Ezra Siegel, Jack Naito, and Richard Swift
(History, Economics, International Political Economy)
The Tributary Fund Project
These three students lived and worked in the Dayan Derkh Region in Northern Mongolia at a monastery where Buddhism and traditional Mongolian shamanism are practiced. These graduates worked with The Tributary Fund to promote ecologically conscious and sustainable development. “The Tributary Fund,” Ezra describes, “is all about connecting with local, religious, and scientific leaders to work on sustainable development and wildlife protection.” Their work culminated in the full construction of an eco-toilet at the monastery. Another side project was teaching ecology to the young monks at the monastery’s summer camp, which ran for approximately two weeks and draws monks from every part of Mongolia.
Beyond building a new lavatory, these graduates lived and interacted with the native population, as they taught English and translated English films to promote ecological conservation. Ezra described the satisfaction of learning the history of northern Mongolia by seeing artifacts and hearing historical accounts directly from Mongolians. Richard, an international political economics major, comments, “ the most rewarding experience…was being exposed to three different economic classes in one of the fastest economically growing countries in the world.” This experience allowed him to learn about a developing country first-hand. By engaging a wide variety of individuals in conversations about politics, he discovered aspects of labor issues, foreign investment, and domestic corruption. Now, Richard will pursue a career in labor development at the community level. The other two fellows will expand upon this experience, focusing their careers on further environmental work.