3rd National Youth Conference for United States Youth Advisory Council concludes

3rd National Youth Conference for United States Youth Advisory Council concludes

KATHMANDU, May 20: Yuwa hosted the United States Embassy Youth Advisory Council (YAC), Nepal’s Third National Conference 2012 from Saturday, May 19 to Sunday, May 20 at Park Village Resort, Budanilkatha. Youth activists and NGO workers from all over the country participated in the conference sharing their work experiences, aspirations and struggles along with learning communication skills and discussing crucial issues concerning Nepal’s development.

Forty two participants arrived from several districts of Nepal and the capital, including LGBT groups.

The opening session was graced by HE Scott H. DeLisi, US Ambassador to Nepal; Anil Keshary Shah, CEO, Mega Bank; and Rabindra Mishra, Head, BBC Nepali Service.

Shah reflected upon five key sectors in Nepal that have economic growth possibilities such as agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, service, and skills and productivity enhancement. He also pointed out the areas that need youth leadership, namely, politics, social institutions, economy and labor. He opined, “It’s a myth that our country is small and poor. In fact, our thinking is poor. You shouldn’t underestimate yourselves, and take leadership given that the older generation of leaders makes way for the youth.” He also touched upon spirituality and satisfaction that one can drive from serving the country. Yet again he gave tips to the participants on how to be happy, which is, to have family, health, money, power and lastly, knowledge and spirituality. “The question for this generation is what we’ve added to the value of this country along with a reflection of self, he added.”

Mishra focused on how youth can move ahead with practical philanthropy. “When one can relate himself with another person’s suffering, only then will he be able to sacrifice and contribute for the lesser fortunate ones.” He well realized the need for youth to come out of merely listening and talking in workshops, concluding, “Don’t just be the catalyst for conversation but be the catalyst of action.”

DeLisi, looking at the diversity of the participants, mentioned that the Nepali youth have more in common, and the old stereotypical groups who have been demanding caste-based federal states ought to learn from them and give them opportunities. “The older ones need to retire, and let the youth take on. Of course, they’ll make mistakes but they deserve a chance to overcome from it and learn.”

Congratulating the gathered participants, Envoy DeLisi added, “The network built here will help youth in future and this platform is being used to pursue a broader vision.” He pushed the participants to demand for their rights rather than merely expecting it. He summed up with, “Be passionate, be critical, but not just in portraying the problems. Move ahead with the vision of new Nepal and take leadership.”

The workshop sessions included panel discussions pointing out loopholes and vision for improvement of several developmental factors of Nepal, such as entrepreneurship possibilities and challenges, understanding the new Constitution of Nepal, development: Lessons learnt, identifying the present and future needs, and education.

The chief downside of Nepali education was the theory-based rote-learning regime that has persisted for long – rather than focusing on practical learning – causing lack of curiosity, implying that a teacher is never to be questioned and his teaching is to be blindly accepted. The session also touched on the quality of Nepali teachers in terms of their qualifications, sincerity and methods.

Speakers Subash Ghimire and Shishir Khanal shared their positive experiences of working in education sector in rural areas, pointing that even illiterate folks were eager to give their children good education.

The session was chaired by Dr. Pramod Bhatta, researcher at Martin Chautari, and moderated by Richa Bhattarai, cofounder and Vice President of Yuwa.

The development session focused on drug abuse, trafficking, maternal and child health, women’s issues, and agricultural and economic growth. The discussion was moderated by Khanchan Kharel, student of development studies at Kathmandu University, and chaired by Bihari Krishna Shrestha, social scientist, along with Tom Cress, Director at Program and Project Development Office of USAID, Nepal.

Heather Steil, Public Information Officer of the Embassy of the United States to Nepal, informed, “Youth consists of three quarters of the country’s population and they feel unheard. The Embassy wants to establish connection with those outside the Valley as well as reach out to larger mass rather than just politicians. In previous conferences, we did the listening and training but this year we have been funding five civic engagement projects based on criteria such as its equity with our goals, realistic and sustainable ones, with a broad vision.”

The chosen projects are ‘Promoting emerging youth icons for positive social change’ by Apar Poudel, journalist, ‘Eco Community’ by Bhuwan K.C, environmentalist, ‘wh-Y-Portal’ by Rukh Gurung, President of Yuwa, ‘Justice through media’ by Sabana Poudel, student of law, and ‘Hamra Katha,’ a documentary based on Subhash Ghimire, co-founder of Saraswoti Foundation.

Steil added that she was inspired by the enthusiastic youths of YAC, saying, “Some of them have overwhelming leadership and commitment and who just need the right opportunity to implement their ideas,” she said and added, “The Embassy of the United States also gives training and exchange program to youths.”
Published on 2012-05-20 22:26:59

As Published on GenNext- REPUBLICA on PAGE 5, of Vol. IV 029 Issue ,Monday, Jestha 8, 2069 ( May 21, 2012 )



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