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Accelerated Collaboration, Dynamic Presenters Spur the Efforts of Nepal’s Emerging Leaders

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

begin quote“I learned to speak less and listen more.” — NELP Participant

Even the powerful heat and humidity of Pokhara in August could not stifle the enthusiasm for learning and spirit of collaboration emanating from the participants of the 2019 Nepali Emerging Leaders Program (NELP), an initiative of the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (Kroc IPJ). As they engaged in a mediation simulation, participants embraced their roles, jumping up and shouting at one another, all while the mediators calmed the situation and pushed the discussion in productive directions. Participants listened with rapt attention to a presentation from a member of Nepal’s National Assembly about the country’s federal structure under the new constitution. Providing feedback to one another about the projects they are implementing as part of the program, participants eagerly supported one another with lessons from their own experiences. “The topics of discussion were good, the presentations were interesting, and there was coordination between the participants,” reflected one cohort member.

The 2019 NELP Cohort completed the third of its four seminars in early August in the city of Pokhara, an important tourist destination popular with locals and international travelers alike for its natural beauty. Following sessions in the country’s plains (terai) in January and the capital in April, program organizers hosted the third seminar in Nepal’s hilly region, with the fourth and final seminar to take place in November in the mountains, all in the interest of exposing participants to all of Nepal’s geographic regions and peoples.

The Pokhara seminar — hosted by the Kroc IPJ in collaboration with its Kathmandu-based partner, the Leadership Academy — included facilitators from diverse backgrounds leading sessions on topics “very relevant with current and future challenges.” Many participants expected to put the skills of community mediation into practice immediately. The former captain of Nepal’s cricket team shared personal experiences about leadership that resonated with participants. “By drawing out examples from his cricketing days, [he] really struck a chord. It was inspiring,” assessed one participant. Said another in regards to a session on the right to information led by the spokesperson of the Right to Information Commission, “Best memory of NELP so far.”

A key goal of the NELP is to strengthen collaboration between the diverse individuals who make up the program’s cohort as a more effective means of sharing best practices to address community challenges. “It helps to get new feedback and ideas…I will improve my project with ideas I got from the feedback session,” reflected one participant. More than that, the program also wants to set an example that collaboration across caste, geographic, and political divides is possible. Participants have found that the cohort is getting closer and “interacting better”. A number of members coordinated a disaster response after devastating flooding caused by monsoon rains. At the invitation of an NELP cohort member who is an LGBTIQ+ activist, one participant attended a pride parade for the first time and published an article in the Kathmandu Post about the event and the advocacy work of his colleague’s organization. 

Nepal sits at a critical point in its journey to peace and prosperity: the constitution offers new opportunities for local self-government, entrepreneurs are establishing innovative enterprises at a rapid pace, and next year’s “Visit Nepal 2020” campaign will be a huge boon for the tourism sector. And yet, as one participant noted, “Nepal now is facing the lack of young emerging leaders and the handover of duties and roles from our older generation to the young one.” For that reason, the NELP program will continue supporting these exceptional leaders and elevating their success for the country and its people.

Visit the NELP website to learn more about support Nepal’s emerging leaders.


Daniel Orth
(619) 260-4066

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies


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