Esuna was born and grew up in the Republic of Buryatia, a region of indigenous people of the Mongolian origin and a centre of Buddhism in Russia. Her hometown – Ulan-Ude – lies along the Trans-Siberian Railway and is a few hours away from Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake. When she was an undergraduate student at St. Petersburg State University, she used to take a 5-day train ride to Ulan-Ude every summer, which was the most economical means to get home.
Since childhood Esuna has been driven to learn more and make a meaningful contribution to society. It is this thirst for knowledge that motivated her to apply to Cambridge University after a year abroad in Beijing. She was awarded a full scholarship for her MPhil and then PhD studies at Cambridge which she completed at the age of 26. Based on her experience studying at Cambridge, she wrote a book «The Star of the Nomadess: In Harmony between the East and the West» which received 'The best publication award' in 2016 by the journal “Baikal” (Buryatia).
Her motivation to make a positive impact brought her to the UN, first in Geneva and then in its headquarters in New York, where she leads data analytics, research and accountability for gender equality and sustainable development in over 100 countries. In 2017, she became a laureate of the Chevening award by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for her contribution to international development.
Esuna speaks 7 languages (Buryat, Russian, English, Chinese, French, Spanish and Burmese). In her own time, she studies Buddhist philosophy, reads history, and explores art.
Esuna's most meaningful contributions so far:
🔹 Writing the award-winning book “The Star of the Nomadess” which has contributed to transforming mindsets and social norms about women’s agency in Buryatia with a population of 1 million people;
🔹 Leading the coalition at UNDP resulting in a position paper that influenced adoption of the first-ever international policy, thereby creating better employment, access to healthcare, and learning for 10,000 workers in 130 countries;
🔹 Co-creating the global policy tracker that monitors and analyzes socio-economic measures in response to COVID-19 in 221 countries through a gender lens, contributing to evidence-based policymaking and public good worldwide;
🔹 Founding the global Buryat club that serves to preserve the endangered Buryat language and cultural heritage for current and future generations of Buryat-Mongols globally.