Progress Report on Preparatory Work for the Second International Congress of Mongolists

Permanent International Altaistic Conference Newsletter, No. 5, April 1970, pp. 6–9

Progress Report on Preparatory Work for the Second International Congress of Mongolists

by

S. Luvsanvandan, Candidate of Sciences
Secretary, Organizing Committee
II International Congress of Mongolists

I. The Historical Significance of the Congress.

The Second International Congress of Mongolists will be held in Ulan Bator, Capital of the Mongolian People’s Republic, in September 1970, eleven years after the first Congress which was held in 1959. It takes place at a time when many centers for Mongolian studies have been established in many countries of Asia, America, and Australia, when the ranks of Mongolists have been increasing, when scientific research on the history, culture, and economy of the Mongols is being carried on by specialists in many disciplines, and when the scope and aims of Mongolian studies have been broadened and increased in depth.

Whereas the first Congress was made up, for the most part, of specialists in Mongolian language and literature, the second will include scholars in linguistics, literature, folklore, ethnology, archaeology, history, economics, etc. And while the first Congress was attended by some twenty or so scholars from perhaps a dozen countries, many dozens of scholars from more than thirty different countries will come to the second. In addition to requests from delegations, we have received requests from many individuals from various countries who wish to attend as guests or tourists.

The Congress will last for six days. On the first day there will be a plenary session at which “The Present State of Mongolistics” will be discussed by all participants. On the following days the participants will be grouped according to their interests, e.g. language and literature, history and economics, etc. At each session Mongolian scholars and those from abroad will read and discuss their papers.

Preparations are being made for the reading and discussion of more than 100 papers by foreign and Mongolian scholars dealing with important Problems of Mongolian history, language, literature, folklore, and economy. Thus the Congress will not only broaden the scope of Mongolistics, but will place Mongolian studies within the larger framework of Asian studies in which the most important Problems of Mongolian culture will be examined in relation to Far Eastern culture, and their genetics and typology will be examined from the standpoint of their past history, present development, and future prospectives. This should provide a significant impetus for the development of general comparative research methods.

The Congress will be an important assembly of international Mongolists and will not only provide a forum for the discussion of interesting and important Problems chosen for discussion by Mongolists themselves, but there will be a study of current trends and developments in Mongolian studies and of future plans. Efforts and potentialities will be mobilized to solve important Problems in Mongolistics and to create a broader exchange of ideas in the coordination of Mongol studies on an international scale.

II. Preparatory Work for the Congress.

In May 1938 the Organizing Committee for the Second International Congress of Mongolists and a Preparatory Commission were established. The Organizing Committee is headed by Academician B. Shirendeb, President of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. Members of the Committee are the well-known Mongol scholars: B. Rinchen, Sh. Luvsanvandan, Ts. Damdinsuren, Sh. Natsagdorji, and the noted foreign scholars: Professor E.M. Žukov of the USSR, Professor L. Ligeti of Hungary, Professor Walter Heissig of Germany, Professor Owen Lattimore of the United States, and Professor Sakamoto of Japan.

A secretariat with interpreters has been established. Invitations have been issued to the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and other Socialist countries as well as to other foreign Mongolists. A preliminary program has also been sent. Questionnaires have been sent with a request for information regarding the state of Mongolistics in various countries and requests for titles and resumés of papers which will be delivered at the Congress. Requests have also been made that copies of publications be sent during the early part of 1969.

The Organizing Committee is now translating the resumés into Mongolian and Publishing the papers of the Mongolian scholars. Multiple copies of the papers, publication of various materials, and the Organisation of various Services for the guests and participants are under way. A second bulletin has been issued reporting the progress of the preparatory work, and invitations have been issued to scholars who wish to come at their own expense.

III. Participation of International Scholarly Organizations and Scholars in the Preparatory Work of the Congress.

The Academy of Sciences of the USSR expressed its view of the Congress as follows: “It will be a significant event for both the broadening and strengthening of the relations of Mongolists,” and has organized a special committee to participate in the Congress. The committee has prepared papers to be delivered by its own Mongolists and prepared and planned the publication of special papers for the Congress. The Mongolists of the USSR will actively participate in the translation and publication of the papers to be delivered at the Congress.

The Academies of the Socialist countries and their Mongolists consider this Congress to be a timely and significant event and enthusiastically expressed their willingness to participate and to help in every way.

All the Mongolists who received our invitations consider the Congress to be of great significance and not only notified us of their preparations, but expressed their willingness to cooperate by providing us with the requested information. The President of UNESCO, Mr. René Maheu, in a letter dated March 18, 1968, stated that he considers the Congress to be a significant contribution to Oriental studies and notified us of their decision to aid financially under a Provision which includes the study of Mongolian history, ethnology, art and literature in the overall program of Central Asian studies.

IV. Participants in the Congress.

According to a preliminary roster, participating will be some 50 delegates and other scholars accompanying them in addition to guests and other participants. The following well-known scholars have received our invitations: Academician E.M. Žukov, Professor G. D. Sanžeev of the USSR, Academician L. Ligeti of Hungary, Professor Mihailov of Bulgaria, Professor Zająskowski of Poland, Professors Hazai, Ratchnevsky of the German Democratic Republic, Professors Kalużiński and Dynowski of Poland, Professors F. Burkhardt, Owen Lattimore, Denis Sinor, John Krueger, and Gombojab Hangin of the United States, Dr. J. Boyle, Dr. C. R. Bawden and Ivor Montagu of England, Father Antoine Mostaert and Father Henry Serruys of Belgium, Professors K. Sakamoto, Sh. Hattori, Sh. Ozawa, and T. Kobayasi of Japan, Professors W. Heissig and A. von Gabain of West Germany, Professor K. Thomsen-Hansen of Denmark, Professors L. Hambis and F. Aubin of France, Professor Pentti Aalto of Finland, Professor G. Tucci of Italy, and Professor I. de Rachewiltz of Australia.

Delegations from UNESCO will also attend the Congress as well as guests of honor from India, Burma, the UAR, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iran.

Finally, when the Congress meets, there will be a Conference commemorating “One Thousand Years of Mongolian Writing.” At this Conference early written works by Mongols, the history of Mongolian printing, rare and valuable books, the relationship of Mongolian writings with those of other peoples, etc., will be discussed. This will provide an important impetus for a study of the historical process of the special development of Mongolian culture and civilization which occupy important positions in the cultural history of the world. We hope that Mongolists will actively participate in this work by contributing papers and discussions.