Presented by Sugam Singh

An aspiring peace practitioner, Sugam completed his undergraduate studies in 2010 from University of New Orleans in International Studies with a concentration in Diplomacy and International Organization. After being involved with The World Affairs Council of New Orleans and International Stability Operations Association in Washington DC, he returned to Nepal in 2012, in order to better understand the ongoing peace process and conflict management initiatives.

He has worked with the Nepal Peace Support Project, and for a brief period interned at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction. He wishes to further work on local peace mediation and transitional justice issues in Nepal, and is currently working on his Master’s degree in Dispute and Conflict Resolution at the University of Oregon.

Highlights from the Presentation:

  • Nepal is the size of Arkansas.
  • 80% Hindu.
  • Nepal formed in 1700s and control of Nepal has been tumultuous since. In 1950s, the first social movement happened.
  • Until 1990, there were middle class results and then the People’s Movement and Civil War began and lasted until 2006.
  • Nepal has been afflicted by violence and power struggles for hundreds of years. The population is very depressed.
  • There are now more than 100 political parties.
  • The literacy rate is very low (65%) AND you are considered literate if you can read and write your name.
  • There is poverty everywhere. Most people live on less than a dollar a day.
  • Over 100 nationalities/cultures mixed together makes it difficult to organize a national system that is efficient.
  • There is an unprecedented pace of change happening and social constructs are not keeping up so violence and discrimination is rampant.
  • No active constitution because of the political turmoil.
  • No women are in power. Nepal is basically controlled by older males.
  • Current challenges include impunity, political stalemates, human rights violations, migrant worker exploitation, energy and environmental problems, sustainability, and corruption.
  • Essentially everything that can go wrong with a fast growing economy is going wrong.
  • Many advocacy products are under way including combating abusive child labor. 3 million children are forced to work, as young as 5 years of age.
  • People are so desperate and disassociated that they are selling their children.