Program on Inner Asia

Coordinator: Dr. Julian Dierkes

The Institute of Asian Research has recognized that expertise on Inner Asia and Central Asia is lacking not only at the IAR, but at UBC and in Canada more broadly. While we are not in a position to address this gap comprehensively, we are attempting to raise the profile of research on this area of great interest to Canadians and hope to establish more sustained activities in the future.

Research on Central and Inner Asia has gained renewed prominence in the 21st century as more attention in the social sciences and in the policy community is focusing on the interplay between religious and ethnic identities and some of the Asian states as well as on issues surrounding the management of natural resource endowments. A policy-context to some extent dominated by the legacies of the Soviet Union only makes these issues more pressing and thus command international attention.

A number of past research projects have heightened our awareness of the research being done on Inner Asia around the world. IAR researchers and other colleagues have thus examined or are conducting projects on:

  • policy-making in the periphery of the People’s Republic of China
  • contemporary Tibetan studies
  • human security and educational policy in Mongolia
  • mining regulation and resource-based development in Mongolia.

We hope to continue to build expertise in these fields and related areas of inquiry and welcome suggestions from colleagues and the interested public as to future topics and activities.

Supporting the Program

The Program on Inner Asia benefitted from a very generous anonymous donation to support its activities in the academic year 2007-08. It has encouraged the work of Mongolian and non-Mongolian graduate students at UBC. It has supported research on Mongolia as well as contributions to Canada-Mongolia relations. If you are interested in opportunities to support the program, please contact Dr. Julian Dierkes.

Some Future, On-Going, and Past Activities

Upcoming Event: Language, globalization and youth in the Asian Periphery on Wednesday, September 27 at 12:00PM.

Event page

  • In late Spring 2012, we were keeping a particularly close eye on the upcoming parliamentary election in Mongolia via our blog, Mongolia Focus. Posts related to the election can be found in the Ikh Khural 2012 category. Julian Dierkes and MAAPPS student Brandon Miliate served as election monitors.
  • In 2008, 2009, and 2012, Dr. Julian Dierkes served as an election observer in national elections in Mongolia.
  • In Spring 2010, Dr. Julian Dierkes co-supervised a graduate course, the Asia Pacific Policy Project on Mine Closure in Mongolia, with Dirk van Zyl, Minining Engineering, UBC
  • The Program on Inner Asia hosted a major international conference on “Contemporary Mongolia – Transitions, Development and Social Transformations” November 14-17, 2008.
  • During the academic year 2007-08, the Program on Inner Asia, together with the Buddhism and Contemporary Society Program and the Contemporary Tibetan Studies Program benefited from a generous grant by the Silkroad Foundation in organizing a lecture series on “Tibet-Mongolia Links in Religion and Medicine.”
  • On Monday, March 26, 2007, the Mongolian film “The Cave of the Yellow Dog” was screened as a part of the IAR Asian Film Festival
  • In the fall term of the 2006/07 academic year, we offered an experimental course, entitled “Mining Mongolia” within the Master of Arts Asia Pacific Policy Studies.
  • In 2005, we inaugurated our Mongolia Lecture Series as a first concrete attempt to engage with Inner Asia more regularly.

Past Academic Visitors

  • B. Otgonbaatar, PhD Candidate, Waseda University, Japan. September 2013 – January 2014.
  • D. Doljin, PhD Candidate, International Law, Soongsil University, Korea. Arbitration in international investment agreements. December 2011 – November 2012
  • D Byambajav, PhD Candidate, Sociology, Hokkaido University, Japan. Environmental movements in Mongolia. May – December 2011

Please contact Julian Dierkes to learn more about the activities of the Program.