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 Sustainability, an 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