UN photoTraditional “warm up” interview with the guest speaker, Dr Esuna Dugarova  prior to our 39th monthly talk ‘Oyunlag Orshikhui’

1) 2 years ago when you were based in Geneva, Switzerland, you were invited to our talk as a guest speaker. Since then, you published your first book, worked on several research papers on sustainable development and are now working at the United Nations in New York?

Indeed, I am currently working as a policy specialist on sustainable development at the United Nations Development Programme in New York. More specifically, I conduct policy research and analysis of issues such as poverty reduction, productive employment, gender equality, active and healthy ageing, all of which are vital to achieving sustainable development outcomes. Based on this analysis, I provide advice to governments on policy implementation.

Earlier this year, I published a book called “The Star of the Nomadess: In Harmony between the East and the West” in which I share my experience studying at Cambridge University and living in the West from the perspective of my Buryat cultural heritage and Buddhist upbringing. I hope it will help young people achieve their goals and remember their roots in today’s globalised world.

2) The topic of the talk was ‘Buddhism and social change’ in 2015. This time the topic is on gender equality and sustainable development with special reference to Mongolia. Is it what you are currently working on?

At UNDP, I am now working on a paper entitled “Gender equality as an accelerator for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”. In this paper I provide evidence on how gender equality can contribute to economic growth, food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, political stability, and peace and security. In addition, I am also writing a research article on gender relations, labour market and childcare in Mongolia. At the upcoming talk, I would like to present the findings of my research, which I hope will be interesting and useful to the audience.

3) Finally, what else keeps you busy apart from work? How do you enjoy New York?

Well, I am involved in various projects which are aimed at making a positive impact on society globally and back in my home Buryatia. As a mentor, I am helping young people develop their potential and provide them with necessary resources and guidance. I also study Buddhist philosophy and attend educational courses and teachings. After work I enjoy visiting museums, art galleries and theatres to explore the beauty and complexity of our world. And above all, I love doing sport and cooking for my friends and colleagues!



Dr Esuna Dugarova is a Policy Specialist at the United Nations Development Programme in New York. Previously, Esuna worked at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in Geneva, European Commission and World Bank, as well as London School of Economics. Originally from the Republic of Buryatia in Russia, Esuna holds a PhD degree in Asian Studies from Cambridge University and a BA degree in Chinese and Burmese Studies from St Petersburg State University. She is fluent in English, Chinese and French, and also speaks Spanish and Burmese. More details: www.esuna.info