DAI’s Jim Winkler Highlights Higher Education and Workforce Development at North America-Mongolia Business Council

April 21, 2015

As the rising youth population in Mongolia comes of age, the American University of Mongolia (AUM) can prepare them to contribute to their country’s economic development while helping businesses—fueled by mining-related growth—to meet their urgent need for a trained workforce.

In a speech April 21 to the 25th Anniversary Annual General Meeting of the North America-Mongolia Business Council, Jim Winkler, DAI senior trade and investment advisor and AUM board member, noted that the poorly trained workforce in Mongolia has created a significant barrier to economic growth and sustainable development.

“Business and government leaders in Mongolia are realizing that their employees need not only modern technical knowledge, but also the soft skills such as leadership, communications, critical thinking, and a commitment to excellence,” Winkler said. “AUM will help strengthen the higher education sector in Mongolia by serving as a role model for quality education—in its administrative leadership, its faculty, its accreditation standards, its facilities design, and its degree programs.”

DAI in 2013 became a founding partner of AUM.

Five U.S. ambassadors attended the meeting in Washington, D.C., including U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Piper Campbell, as did Patrick Santillo, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for China, and Mongolian envoys from the United States and Canada.

In his speech titled “American University of Mongolia: Where Public Diplomacy Goals Meet Private Investment Interests in Economic Growth and Sustainable Development,” Winkler said that American institutions of higher education, embedded in the local environment, are well positioned to demonstrate the best practices and policies of U.S. public diplomacy and embody the goal of sustainable development.

“By producing graduates who are prepared to face the economic and civil society changes about to take place in Mongolia, and by serving as a role model for quality higher education based on the best principles and practices of U.S. higher education, AUM will play a significant role in lowering the barriers to economic development in Mongolia,” Winkler said.

In addition to helping launch AUM, DAI has advised the government on economic transition and finance and banking since 2003. DAI led the turnaround of the Agricultural State Bank of Vietnam—after privatization known as Khan Bank, now Mongolia’s largest bank—from the verge of collapse under programs funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). DAI is currently implementing the SME Leasing Policy Initiative in Mongolia for the EBRD, and recently completed the Mongolia Value Chain Finance Project, also for the EBRD.

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