Regional Alumni Workshop 2023

Building Back Better: Climate Resilience and Green Economic Recovery

29-31 May 2023, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 

The upcoming Regional Alumni Workshop (RAW) will bring together alumni from South Asia & Mongolia for a program of professional development and networking.

In line with the theme ‘Building Back Better: Climate Resilience and Green Economic Recovery’, alumni will share their experience of responding to climate change and developing green economic initiatives, showcase their successes, highlight their challenges and strengthen their professional networks across the region.

Alumni will be joined by representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australia Awards program.

We look forward to welcoming you to Ulaanbaatar. Please return to this page closer to time to check the tentative schedule, speakers’ profiles and other useful information to help you prepare for the workshop.

Workshop Venue

The Regional Alumni Workshop sessions on 29-30 May will be held at the Blue Sky Hotel. You will be staying at the same hotel.  On the evening of 30 May there is an alumni reception hosted by the Australian Embassy in Mongolia. On 31 May participants will participate in site visits and cultural activities outside of Ulaanbaatar.

Regional Alumni Workshop Program 

Travel Information for RAW Participants

Travel information-this document contains details of emergency services, health information, money entry requirements and other travel details.


You can view the details of other participants on our virtual photo board. If you have not included your details, please do so soon.

Check back here in coming days for program details.

Do I need a visa to enter Mongolia?

The Immigration Agency of Mongolia has authorised its office at Chinggis Khaan International Airport to issue single entry business visas for all RAW participants. You need to carry a printed copy of the visa grant letter with your name on it along with USD95, and complete Form 2.  Depending on your country, you may receive the USD95 upfront from the Australia Awards or you may need to pay it and seek reimbursement from your Australia Awards country team.

How do I get from the airport to the Hotel?

The Australia Awards Team will arrange transfers between the airport and the hotel for all participants.  A staff member from the Blue Sky hotel will be inside the arrivals hall with the names of the travellers.

What is the dress code?

The dress code for 29-30 May is business or national dress. Part of the reception on 30 May is outdoors, so participants may want to wear warm clothes. On 31 May we will be conducting site visits outside of Ulaanbaatar and the dress code is smart casual and we recommend you wear suitable shoes for walking.

How will I know if my presentation has been accepted for the Workshop?

We thank all participants who submitted presentations. Unfortunately, not all can be featured in the Workshop. The participants’ whose presentations will be featured will be approached by the Workshop organisers.

The purpose of networking is to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with industry professionals. Networking is a two-way process: you need to think about how you can help others before you can expect help in return.

Below you will find a list of tips to use during a networking function.

‘How to work a room’

Diana Carroll, Managing Director at DIANA P.R. offers the following 10 top tips for managing the mingling:

1. Be prepared – Know the who, what, when, where and why of the function. Why are you going? Who do you want to talk to? What do you want to achieve? Remember to take your business cards and a pen.

2. Practice – Create an engaging self-introduction and practice it at every occasion. Be open, be interesting and be sincere.

3. Arrive early – Have a chat with the organisers; rescue a wall flower (is anyone standing alone?)

4. The three Es – Energy, effort and enthusiasm. Look like you want to be there; look like you’re having fun. Be positive, be friendly, and make everyone feel special.

5. Say something – Have the courage to converse. Plan conversation starters and know how to find areas of interest. Remember, everyone loves to talk about themselves.

6. Be positive – Negativity is never attractive. So, never criticise the speaker, the venue, or the food – you could be talking to the caterer.

7. Be polite – Good manners open doors. Always RSVP (respond to the event invitation); remember to thank the host; always follow-up.

8. Act as a conduit – Invite the person with you to meet others.

9. Avoid the sleaze factor – Dress appropriately; behave properly; leave on time.

10. Thank you and goodnight – Know when to leave a person, a group, a function. Use something like: ‘It’s been lovely talking with you; enjoy the rest of the evening’.

Remember that the most important aspect of networking is to follow up the contacts you have received. Place a phone call, send an email, or book a lunch and the person you just met will get a more lasting impression; this shows professionalism as well as respect for the time the other person took to meet you.

COVID-19 guidelines

According to the Australian Government’s travel advice, COVID-19 remains a risk in Mongolia. Local COVID-19 measures are currently at Level 2 – Yellow – ‘all-out readiness’. Follow the advice of local authorities and minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19.

If you experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 during your stay in Ulaanbaatar, please isolate away from other RAW participants. The Australia Awards – South Asia and Mongolia team can provide you with a Rapid Antigen Test. If you do test positive, please advise organisers as soon as possible.

Travellers are no longer required to present a negative PCR test to enter Mongolia. Different requirements may apply depending on your embarkation point and airline. You will not be required to quarantine on arrival.

Environmentally-friendly principles

Workshops and conferences are contributors to the global carbon footprint, with travel as a major source of events-related carbon emissions. Other ways by which events add to the carbon footprint are single-use plastics, excessive use of paper / printed materials, and food.

We will make a conscious effort to reduce and offset the carbon footprint created by the Regional Alumni Workshop, including:

  • Arranging direct flights where possible
  • Arranging group transport to and from the airport and encouraging participants to use ridesharing where possible
  • Minimising the use of non-biodegradable and non-recyclable products
  • Reducing the use of printed materials

We encourage you to take proactive steps to ensure the Regional Alumni Workshop is a green event and to think about implementing similar practices when organising activities in your workplaces, communities or in your personal life.

Key speakers and discussion leaders

In order of appearance:

Mr Batbaatar is a senior official with the Mongolian Ministry of Environment and Tourism. He is currently a Senior Officer in the Department of Climate Change, Policy and Planning and has previously held roles in the Department of State Administration and Management and the Department of Green Development Policy and Planning.  He has also served as Assistant Minister to the Vice Minister for Nature, Environment and Tourism.

He completed a Master of Public Policy and Management at the University of Melbourne in 2014 with the support of an Australia Awards scholarship.

Hina Salim Lotia is a Development Professional with over 23 years of technical experience in project implementation, research, training and capacity building, program development and knowledge management. Currently, she is a Development Consultant and Short-Term Advisor at World Bank in disaster risk management and climate change in South Asia. Over the years, Hina has spearheaded the development of two pioneering programs on climate change and water with LEAD in Pakistan. Having worked in both the public and non-profit sectors, she has designed and led planning and development of numerous initiatives on sustainable development, environment and climate change, water resource management, rural and urban resilient development and knowledge networks. Hina has successfully managed projects and programs across Pakistan, in South Asia and parts of Central and Southeast Asia.

She has also designed, developed and rolled out multitude training and capacity enhancement programs at national and international platforms. In recent times, she led the project titled Methods Toolbox for Assessing Loss and Damage at Local Level and contributed to publications which were cited in WGI and WGII contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) among others. Hina is a member of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) Strategic Advisory Council, a Board Member of Water Environment Forum and Co-coordinator of Upper Indus Basin Network in Pakistan.

Dr Mizna Mohamed is a professional in the environment sector in Maldives. The steppingstone of her career in this field was receiving an Australian Development Co-Operation Scholarship (ADCOS) to pursue her bachelor’s degree in meteorology and oceanography in Australia. Since then, Dr Mizna has completed her postgraduate studies focusing on valuation of coral reefs in Maldives. Over the last 23 years, she has worked with various sectors including the government, academia and civil society.

Currently, Dr Mizna works as the Director of Science and Innovation at Small Island Geographic Society, a non-government organisation based in Maldives and as an environmental consultant. Some of her work has also contributed to include the First and Second National Communication of the Maldives to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Maldives National Adaptation Plan of Action to climate change.

More recently, her work involves research on conservation and social behavioural change, working closely with local communities. Dr Mizna looks forward to meeting all Australia Awards alumni working in different areas and learning from each other. She hopes to build good connections to strengthen the work done by herself and the alumni at Australia Awards Regional Alumni Workshop.

Dr Farhina Ahmed joined the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as a Secretary in 2022. In her 30 years long and illustrious career, she has worked in the civil service in different capacities. In addition, she was entrusted with many vital roles in the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, and Field Administration. Dr Ahmed is also an officer in the Bangladesh civil service.

Dr Ahmed obtained her bachelor’s (with honors) and master’s degrees from the Department of Political Science at the University of Dhaka. Later, she received a master’s degree from Monash University with the support of an Australia Awards Scholarship and a PhD from RMIT University, under the Australian Leadership Award.

Dr Ahmed also completed an advanced course on human rights from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University in Sweden. She participated in a significant number of trainings, workshops, seminars, and conferences at home and abroad during her long career.

Dr Oyun Sanjaasuren is the Director of External Affairs at the Green Climate Fund. A former Minister from Mongolia, Oyun has extensive experience in representing international organisations. She served as the first President of the United Nations (UN) Environment Assembly, the governing body of UN Environment. After leaving the Government of Mongolia in 2016, she was appointed Chair of the Global Water Partnership, an intergovernmental organisation to advance water security by working with over 3,000 institutional partners in more than 180 countries. Oyun’s five consecutive terms in Mongolia’s Parliament included stints as Minister of Environment and Green Development (2012-2014) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2007 – 2008). She holds PhD in Earth Sciences from the University of Cambridge. Oyun has also been a prominent advocate of civil and social rights.

Dr Sindhu Prasad Dhungana is a Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Environment for the government of Nepal. He pursed a Master of Forest Science from the University of Melbourne in 2005 and a PhD in Environmental Science from Monash University in 2014, both funded by the Australia Awards Scholarships. Dr Dhungana led the formulation of Nepal’s National Forest Policy and National Environment Policy in 2019 and the National REDD+ Strategy in 2018.  He also led the formulation and initiation of a number of climate finance projects including FIP-funded Forests for Prosperity Project, two medium sized GCF-funded projects and five GEF-funded projects on behalf of the Nepal government.

At the same time, Dr Dhungana led Nepal’s REDD Implementation Centre and was crucial in preparing and approving the Emission Reduction Program document, developing a Gender Action Plan for REDD+ and signing the Emission Reduction Payment Agreement with World Bank. Dr Dhungana has represented the government of Nepal in various international fora and institutions such as by being the focal point at the United Nations Forum on Forests and as a Council Member of Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation among others.

Currently, he is serving as a steering committee member at Asia-Pacific region in Mountain Partnership and as a member in Intergovernmental Expert Group of Mountain Economy in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). Dr Dhungana advocates for community-based forest management, gender equality, women empowerment, rights of indigenous people, dignified workplace and environmental and climate justice.