For the past eight years, members of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ) have made frequent trips to Nepal and quietly been a part of the development process of that country.
They have met with top leaders in major venues in Kathmandu, and huddled with small groups of citizens in the most remote areas. Theyâ€™ve been utilized as consultants and called upon to teach conflict management and communication skills to political leaders, civic society spokespersons and women representatives.
Their work was recently recognized with a presentation of the Everest Summit Award by the top Nepal government leader, Maoist Chairman Prachanda, in Kathmandu on May 25. Dee Aker, IPJ interim executive director, and Laura Taylor, an IPJ program officer who has worked extensively in Nepal, accepted the honor during a two-week visit to the country.
â€œIn our work around the world, perhaps it is the inspiration and dedication of the women peacemakers and commitment of youth that teaches us the most about the essentials in peace building,â€ Aker said. â€œPeople want to cultivate a new respect for diversity while working for inclusion of voices and the profound rights of citizens. We hope to join you in the creation of a truly inclusive, democratic and just state.â€
The award, given by Todayâ€™s Youth Asia magazine, was launched to recognize international figures who have been successful in bringing about positive reform in the society through humanitarian work. Maoists Chairman Prachanda said that he welcomed the participation of the international community in the development process of Nepal.
â€œI am convinced that our next generation will contribute to Nepalâ€™s progress and development, and the Everest Summit Award is the first step towards achieving that positive identity worldwide,â€ he said.
For more information about the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, go to peace.sandiego.edu