Home Institution

Smith College

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Mongolia: Nomadic Culture & Globalization


“Yak, A Green Icon and Good Investment” was conceived after I briefly interned for the Mongol Yak Society during the NGO Drop Off. I became interested and even, invested in their mission. For three weeks of the ISP period, I worked closely with the Mongolian Yak Society based in Ulaanbaatar and researched how increasing the productive value of yaks through improved communications, equipment, knowledge, and support will address several key environmental and economic issues. I further focused on the Mongolian Yak Society and its role as a detached entity that intervenes on various levels of the yak wool value chain: who they represent, what kind of methods and process they are using, how the communities selected for the MYS programs/project are responding to the initiatives, and more importantly, why yaks even matter at all? Why are yaks an important investment for Mongolia’s future? And how are we as non-Mongolians affected by this as well?

Made in USA. Made in China. Made in Sri Lanka. Made in Italy. Made in Mongolia. The tags stitched onto the back of every article of clothing and carefully concealed, have origins some only know the name of. People who live in these seemingly remote and far-removed places have no face and name; their lives are a mystery. Yet, when we finger the tags, hold the fabric in our hands, and eventually buy and wear the clothes from stores, we are indirectly connected to the makers living thousands of miles away. What stories do the clothes hanging in the back of our closets, folded or rather haphazardly stuffed in our dressers, strewn about on the floor and perhaps on the bed have? There is a story; and we need to begin from the source.


Agribusiness | Agricultural and Resource Economics | Civic and Community Engagement | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations


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