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The objective of the Nepal Study Center at the University of New Mexico is to provide a platform to bring together scholars from North America and the countries in the Himalayan region and elsewhere to share knowledge on policy research issues affecting the Himalayan region and the countries in South Asia. The Center takes a broader South-South thematic focus with an interest on development, health, natural resources, sustainability, empowerment, conflict and the environment. In an interdisciplinary approach, the NSC encourages critical debate on issues faced by most of the nations in Africa, Latin America, and Asia collectively known as the global south. 

The Center's objective is to promote activities in some of these main broad areas:

* International Partnerships and Collaborations

* Annual Conferences and Proceedings
(We encourage you to particiate in the NSC-UNM sponsored annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference (HPRC) generally held in October at the University of Wisconsin--Madison's South Asia Conference venue. Look out for the call for the abstract messages --mid February or early March.)

* E-portal (Himalayan Research Papers Archive)

(We encourage you to upload your working papers on the UNM's LoboVault for a wider disseminatuion of your work across the world. Although it is not formally peer-reviewed, an international editorial board screens the electronic submission for quality control.)

* Research Activity

*NEW: Peer-reviewed e-journal (Development Journal of the South), under development
Development Journal of the South (DJS) is an open access peer reviewed journal published by the Nepal Study Center of the University of New Mexico.  It is an interdisciplinary journal intended to spur critical debate on issues faced by most of the nations in Africa, Latin America, and Asia collectively known as the global south.

*NEW: UNM Himalayan Climate Change Impact Initiative
In collaboration with the international partners in Nepal and other countries in the region, a group of UNM faculty with interdisciplinary research interest from economics, geomorphology, hydro sciences and other relevant disciplines such as global health, geo-spatial sciences, and biology has come together to express an interest to study the Himalayan climate impact related issues.

Using tools of natural sciences and social sciences, this initiative aims to approach the idea of community well-being within the framework of environmental sustainability in a more holistic manner by taking into account various key elements of sustainable development such as the food-energy-water-biodiversity nexus, environmental conservation, , ecosystem goods and services, health, and the community level resiliency, adaptation capacity, and the indigenous culture and values.  This initiative has garnered a strong network of supporters locally, regionally, and internationally.

At the heart of this initiative is the creation of a center Lumbini Center for Sustainabilityan academic think tank to be established in Lumbini, Nepal. This platform's objective is to bring together collaborators both regionally and internationally to advance the understanding of the linkages and feedback mechanisms between biophysical and social factors or coupled human-environmental systems that influence vulnerability and resilience to climate change across interacting spatial, temporal, and organizational scales.  The remarkable variability in socio-ecological systems (SES) along the river corridors of Nepal's Himalayan range, linking the Tibetan plateau in the north and the Indo-Gangetic plain in the south, provides the ideal conditions to investigate causes and consequences of climatic changes  in one of most vulnerable regions in the world.

*NEW: Field Exerimental Design, Impact Evaluations, Randomized Control Trials, and Analysis
Nepal Study Center is developing various field experiments to systematically review the effectiveness of various interventions. NSC is closely working with the Department of Community Health (Dhulikhel Hospital, Kathmandu University) targetting many of their rural clinics, and whenever appropriate, it also partners with others both here and in Nepal (e.g., Yale University, Kathmandu University and PNMHI for arsenic study). We also plan to explore the role of (rural) technology and innovations as a part of the intervention tool in the RCT designs and experiments.

Some ongoing and planned research topics:

--micro health insurance and other barriers to health care (Dhulikhel town and Bahunepati community),
--indoor pollution and its impact on health, environment and the women's welfare and development,
--ground water contamination, risk and perception, and its impact on women's health (Rupandehi and Nawalparasi, Lumbini),
--women's health program, education, and awareness,
--micro finance, gender empowerment, social network, health, and other well-being outcomes
--climate change impact and adaptation strategies,
--hydrological cycles and its impact on small scale irrigation systems (institutional arrangement and gender factor)
--climate smart village network as a coupled natural and human dynamic systems
--food-water-energy and bio-diversity nexus
--valueing eco-systems services (climate impact on vegetation, birds and the wildlife species (rhinos and tigers and their habitat range) and their transboundary migratory pattern and the effect on eco-tourism)
--climate change and its effect on natural diasters --glacial meltdown, flooding, drought, and forest fires
--downscale climate modeling

NSC takes these activities to promote a broader theme: South-South Coordinationa and Development.

South-South Cooperation and Development

The International Development and Sustainability South-South Initiative (or IDS- Global South Initiative) is a common platform of UNM scholars, who are doing development-related research in different cultural settings across the globe. We define IDS-SSI to mean community development experiences in low-income economies --Latin America, Africa, and South Asia. The sustainability theme is meant to underscore a more balanced approach to community welfare to include three EEE's: economic, equity (social systems and informal sector), and the environment. The word (sustainable) development is broadly defined to include all "elements" that are necessary to build a healthy community, with a special emphasis on their ability to adapt to vulnerability such as: climate change, global crises, epidemics (shocks); the local needs and the changing environment. This bottom-up micro-development approach also needs to integrate itself with the policies. We hope to nurture cutting edge empirically oriented interdisciplinary research through partnerships, outside-the-box thinking, and high quality graduate student recruitment and mentoring.

This initiative is motivated by the complementary activities of the three entities such as the South-Asia focused research center like the Nepal Study Center (UNM) and its resources such as research capacity, conferences, e-portals, international partnerships; a flagship program like the Latin American and Iberian Institute (LAII); and the RWJF at UNM and its potential in global health issues. The UNM's membership to the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) also opens up further collaborative opportunities. Extending this to the African continent becomes very natural, as Asian countries like India and China have begun to penetrate deep into the African economies, bringing with them their development experiences (e.g., technical skills, grass-roots development initiatives like micro finance, community forestry, coops just to name a few).

Then there are other common threads running across these communities: climate change, poverty, global financial meltdown, nature conservation, conflict, global health (climate change and health outcome), local empowerment, globalization, and the governance. Thousands of organizations operating in the informal sectors of these economies are changing the economic paradigm and the way look at economic development. A IDS-SS Initiative creates a platform to share ideas and generate new interdisciplinary research to help promote internationalization effort of the University of New Mexico.

Information about other interesting initiatives can be found here.

How Can I Participate in NSC's Activities?

1. Research

High quality research, training and exchange programs are being planned and conducted at the center by various graduate students and faculty. We encourage potential
visiting scholars and post-docs to seek funds from doner agencies and to consider NSC as a research venue for their sabbatical.

2. Journal publications

There are two electronic Journal publications (HJDD and LDNB) to promote high quality academic research and scholarship. These journals are peer-reviewed, and each has a slightly different focus. We encourage scholars to submit papers for publication consideration. See above links for guidelines.

3. Conferences, workshops, e-seminars, and lecture series

The NSC strives to conduct annual conferences, workshops, and e-seminars to promote policy research and public policy debates in areas of development, democracy, conflict and the environment.

Himalayan Policy Research Conference such as the ones organized at the University of Wisconsin's South Asian pre-conference venue provides a valuable platform for academic debates and exchange of ideas. Eventually, our goal is to form an Association for Himalayan Policy Research. Please contact the Center for details about the conference and your participation. In addition, NSC organizes
e-seminars and workshops and invites visitors to NSC (UNM) for talk programs.

Development theme is broadly defined to include poverty, sustainability, environment, trade, ethnic and gender biases, health, education, ag-econ/GIS, IT and knowledge economy, water resources, community forestry, urbanization, forestry, just to name a few. We encourage cross-country analyses involving countries in South Asia.

4. Research papers repository

NSC is working to create a research papers repository: Himalayan Research Papers Archive. The research repository archive of the NSC's site allows scholars with research interest on Nepal and the Himalayan region to upload and/or link their research manuscripts for archiving and dissemination through the Dspace open access technology. This is an ongoing project.

5. Educational and research collaborations

NSC is working to promote educational outreach and collaborative academic programs through university-to-university linkages. Efforts are underway to create links between the Nepal Study center, University of New Mexico and Kathmandu University. NSC has also established collaboartive interest with the regional organizations such as, SANDEE, ICIMOD, and IUCN-Nepal.

NSC is developing a Himalayan Study Abroad Program: Environment and Society at UNM to study the four aspects of the Bagmati River basin (e.g.): environment and conservation; arts and culture; sustainable development and technoloies; and health.

Efforts are also underway to help establish a Graduate Program in Economics and Public Policy at Kathmandu University.

6. Community development through innovation and knowledge transfer (CODIKT)
: Creating smart villages

NSC is dedicated in transferring knowledge and ideas that are helpful in changing the lives of of the poor. NSC worked very hard to help bring such a program pioneered by --people-to-people micro finance-- to Nepal.

NSC is developing programs and network to promote telehealth; e-portal for enhancing science teaching in remote villages; environmental monitoring; and develop and dissiminate sustainable technologies.

7. NSC Newsletter

NSC plans to publish an occasional newsletter to disseminate information about the call for papers for the conference and the journals, and will include other announcements. Insight column of the Newsletter will showcase short policy pieces. We encourage scholars to submit policy pieces (1000 -1500 words) for dissemination.

8. Community outreach and political economy debates

Finally, NSC promotes free flow of ideas to enhance debates on development, democracy, and political economy through a discussion forum such as, LDN Online Forum. Community outreach is encouraged through workshops, e-seminars, and informal gatherings and discussions on topics of general interest in liberal democracy and political economy.

About Nepal Study Center at UNM

Global Scholarly Connectivity

The creation of the Nepal Study Center (NSC) at the University of New Mexico in 2004 (formally launched in July 2005) was an important milestone in knowledge sharing among a global network of scholars who are interested in policy work on the Himalayan region, Nepal and the countries in South Asia. Various initiatives of the center are described above.

Policy Research and South Asian Focus

NSC’s academic and policy related activities relate to the advancement of knowledge regarding economic development, environment, trade, health, socio-economic issues, gender and ethnic biases, governance, poverty, knowledge economy, globalization, water resources, democratization, human rights, and conflict resolution in the region. Its conferences and journals promote policy research on South Asian countries with a focus on the Himalayan region. Research with a larger implication for other developing countries is also encouraged.

Institutional Support at the University of New Mexico

Nepal Study Center's physical infrastructure (research room in the social science building at UNM, Department of Economics), computing facility, statistical software, GIS mapping capability, GAMS simulation tools, and large databases are becoming increasingly valuable research tools for several students who have shown interest on Nepal and the surrounding Himalayan states. Its research capacity can also be used for comparative analysis involving other developing countries. The Center's presence at a research university (UNM) gives it an academic credibility and provides an access to valuable resources to undertake innovative educational initiatives. The Center is registered within the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of New Mexico as a not-for-profit foundation.

There is a very strong institutional support on behalf of the Department of Economics and the UNM. Other departments and programs such as Political Science, Sociology, Peace Studies, Water Resources, and the Latin American and Iberian Institute have shown their support and endorsed the overall theme of the Center. It also fits quite well with the international initiatives of the University.

Intellectual linkages

A group of national and international scholars has endorsed this idea (see Friends of NSC). NSC is also in the process of forming an Advisory Council on International Initiative in Research and Teaching. This Council will advise NSC's international collaborators on ideas related to academic issues and programs.

Diaspora and Community Outreach

Finally, the Center is also collaborating with the Nepali diaspora to form a Liberal Democracy Nepal (LDN) online discussion forum. The online discussion forum brings together the diaspora from around the world and the Nepali citizens and policy makers living in Nepal to a common platform for exchange of healthy ideas. The forum serves as a mechanism for a feedback, and the e-discussions and its proceedings are disseminated through various journal outlets. In October of 2005, the Nepal Study Center became a vital partner with the LDN organizatuion and National Democratic Institute (NDI) to organize a workshop in DC. Many professionals from around the country flew in and interacted with a delegate of high level political figures and the UN professionals. Proceedings from the workshop has been published in the NSC's journal -- Liberal Democracy Nepal Bulletin as a special issue.

Giving to NSC

Your tax-deductible financial contribution will be of high value to an initiative like this, and we encourage you to explore such possibilities by contacting the Center.
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