Gantumur Baasandorj, Tomsk State University graduate, has become the rector of Khovd State University in Mongolia. He was one of the first three international students to study at TSU after TSU and Khovd University concluded a cooperation agreement in 1996.
Gantumur Baasandorj’s first encounter with TSU was in 1996, when Aleksander Revushkin, then TSU Vice-Rector for Education, worked in a long-term expedition in Mongolian Altai. On his way back, Revushkin offered three Mongolian students to study in Tomsk, and Gantumur Baasandorj was one of them.
“They were very shy when we were going back to Tomsk, and I tried to cheer them up. We started imagining how they would be called in Russia. Ayurdzan became Yura, Degdeekhej chose the name Dasha, despite my comments that it was a female name, but Gantumur decided to keep his name, because it means ‘iron’ in Mongolian. And so he studied with his iron will under his own name,” Aleksander Revushkin reminiscences.
Students from Mongolia spent a year at TSU, following their individual curriculum. Gantumur Baasandorj focused on studying chemistry and the Russian language. They continued to cooperate with TSU after they returned to Mongolia. The partnership turned out to be very productive and resulted in numerous conferences and expeditions. Gantumur Baasandorj continued his education, became a professor, and defended a doctoral dissertation in chemistry. He had been the Vice-Rector for Research at Khovd University and in 2021 became the rector.
TSU and Khovd University are upholding their partnership 25 years later. Every two years the universities conduct a conference on the environment, history, and culture of Western Mongolia and the nearby regions. Together the universities implement retraining and continuous education programs for teachers, as well as joint expeditions with the participation of scientists from Kazakhstan and Great Britain. In addition, students and lecturers come to study at TSU.
Khovd State University, the first university in Mongolia located outside of the capital city, and now one of the best universities in Mongolia, was founded in 1989 as a Khovd State Pedagogical University and was reformed as Khovd State University in 2004. It employs more than 120 lecturers, 20% of whom have a higher academic degree and more than 60% have a master’s degree. 90% of the lecturers are either masters, Candidates, or Doctors of Science.