Thirty Years After Mongolia’s Democratic Revolution: Has Democracy Delivered for All?

January 30, 2020
02:00 pm - 03:30 pm


about the event

Thirty years after the fall of communism and the transition to democracy in Mongolia, fears of potential democratic backsliding in the country have begun to surface, especially in a region where authoritarian influence looms large. The Mongolian government has failed to address critical issues such as increasing socioeconomic inequality and corruption, while the country’s political processes lack the ability to engage with youth, low-income communities, and other disadvantaged groups. This has fueled growing frustration, populist sentiments, and widespread disillusionment with Mongolia’s democracy. In response to the discontent with democratic governance, a new wave of leadership and activism that is determined to consolidate democracy and combat rising populism has emerged.

In her presentation, Mongolian sociologist Dolgion Aldar drew on her knowledge as an independent researcher of good governance and social issues to illustrate what is at stake thirty years after Mongolia’s democratic revolution in 1990. Drawing upon current discussions on the nexus between democracy and socioeconomic inequality, Ms. Aldar examined whether Mongolia can address the present challenges and reaffirm its commitment to democracy. Through a sociological lens, she proposed ways in which the next generation of leaders may address inequality through democratic processes in the lead-up to critical parliamentary elections later this year. Lynn Lee, Associate Director for Asia at NED, followed with comments.



Dolgion Aldar, Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow


with comments from

Lynn Lee, Associate Director for Asia, National Endowment for Democracy


moderated by

Zerxes Spencer, Director of Fellowship Programs, National Endowment for Democracy


About the speakers

Ms. Dolgion Aldar is a research professional focused on promoting evidence-based policy-making and social cohesion in Mongolia. She is a former CEO and current board member of the Independent Research Institute of Mongolia, one of Mongolia’s preeminent think tanks that promotes independent research and analysis of governance and social issues in the country. She also serves on the board of the Asia-Pacific Evaluation Association and is a member of the Social Well-Being Consortium in Asia. For her dedication to promoting democratic governance in Mongolia, Ms. Aldar received the Asia Foundation’s Development Fellowship in 2018. During her fellowship at NED, she intends to write a report on strengthening democratic ideals and values as they relate to equality in Mongolia. In recognition of the widening gaps between the rich and poor at a time when Mongolia commemorates thirty years as a democracy, Ms. Aldar hopes her report may serve to bolster the efforts of those committed to combating inequality and consolidating democracy in the country.

Ms. Lynn Lee is the associate director for Asia at the National Endowment for Democracy, where she oversees the grant portfolio for democracy and human rights programs in East Asia and Asia Regional initiatives. Prior to joining the Endowment, Ms. Lee was a senior project manager at InterMedia, where she managed research projects for major media organizations that broadcast radio and TV programming to Asia, such as Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, and the BBC. Ms. Lee also carried out a two-year evaluation of U.S. State Department–funded international NGOs working on rule of law, civil society support, labor rights, and free access to information in China. She earned her doctorate in development studies from Sussex University and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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