NRNA ICC Expert Conference: Expectations and Challenges

Published On: June 27, 2018 04:53 PM NPT By: Dr. Tika Lamsal

When NRNA ICC participants and experts are returning from their visit to a rendezvous of exquisite beauty, unprecedented innovation, and prosperity, San Francisco, they are also taking home a revealing dream and commitment regarding prosperity and consolidation of resources in their motherland, Nepal. NRNA ICC’s North America Region’s Expert Conference on Skill, Knowledge, and Technology Transfer in Nepal, organized in California from June 16-17, has proved to be one of the rarest events of this magnitude that has inspired deep commitments, renewed energy, and uplifted morale of Nepali diaspora. This conference has ended with a note to release a white paper in coordination with the government of Nepal with a view to endorsing how research, skills, and innovative technologies accomplished by Nepali researchers, scientists, educators, and medical professionals in the diaspora can be utilized for the benefit of Nepal. Attended by more than 300 NRNA participants, including nearly 42 Nepali scientists, medical professionals, and educators from America, Australia, Canada, the UK, Cyprus, Russia, Germany, Japan, and Malaysia, this conference offered a vision and commitment to let most of us believe that Nepali scientists, medical professionals, and educators around the world command a strong capability to boost up their nation’s prosperous image not only in Nepal but across the world.

As most of the participants in the conference, including the chair of NRNA ICC Bhaban Bhatta, repeatedly stressed during their talk, Nepali people’s image in the world can’t be brightened unless Nepal itself shines with prosperity and socio-economic development. Successful stories about Nepali individuals we collect from across the world are not enough to instill among us a spirit of pride if Nepal’s image, in general, remains tarnished as a poor economy marred by divided politics and corrupt socio-political system. This convention has also debunked a long-standing myth about Nepali diaspora across the globe that they only carry along with them a sharply divided Gorkhali mentality hinged on petty politics back home. Highly disciplined and well managed, this event has exuded smiles of unprecedented hope amongst Nepali diaspora in the world with a deep understanding not only of our national values and relationships, but also that of our deeply engaging and highly sophisticated expertise in diverse areas of knowledge, skills, and innovative designs that Nepali scholars, researchers, and scientists have accomplished.

 Organized with a purpose to explore the role of Nepali diaspora on accelerating Nepal’s economic growth, the expert conference was divided into 7 different symposia: Education and Development; Science, Technology and Big Data; Health Sciences and Technology; Tourism, Natural Resources, and Environment; Urban Development, Planning, and Public Safety; Agriculture, and Agricultural Economics; Social Empowerment, and Economic Development. Each symposium had 6-7 presentations on respective areas of expertise with more emphasis on how those research findings and resources by Nepali professionals in the diaspora can be transferred to the development of Nepal. All the sessions were heavily attended, and they elicited immensely productive interaction among the participants. Coordinated by Dr. RudraAryal, a physics professor at Franklin Pierce University and convened by NRNA ICC member DilliBhattarai under the coordination of NRNA regional Vice-president Uma KarkiThapa, this expert conference along with 7th NRNA AGM proved to be one of a kind in enthusing regional diaspora community across North America.

What seemed to be quite distinct practice at this convention was the spirit of unity and bonding among like-minded intellects that really wanted to effectuate tangible changes in Nepal. The experts didn’t only share their expertise and resources with their curious audience but also fostered a dialogue with the diasporic Nepali leadership as well as the representatives of Nepal government in a way to suggest that if provided appropriate forums and spaces, the experts are impatiently waiting to transfer their knowledge, skills, innovative research and technologies to the benefit of Nepal. The only concern most of the experts vocalized during informal interactions was the need for an appropriate platform and reliable state mechanisms for implementing the policies and creating tangible impact in Nepal. Given the stature of these participants’ expertise and their willingness to sacrifice time, talent and invest their experiences for the betterment of their motherland, this is high time the government started responding through action. The participants’ commitment indicates that we need to establish relationships and create spaces for those experts if we want to see real changes in the future. Mostly marred by bickering factions and internal sense of envy regarding whose names may shine brighter as a result of good decisions, NRNA and ICC leadership, at least for the moment, seem to have challenged those obstacles and strengthened their core leadership values by demonstrating that we can rise above those petty selfish interests and work together towards creating viable environment for positive dialogue with its membership as well as with the government of Nepal. NRNA leadership, if remain committed to their promises during this conference, can channel this invaluable expertise from the diaspora by acting as a bridge between the intellects and Nepal government to foster a much-needed dialogue between the government and the experts.

Also, instead of crying over the spilled milk and regretting over the increasing brain drain and its far-reaching implications to the nation, it’s high time the responsible authorities in Nepal initiated a serious dialogue with the diaspora experts for reversing this practice with a brain gain. During the times when Nepal is undergoing a paradigm shift on its way to prosperity and development, this conference can act as a milestone to channel cream of the crop talents across diaspora toward nation-building. That the representatives of the government, the Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari, and Nepali ambassador to the U.S. Dr. Arjun Karki, were present during the conference and seemed to seriously engage in open conversations regarding the potential for strategic implementation of the policies for change offers us a hope that Government of Nepal is serious about channeling these key resources from the diaspora for the betterment of the country.

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