Jonathan Addleton, F82, FG91


Addleton abroad

Mongolian totems for Genghis Khan, photo by Jonathan Addleton

Mongolian Eagle Festival, photo by Jonathan Addleton

In November 2009, Jonathan Addleton, F82, FG91, was named US Ambassador to Mongolia. After more than two decades with USAID in Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Yemen, Pakistan, Cambodia and Mongolia, Addleton is once more calling Ulaanbaatar home.

Addleton writes, “There is a truth to the fact that where you are in the moment is where you need to make your home—we certainly feel comfortable here. A good part of my life is rooted in the American South, in Georgia. My wife is from Scotland. Each of the kids was born on a different continent: Iain in Inverness, Scotland; Cameron in Pretoria, South Africa; and Catriona in Macon, GA. She was the last of the grandkids and we finally felt it was time for my parents to be there for the birth of at least one grandchild.

“The foreign service has always been a family project that we’ve done together. The first time we entered Mongolia—about ten years ago—we took the train from Beijing, which is about 30 hours. You arrive at the border in the middle of the night and the gauge changes from Chinese to Russian, so they lift the carriage and put on a new set of wheels. When you wake up, you’re traveling across this endless grassland. The kids have also gone with me on field trips to Lake Hovsgol, a physically beautiful, quite remote and isolated area. They call Montana ‘big sky country’ and here it’s eternal blue sky and broad open landscapes. There is nothing like the fantastic night skies of Mongolia where there are no lights for miles.

“Ulaanbaatar is a fairly big city with a very ‘plugged in’ younger generation. Last Christmas, Cameron was on a plane from Seoul to Mongolia and the guy next to him said, ‘Hey Cameron, what’s up dude?’ He was a Mongolian friend from five years ago. No matter where the kids go, they stay connected, and we’ve been lucky to have afforded them such experiences.”

See a slideshow of Addleton's photos and read more about his experience via Tufts Journal!

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