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Dr Esuna Dugarova advances positive outcomes for society by integrating inclusive and equitable perspectives in policies, programs and strategies, both in the physical and digital world. With nearly 15 years of work experience, she has provided policy advice to over 100 country offices at the UN, consulted for the World Bank on civic engagement, and assessed multimillion socio-economic proposals for the European Union.

In parallel with her policy work, Esuna leads community action and strengthens transnational social capital. She founded the Global Buryat Academy that preserves the endangered cultural heritage of her homeland for future generations. As a visiting scholar at Columbia University, she conducts primary research about Buryatia that examines power, agency and identity amid geopolitical and socioeconomic transformations in Eurasia.

Esuna is the recipient of various international, national and local awards for her contribution to international development, community action, and thought leadership. With a PhD from Cambridge University, she has authored over 50 publications and knows 8 languages.

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Photo by Michel Bührer

Policy expert

Esuna Dugarova has provided policy advice, strategic guidance, and technical support on gender mainstreaming to over 100 country offices at UNDP. She has also coordinated and provided strategic advice to the Gender Steering and Implementation Committee, the highest-level decision-making mechanism at UNDP  chaired by the UN Under-Secretary-General.

Esuna is a creator and research coordinator of the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker that monitors and analyzes socio-economic policy measures in response to COVID-19 in 221 countries from a gender perspective. The tracker has been widely used by governments, academics, civil society and international bodies, including the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, thereby contributing to evidence-based policymaking worldwide.

She also led a coalition of over 50 workers resulting in a position paper that influenced the adoption of International Personnel Services Agreement in 2020 at UNDP, its first policy of this kind that created better employment, access to healthcare, and learning opportunities for 10,000 employees in 130 countries, thereby making the institution more equal, fair, and inclusive.



Dr Dugarova has conducted quantitative and qualitative research on a wide range of issues — from poverty, social protection and gender equality globally to Buddhism, language, and identity in Buryatia — which reflects multiple and intersecting dimensions of development while showing interlinkage between global policy and local practice.

As an academic, she has worked at Cambridge University and London School of Economics, and gave various talks and lectures around the world, including at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), Global Institute for Women's Leadership of King's College London, and Chinese University of Hong Kong. She also supervises young scientists using interdisciplinary approaches.

Based on her research, Dr Dugarova has written over 50 publications, including articles in international scientific journals, policy papers and technical reports published by multilateral organizations (UN, World Bank, IMF, EU), and blogs in international and national newspapers and magazines. 


In addition, Esuna regularly contributes to high-quality research as an invited expert reviewer at various academic journals - from The Lancet and Global Change, Peace & Security to Social Policy & Administration, Social Politics and International Journal of Discrimination and the Law.

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Esuna's first award-winning book “The Star of the Nomadess” — an authentic account of living experience in the West through the intersectional lens of Buryat identity — contributes to transforming social norms about women’s agency in Buryatia and beyond, while promoting interconnectedness in today’s globalised world.

Available on Amazon, Google Books, British Library, Cambridge University Library, and public libraries in Moscow, St Petersburg and Buryatia.

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Community leader

Esuna is a founder and head of the Global Buryat Academy. It preserves the endangered Buryat language and cultural heritage for current and future generations, while enhancing transnational social capital through educational and capacity development activities.

She also mentors individuals from diverse national, ethnic, gender, and educational backgrounds, as well as local grassroots organizations. Some of her mentees work in major multinational organizations and academic institutions around the world, while some create innovative home-grown solutions to improve livelihoods in their local communities.

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