Former U.S. ambassador visits ETSU for unveiling of Mongolian ger

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A special guest speaker visited an ETSU remote campus for the unveiling of a new addition to the university’s public health simulation lab.

A new Mongolian ger has been constructed in the ETSU Valleybrook’s Niswonger Village to go along with housing from South Africa, El Salvador and other countries. Similar to a Russian yurt, the Mongolian ger is a traditional, round-shaped dwelling that is part of the nomadic lifestyle of Mongolians.

The Niswonger Village is a public health “simulation lab” that replicates how people live and work in low-resource settings.

“We’re very pleased that they are actually doing a ger, commonly known as a yurt, but it is, basically, the house where many Mongolians live,” Retired United States Ambassador to Mongolia Jonathan Addleton said. “Especially in the countryside, a sort of mobile house, if you will.  And the campus here is officially opening its ger.”

The former ambassador was speaking as part of the ETSU College of Public Health’s innovative, award-winning Project EARTH curriculum. This program can be very helpful for those who could be going to work in these countries.

“It is a small taste of the more traditional, the countryside, the rural Mongolia,” Addleton said. “But, in some sense, that Mongolia is the ethos of Mongolia. So I think people experience it, even the Mongolians that live in the city, recognize that. If you are going to work in a country, to experience a bit of it, to have some background, to speak to some people who have been there beforehand, it’s all good. I think the introduction that is provided here is pretty interesting.”

Additional speakers for the program included Dr. Wilsie Bishop, ETSU senior vice president for academics, Richard Kortum, ETSU professor emeritus, Theresa Markiw, former public affairs officer, U.S. Embassy in Mongolia, Scott Niswonger, chairman of the ETSU Board of Trustees and Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean of the College of Public Health. 

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