MACA Founders

Gombojab Hangin

Gombojab Hangin was born in 1921, in Chakhar (Tsahar), Inner (Southern) Mongolia. He studied at Hokkaido Imperial University in Japan during World War II and returned to Inner (Southern) Mongolia to work as a secretary under the government of Prince Demchugdongrub, who ruled over the autonomous Inner (Southern) Mongolia region established by the Japanese during their occupation of Northern China. In 1947, he served as a representative in the National Assembly of the Republic of China, and in 1949, after the Communists came to power in China, he moved with the National Assembly to Taiwan, where he worked briefly as a representative of Inner (Southern) Mongolia for the Chiang Kai-Shek government.

Shortly afterwards, Gombojab Hangin moved to the United States with his family, where he earned a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He taught at several universities after his graduation, including Columbia University, Georgetown University, and the University of California at Berkeley, but eventually returned to Indiana University in 1964. There he taught courses in Mongolian language and culture. He compiled several of the first English-Mongolian dictionaries and wrote various Mongolian language textbooks.

Outside of his career as a professor, Gombojab Hangin was dedicated to forming a bridge between the United States and the country of Mongolia. He helped to push for the recognition of the Mongolian People's Republic by the United Nations and the United States, which were eventually achieved in 1961 and 1987, respectively. He formed the Mongolia Society at Indiana University that continues to exist to this day, providing scholarships to Mongolian students who study in the United States as well as promoting the study of Mongolian history, language, and culture.

In 1988, Gombojab Hangin, together with Tsorj Lama, formed the Mongol-American Cultural Association with the charge of carrying out an annual memorial ceremony to Chinggis Khan. Hangin himself led the very first such memorial in 1988. The American version of the ritual benedictions were composed by Hangin based on the original texts recited at the Ezen Khoroo mausoleum, but updated and suited to a disparate community of ex-patriate Mongols. The Chinggis Khan memorial ceremony has continued to be performed at least once a year since 1988 and this has been one of the greatest legacies he has left to the Mongol-American community.

Gombojab Hangin passed away on October 9, 1989 from complications following a massive stroke while doing research in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

A PowerPoint About Gombojab Hangin

Tsorj Lama

Biography coming soon!