, as they fear further encroachment on their independence, however the pressure of the situation may force Mongolia to accept this bargain.

Charles Krusekopf remains engaged with Mongolia through the non-profit he founded 20 years ago, the American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS), the largest international academic research centre in Mongolia. In 2019 several RRU students participated in the ACMS Mongolia Field School, but the 2020 and 2021 Field Schools on site in Mongolia have been forced to be cancelled due to the travel restrictions. However the ACMS is planning a series of online courses related to Mongolia in spring 2021, including courses on Mongolian Buddhism, the environmental and social impacts of mining on Mongolia, and Mongolian language. The courses will be free and open to anyone who is intersted to participate due to the support of the Henry Luce Foundation. Sign up will begin in the New Year, and anyone intersted in these courses or academic opportunities related to Mongolia can follow the ACMS website or Facebook.