The President of Mongolia Visits The Philadelphians and Speaks with WRTI's Meridee Duddleston
His Excellency President Elbegdorj — the leader of the growing democracy situated between China and Russia — spent last Friday, September 23rd in Philadelphia, following the conclusion of his work at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The visit was initiated by Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore, and it was an opportunity for President Elbegdorj to preview the ensemble invited to perform in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar in June, 2017.
The U.S. and Mongolia have had diplomatic relations for three decades. But, by all accounts, The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Friday afternoon concert was the first time a major American orchestra has played the national anthem of Mongolia.
In turn, the concert was a chance for President Elbegdorj to get a sense of the musicians and conductor who will travel to Mongolia for the very first time as part of their next Asian tour.
The concert was a chance for President Elbegdorj to get a sense of the musicians and conductor who will travel to Mongolia for the first time as part of their next Asian tour in 2017.
President Elbegdorj arrived for a full day in Philadelphia. In the morning, he was honored by Mayor Jim Kenney and Governor Tom Wolf at City Hall, made a stop at the Liberty Bell, and then attended a luncheon at the Kimmel Center.
Following his appearance at the Orchestra’s afternoon concert, President Elbegdorj dashed off to the University of Pennsylvania, where he gave a lecture at the American Center for Mongolian Studies.
With the fall of communism in the early 1990s, and the rise of a democracy, Mongolia is highlighting its long history with renewed vigor. President Elbegdorj's visit to Philadelphia fell on the 801st birthday of Mongolia’s famous ruler, Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan.
The president pointed out how, in the 1200s, Kublai Khan established the first orchestra in Mongolia and built a world network of cultural ties. And because of that, he noted, this day had added and great meaning.
In the 1970s The Philadelphia Orchestra broke ground by performing in the People’s Republic of China at the behest of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon.
Since then, the Orchestra has deepened its ties to Asia. The visit to Mongolia in 2017 will build on its unofficial role as a cultural ambassador in the Far East.