During the week of June 1 – 5, 2011, Communities Without Boundaries International visited Kathmandu, Nepal to assess the challenges and opportunities of engaging the country in addressing potential or latent conflict that might exist despite the official end of the war in 2007. The purpose of this engagement was (1) to provide leadership and nonviolence training to youth and community leaders, (2) assess the need for community building and development activities in Nepal, and (3) develop collaborative network opportunities for future interventions.
CWBI’s team consisted of its president, Johnny J. Mack, vice president of programs, Maneshka Eliatamby, Silvia Susnjic, Vice President of Research, and local partners Shiva Hari Dahal and Komal Pokhrel of the National Peace Campaign in Nepal. The mission included meetings with key leaders among youth and civil society from across the country, and academics from Tribhuvan University. CWBI also met with business leaders Suraj Vaidya, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, and Ambika Shrestha, president of The Federation of Business and Professional Women-Nepal. Additionally, CWBI conducted an introductory training on nonviolence philosophy and methodology as espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr. at Dwarika Hotel in Kathmandu for approximately 25 youth and members of civil society. Also in attendance were members of the academic community, including a peace studies professor from Tribhuvan University, and youth members of various political parties.
Among the issues discussed were the various challenges and opportunities that Nepal currently faces, including youth related issues, unemployment among rural populations, the large numbers of Nepali people leaving the country in search of work. The conversations also included though provoking discussions on ways in which the country’s issues can be resolved, especially through community building and development guided by the principles of nonviolence and peace building.