Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The City of Ulaanbaatar Flag

History of Sister City Relationship

Denver, Colorado and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia became sister cities in 2001.  The two cities have had a rich relationship throughout the years, highlighted by cultural and student exchanges since as early as 1989.  The relationship was catalyzed by a trade mission to Ulaanbaatar by former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.  

Facts At-A-Glance

Pronunciation:  oo’lan baa’tar
Region: North Central Mongolia in the Tuul River Valley. It is Mongolia’s capital and largest city.
Ulaanbaatar Population: 1,377,000 (2015)
Mongolia Population: 3,031,330 (2016)
Mayor: Sunduin Batbold
Spoken Languages: Mongolian

Ulaanbaatar: Of Interest

  • The name ‘Ulayan Bayaur’ literally translates to “red hero” in honor of military leader Damdin Sukhbaatar, whose warriors liberated Mongolia from Chinese occupation in 1921.
  • Many festivals and celebrations have been held to celebrate Mongolian culture in Denver.
  • Visits to Denver by Mongolia’s Prime Minister and President helped the relationship blossom. On an annual basis, Ulaanbaatar’s mayor and city council visit Denver.
  • The Denver-Ulaanbaatar committee sends a delegation from Denver to Ulaanbaatar annually.
  • Business is increasingly being conducted between these two cities, as well as cultural, research, and foundation activities.
  • The largest of the endeavors between the two cities is the high school student exchange program.  Under the Ulaanbaatar committee, four high schools began a series of exchanges that involved both students and teachers in the United States and Mongolian communities in 2006.
    • Six high schools are involved, three in Ulaanbaatar area and three in the United States.
    • Representing urban and rural areas, these high schools are situated in Denver, Colorado; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; on the Navajo Nation; and, Mandalgovi.
    • The Luby-Jenkins School Pairing Program, an annual high school exchange project, has brought together students and their teachers to learn through direct educational and personal experiences about different countries’ cultures and people. This program is named in honor of former Chair of the Denver Sister Cities Ulaanbaatar Committee Nancy Luby and Walt Jenkins.

Committee Chair and Contact Information

Committee Chair: Jim Wagenlander
Phone: (303) 832-1336
Email: ulaanbaatar@denversistercities.org

Representative Ulaanbaatar Committee Activities

  • Monthly committee gathering with like-minded people interested in Mongolia.
  • An annual high school student exchange program occurs where a U.S. high school student delegation visits Mongolia for approximately two weeks and a Mongolian high school delegation visits Denver for approximately two weeks.
  • An adult delegation visits Mongolia annually where travelers have the unique opportunity to visit Ulaanbaatar, the Gobi Desert, monasteries, visit nomadic families, learn how to build a ger, and participate in volunteer projects.

Ulaanbaatar – Denver Relationship

  • In November of 2001, after a trade mission that took him throughout Asia, former Mayor Wellington Webb returned to Denver with the intention of making Ulaanbaatar our tenth sister city.
  • For many years prior to the Mayor of Denver’s visit, Denver and Ulaanbaatar had already been working hard to make this sister relationship a reality.  A resolution passed by the Denver City Council and a visit by the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar made the Sister City relationship possible.
  • One the most compelling reasons for Denver’s sister city relationship with Ulaanbaatar is the fact that outside of Mongolia itself, Denver is home to one of the largest Mongolian population in the United States.
  • With this strong relationship and cultural exchange having been in place for many years, an official Sister City relationship was a logical progression. Thanks to so much interest and active participants available, this relationship started strong and is vibrant to this day indeed!

Ulaanbaatar: Resources

http://www.westword.com/news/among-the-mongols-5089821
A 2006 article highlighting the exchanges and cultural importance of Denver and Ulaanbaatar’s relationship.