Award Citation

Professor Shagdaryn Bira is a Mongolian historian who has won international acclaim for his work. Professor Bira's comprehensive research has delved into the culture, religion, languages, and classic literature of Mongolia, with a focus on historical studies. In addition, he has broadened his perspective to include multifaceted and comprehensive analyses and considerations that include India and Tibet. This has enabled him to systematically formulate a unique worldview of nomadic society from the perspective of the Mongols themselves.

After graduating from the Department of History in the Moscow State University of International Relations, Professor Bira returned to Mongolia to become the Senior Researcher at the Institute of History, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, where he began his research career in earnest. In 1972, he was awarded a Doctor of Science degree from the Institute of Oriental Studies in the USSR Academy of Sciences (now the Russian Academy of Sciences). The same year, he was appointed Academician of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, and was selected to be the Vice President of the same institution the following year. Thus, he has become increasingly important in the Mongolian academic community. Since then, he has been invited as a visiting professor by universities and research institutes in several countries, including Russia, France, India, and Japan, and has performed a diversity of activities in several international academic societies related to the study of Mongolian, Tibetan, and Indian affairs. When the International Association for Mongol Studies was established in 1987, he was appointed its General Secretary, a position he has since held to this day. Thus, he has played a central role in the worldwide dissemination and organization of Mongol studies.

Professor Bira's research can well be said to comprehensively cover the entire course of the Mongol people. It starts in the 13th-14th centuries in the Mongol Period, the epoch in the world history, and continues through several historical upheavals to the 21st century. In particular, his accurate and penetrating insights into the formation and development of the unique Mongolian traditional culture as revealed in his books, including the Mongolian Historiography in the 13th-17th Centuries, continues to provide an important stimulus to researchers working in the same field throughout the world, including Japan.

Thus, Professor Bira's exceptional accomplishments covering the entire range of Mongol research, with a focus on historiography, and his noteworthy contributions to the organization and spread of research on an international scale, make him a truly worth recipient of the Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.