When she heard of her appointment as Nepal’s ambassador to Israel two years ago, Dr Anjan Shakya was not elated. She preferred some other country. Moreover, she feared Israel might not have been entirely free of the conflict; she grew up hearing about the war between Israel and Palestine. On February 9, she reached the 'holy land' (The land of Israel is considered pious because of its connection with the birth, crucifiction and resurrection of Jesus Christ) as Nepal’s ambassador to Israel.
In no time, she felt at home in Israel. She focused on three goals: bringing Israel’s agricultural technology to Nepal, enhancing diplomatic ties between the two countries, and ensuring better conditions of Nepali laborers working there. Shakya is quite happy with her achievements.
Here is our edited version of conversation with Dr Shakya:
How do you evaluate your performance in the last two years?
I think I have been able to make Nepal highly visible in Israel. It was not the case earlier. Some important projects are underway in Nepal which will define the two countries' relations for ages.
I had a dream to bring Israel’s agricultural technology to Nepal. Less than three percent of people are involved in agriculture, and yet they export food. Nepal and Israeli have agreed to open an 'Agriculture Center of Excellence' in all seven provinces. This is going to be a milestone in modern agricultural technology enhancement.
It is said that technology, machines cost a lot.
The agriculture equipment in Israel is expensive. The center of excellence will involve researchers, professors, concerned ministries and agricultural enthusiasts. A lot of students have received training from Israel and we are trying to increase this number. They can contribute enormously. We can change the country’s production capacity.
You were honored with the ambassador of the year award in Israel.
My duty is to give my best. Challenges come but I try to overcome them with a positive attitude and hard work. Awards give you happiness and make you responsible.
People say you are the sister-in-law of PM KP Sharma Oli, and that was why you were chosen as an ambassador.
This is false. I have known our prime minister for a long time. I only realized later that he was married to a Shakya. We are not even distant relatives. Thanks to social media, rumors sometimes become so compelling that truth doesn't come out even after you explain it multiple times.
Have Nepali laborers in Israel felt changes after you took the charge?
Whenever Nepalis come to the embassy, I have never turned them down. I listen to everyone's grievances and the embassy tries to solve the issues. We are also gearing up to get more Nepali caregivers. An agreement has been signed to recruit 300 Nepali woman workers for the job. Since this is a G2G agreement, applicants have to pay a minimum for the entire process.
How has Israel treated you so far?
I find this place amazing. We can learn a lot about this country’s society, and culture. Israelis are disciplined and tough. They don't wait for someone else to solve their problem, but do everything on their own. My fraternity has given me much love and support. I have fallen in love with this country.