DENVER IS THE CENTER OF U.S. MONGOLIA ACTIVITIES. Denver first established itself as the center of Mongolia activities in the Western Hemisphere in 1989 when the first two Mongolians were sent to the United States to study at the university level (Colorado School of Mines). The relationship grew quickly and within ten years 3,000 Mongolians were living, working and studying in Denver. Over the past 25 years a record number of 16,000 Mongolians have lived in Denver and Colorado. Denver’s Mongolian business, civic, cultural and educational activities were one of the reasons for United States support of Mongolia and the U.S. being one of Mongolia’s “third neighbors”.
ULAANBAATAR BECAME DENVER'S SISTER CITY
In 2001 Ulaanbaatar became Denver's tenth sister city, with Denver Mayor W. Webb's approval.
PROCLAMATION FROM THE MAYORS
MAYOR M. HANCOCK'S 2015 VISIT TO UB
SISTER CITIES AND MORE. In the early 90’s the Colorado Mongolia Project initiated and supported the development of an extensive relationship between Denver and Ulaanbaatar. Shortly thereafter, a Colorado nonprofit, the Colorado-Mongolia Project, was formed to both promote better relations and to engineer a sister city, or as Mongolians call it a brother city, relationship. For many years, people in Denver and Ulaanbaatar had been working hard to make a sister city relationship a reality, Annual city delegations were initiated (with this coming year being the 21st). Mongolia recognized early on the importance of this relationship and appointed in Denver only its second Honorary Consul in the United States in 1999. In 2001 all this was quickly followed by the formalization of an official Sister Cities relationship between Denver and Ulaanbaatar. In subsequent years the Mongolian Community Association of Colorado was formed, the exciting Luby-Jenkins School Pairing was begun, and a record setting number of other programs, events, and activities were conducted. This included recently the City and County of Denver working with the City of Ulaanbaatar in an Ulaanbaatar city governance project.
AN ESTABLISHED BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP. Since 1990 and Mongolia’s successful transition to a free market, democratic nation, a business and trade relationship has developed between Denver and Mongolia. The Colorado Caterpillar dealership and its Mongolia subsidiary (Wagner Asia) is today the largest U.S. employer in Mongolia. Denver law firms (including Fognani & Faught and Wagenlander & Heisterkamp) have for years been doing extensive and important work involving Mongolia for the Mongolian government as well as foreign and Mongolian investors. Colorado mining consulting services and travel service companies (AATA International Inc., New Jersey based Nomadic Expedition, Airbridge/Airtrans, Access China Tours, and WH AmeraWest) have also been involved with Mongolia. As Mongolia has recently prospered Mongolians and Mongolian companies have begun to buy property in Colorado, explore investment opportunities in Denver and travel to the region to shop and recreate.
MONGOLIA’S LEADERSHIP KNOWS DENVER VERY WELL. Some of the remarkable elements of the Ulaanbaatar Denver relationship are the intimate, personal and extensive relationships that Mongolia’s business, political and nonprofit leadership have with Denver and Colorado. Three Mongolian presidents, five prime ministers, a speaker or chairman of their parliament, most Ulaanbaatar mayors in the last 20 years, all Mongolian ambassadors to the U.S., and countless other government and political leaders have either lived, studied or traveled to Denver. Similarly, leaders in other sectors of Mongolian society, including business, have spent time in Colorado and maintain extensive relationships with Colorado, its companies, organizations, and people. A lesser but still significant number of Denverites have been to Ulaanbaatar as tourist and business persons often under the auspices of the Sister Cities, including on its annual delegation trips. Mongolia’s current President, Prime Minister and Chairman of Parliament have all studied in Colorado. Denver’s former Mayor, Wellington Webb, a founder of this Sister Cities relationship a few years ago traveled to Ulaanbaatar with one of Sister Cities’ delegations. However, this was after he retired from office and no sitting mayor has until now traveled to Ulaanbaatar, the Capital City of Mongolia. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock will expand Denver’s Sister Cities engagement with Ulaanbaatar and Ulaanbaatar Mayor Bat-Uul by formally leading a Sister Cities & Trade delegation to Ulaanbaatar in August of 2015.
COLORADO UNIVERSITIES AND MONGOLIA. Already over a thousand Mongolians have studied in Colorado at the university level. This is in much greater numbers than anywhere else in the Americas. This is unprecedented considering that Ulaanbaatar has only 1.5 million residents and Mongolia only 3 million citizens. They have studied at the University of Colorado at Denver, University of Denver, Colorado School of Mines, Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, Colorado State University, The Economic Institute, the University of Colorado in Boulder, and numerous other institutions. Many more have studied in Denver area secondary schools. A number of these universities have been engaged in research in Mongolia (Colorado School of Mines) or have regularly sent graduate student study groups (Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver). These students and exchanges act as a launch pad for more exchanges and trade between Denver and Ulaanbaatar. Equally important, as Mongolia prospers and their students become english proficient, this creates an even larger pool of both undergraduate and graduate students for Denver universities.
THERE ARE EXISTING AND GROWING CULTURAL AND ARTS CONNECTIONS. Importantly Denver and Ulaanbaatar share big blue skies and 300 days of sun and the last 25 years have shown how much these two cities have in common but also what they can learn from each other. Nearly all of Denver’s major art and cultural institutions have had extensive Mongolian programs and blockbuster exhibits (The Zoo, Botanic Gardens, Nature and Science Museum and Denver Art Museum, to name but a few) and many have on going programs and research projects. Denver also has had more than a hundred Mongolian arts, cultural and musical exchanges and performances over this period (including artists such as Tumen Ekh, Arga Bilea, HURD, singer Khongeraul, and in the early years a Mongolian circus troup). Both cities, their people and their economic activities are better because of this relationship and it should be celebrated and expanded. HELPING DENVER BE AN ACTIVE PACIFIC RIM CITY. Incredible economic growth is occurring in Asia, including in Mongolia, providing Denver opportunities that it should pursue. Both Denver and Ulaanbaatar are inland Pacific Rim cities each having major natural resources, resource development players and a significant synergy when it comes to trade, investment activities and economic development. Mongolia’s GNP has grown tenfold in the past five years, abundant mineral resources and a growing number of world class mines. Furthermore, Denver has developed a new world-class airport and is redeveloping an old airport site while Ulaanbaatar is embarking on a similar journey. All this makes Mongolia an important market for Denver’s mining, design and construction sectors. These are relationships and opportunities that are helping Denver develop as a world-class city in a worldwide market.