The office of the President of Mongolia, Public Relations & Communications Division


U.S. Foreign Policy Association and NED Awards President Elbegdorj with Presidential Medal

New York, NY, USA

U.S. Foreign Policy Association and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) awarded Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia with Presidential Medal for the Leadership in the Cause of Democracy. The award was presented during the 2011 World Leadership Forum Dinner in honor of the President of Mongolia, Tsakhia Elbegdorj took place in St. Regis Hotel in New York City on September 22, 2011 and around 100 guests attended the ceremony.

Robert Miller, Director of Hartford Foundation, USA said in his opening remarks “The peaceful transformation from the 70 year old regime to a new one is one of the wonders of Mongolian democracy. Afterwards, Mongolians adopted its new Constitution that guaranteed human rights, freedom and supportive of market economy. Mongolia is now chairing the Community of Democracies after establishing democracy 20 years ago. Today Mongolian citizens are free, with aspiration, open government and sustainably growing economy and the country is in the center of the global attention. Tsakhia Elbegdorj has always been the leader for all these progresses.”

In the decision to award President Elbegdorj notes: “You Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia is awarded with Presidential Medal for the leadership in the cause of democracy for your brave start up of democracy in your country, firm participation in setting up democracy, successful leadership of your country, and your active participation in consolidating democracy on international platform.

Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy presented the award to the President of Mongolia.

Afterwards, Roza Otunbayeva, President of the Kyrgyz Republic made remarks congratulating President Elbegdorj. She said:

“First of all, let me just tell you how much pleased I am to be here today!
I really feel like I am here with friends and family. The last few days at the United Nations were full of diplomatic meetings, series of conferences and summits. This morning I also spoke at the General Debate of the 66th session of the General Assembly.

Immediately preceding me was the speech by Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. And in the middle of his speech – almost half of the delegations led by the United States and France just stormed out of the hall in protest to the insulting remarks by Iran’s president.Of course, my delegation was a bit worried that none would be left to listen to my statement - but it was good to see them return.

In the last hour I attended receptions for leaders of Finland, Turkey, Hungary….
So yes, thank you, Carl for inviting me here and for this wonderful feeling of being with friends. And it is so good to see so many friends from the past in the audience.
Thank you!

But the real reason I am delighted to be here today is of course because it is an honour to witness this ceremony honouring the leader of Mongolia – President Tsakhia Elbegdorj.

President Elbegdorj achievements in transforming Mongolia into a thriving democracy and an economic magnet for multibillion dollar investment opportunities from abroad are truly inspiring!

So please allow me to express sincere congratulations to the honorable President of Mongolia Mr. Elbegdorj on occasion of awarding him with the Forum’s Democracy Leadership Medal in honor of his outstanding contribution to the cause of democracy.

Kyrgyz and Mongols share a very deep history that goes back for millennia. We are both pastoral nomadic nations. Along with the Kazakhs we are the only nations to live in yurts. Ancient Kyrgyz as well as Mongols roamed freely on the territory from Manchuria to the Caspian Sea – so naturally we Kyrgyz have lots of historic artifacts in the territory of present day Mongolia. Needless to say that the brave Kyrgyz were part of the great nomadic empire that ruled over Eurasia in the times of Chengiskhan, both before him and later.

But it is not because of the past that I feel like I am here with my family. It is because of the president! Thanks to leadership of Mr.Elbegdorj and his compatriots, Mongolia did not abide by its geographic location. Mongolians did not say that they cannot have a democracy because they are not in the right region or too far from Europe and America.

No! Mongolians chose Freedom!

Mongolians said that they want Justice!

Mongolians said they will shape their own future!

And this is what makes Mongolians and Kyrgyz two brother (sister) nations – because the Kyrgyz also chose Freedom. Because Kyrgyz also said that they are ready to face hardships and may be, some misunderstanding from some of our neighbors, but we want to live freely and we want to live by law and order, not by corruption and violence!

I heard President Elbegdorj say that Mongolia today speaks with any nation as an equal because it is Free. I can say the same for the Kyrgyz.

President Elbegdorj, thank you very much for your leadership and congratulations on the award!

I concur fully that young democracies like Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and other should actively cooperate and help each other.

In May this year I sent a group of parliamentary members and NGO leaders travel to Mongolia. More needs to be done in this area!

As for Kyrgyzstan, ahead of us lies one more test. I mean the presidential elections on October 30, 2011 that will be held without participation of me the incumbent. We expect that contention among the candidates for the top state job will be very competitive.

We invited the unprecedented high number of observers from foreign states and international organizations, including OSCE. As the head of state I will try hard to create all conditions for democratic and fair expression of will by our citizens as well as make sure to arrange peaceful handover of power to the newly elected President.

I can say with confidence that today we are much stronger both as the state and as the nation than we were one year ago under the authoritarian ruler.

Despite all numerous difficulties in the future and plenty of challenges we have to overcome, we remain optimistic.

With friends and neighbors like Mongolia we have no fear! Congratulations again, Mr. President!”