In the Field
Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative
IPJ Field Mission - Birgunj, Janakpur, Kathmandu and Pokhara
In November 2010, IPJ Deputy Director Dee Aker and Nepal Program Officer Chris Groth traveled to Nepal to hold interactive workshops with community and youth leaders in Pokhara and Janakpur, a workshop with female political leaders and members of the Constituent Assembly Women’s Caucus in Kathmandu, and a participatory roundtable in Birgunj. Aker and Groth also traveled to several rural villages to follow up with participants from the IPJ Peace Radio Project (2005-2006) and previous trainings to assess the long-term impact of the IPJ’s 10 years of peacebuilding work in Nepal.
The IPJ continues to employ a whole community approach for its peacebuilding activities in Nepal, as participants from the workshops and roundtables conducted in November 2010 included political and business leaders, journalists, human rights advocates, intellectuals, youth leaders, students, teachers and farmers. During the trip, the IPJ also held individual meetings with government representatives, political leaders, security officials and journalists to discuss the status of the peace process and the current state of affairs in the country. The IPJ was supported in Nepal by local partners from Women for Peace and Democracy-Nepal, Manabiya Srot Bikas Kendra Nepal and Today’s Youth Asia.
IPJ Field Mission - Janakpur and Kathmandu
On the eve of a threatened meltdown of the constitutional assembly process due to ongoing confrontations between political parties, an IPJ team returned to Nepal. In response to requests from young, discouraged leaders in the Terai region, women from smaller parties who are newly engaged in political activities, and a range of professionals from media, academia, business and civil society, a series of interactive programs were offered in Janakpur and Kathmandu in May 2010.
From May 7 to 18, 2010, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ) held a series of programs and meetings with key leaders across the political, civil and security sectors in Nepal.The purpose of the visit was to conduct three participatory programs, bringing together actors from diverse sectors of the Nepalese community to build experience in community collaboration and develop skills in peacebuilding.
Specific goals for these programs grew out of requests made in January 2010 in a series of roundtable encounters in both the southern and central regions of Nepal. The activities were designed to 1) familiarize leaders from various sectors in the Janakpur community with common skills for cooperation in addressing security issues; 2) provide knowledge and leadership skills to young leaders on effective communication and conflict management; and 3) advance understanding in agenda setting and negotiating for women newly engaged in policy and legislative activities.
The three-member team from the IPJ and the University of San Diego was led by Dee Aker, IPJ deputy director, and included Maj. Jason Ruedi, assistant professor of Naval Science at USD and specialist in community policing, and Upendra Malla Tara, M.A. student at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies and director of MSBK in Pokhara, Nepal. Supporting partners in Nepal were led by Santosh Shah of Today’s Youth Asia (TYA) and Shobha Shrestha of South Asia Partnerships- Nepal (SAP-Nepal).
IPJ Daylight Series: Reports from the Field
On February 16, IPJ Deputy Director Dee Aker reported on her recent assessment trip to Nepal, which included roundtables discussions in Kathmandu and the Terai (Janakpur and Siraha) with leaders from civil society, women’s groups and political parties, as well as local journalists and members of the business community.
IPJ Field Mission - Janakpur and Kathmandu
From January 4 to 12, IPJ Deputy Director Dee Aker returned to Nepal to conduct a series of roundtables and interviews with diverse communities in Nepal. Meeting with political and business leaders, lawyers, journalists, human rights advocates, intellectuals, youth leaders, and school teachers, both in Kathmandu and Janakpur in the Terai, Aker sought their perspectives on how they would overcome some of the roadblocks that exacerbate tensions in the southern Terai region and which may derail the creation of the new constitution due out in just four months.
While Aker’s interviews in Kathmandu indicated that concerns in the capital focused on political bitterness and stand-offs that threaten creation of the anticipated constitution, the Terai encounters reflected the volatile frustration of still feeling outside the politicians’ living rooms where decisions seem to be made in Kathmandu or internationally, as well as the massive unemployment among the youth, a border too porous to Indian mafias and drugs, violence, kidnapping and the rampant corruption and impunity that prevents development in their region.