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Reconnecting with Mongolia shaped Mark’s career

When Mark set out on his New Colombo Plan (NCP) journey, he saw it as his opportunity to reconnect with a country he loved.

Even before Mark undertook his NCP experience in 2015, he knew he wanted to pursue his passion for government and law.

“I studied law, political science, and international relations at the Australian National University. I had a strong interest in law, government, and social sciences, so those fields were a natural choice for me.”

Mark viewed the NCP as an opportunity to return to a country he already had a strong relationship with as he had lived in Mongolia two years prior.

“I had worked as a Research Associate for the National Legal Institute of Mongolia. It was an extraordinary experience, and I became fascinated by Ulaanbaatar, the countryside, Mongolia’s culture, language and history, and its legal development as a post-socialist Central Asian state.”

“The NCP offered an unparalleled opportunity to immerse myself in Mongolian life again, so I jumped at the chance.”

While in-location, Mark completed legal internships, coursework, and his thesis, each pursuing areas of law and government he was passionate about.

“I completed legal internships at the Judicial General Council of Mongolia, a body responsible for supervising Mongolia’s judiciary, and at MAX Group, a Mongolian conglomerate operating in multiple industries. I also completed coursework and my thesis on Mongolian women judges.”

Mark Pennini being admitted to the Supreme Court of Victoria
Mark being admitted to the Supreme Court of Victoria (Photo credit: Mark Pennini)

Mark’s experience in Mongolia was filled with highlights.

“I really valued the opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture, language, and landscape. I have a lot of fond memories of travelling to the countryside, especially Lake Khövsgöl.”

The NCP confirmed for Mark that he wanted to pursue a legal career.

“It was a brilliant experience to meet some very talented lawyers and researchers working in a challenging environment. I was inspired by their work and dedication to legal development in Mongolia.”

Mark’s time with the NCP in Mongolia was a transformative experience.

“The NCP program influenced me in countless ways. My experiences through internships and study assured me that a career in law was right for me. My time there shaped the way I approach a lot of life’s challenges.”

Mark has gone on to work in the legal field.

“I am now a practising lawyer, currently working as an Associate in Hunt & Hunt’s Melbourne office, where I work in the commercial litigation and bankruptcy/insolvency team.”

For scholars who may be just beginning their NCP journeys, Mark says preparation is key.

“Learning as much as you can about your destination country makes immersing yourself once there so much easier. Having local contacts really helped me. Do your best to make local friends and professional contacts. Long after your program finishes, it’s those connections which really matter.”

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