A big STEP from NRN USA
Non-Resident Nepali National Coordination Council of USA (NRN NCC of USA) has officially announced the formation of the Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) Committee by incorporating a team of Nepalese experts from diverse fields of science, engineering, technology, and economics in the United States of America.
Dr. Desh Raj Sonyok, PhD in Civil/Geotechnical Engineering from University of New Mexico, has taken the responsibility to chair the committee. “I am taking this challenging role to interact and coordinate with the Nepalese experts from the technological and economic sectors in the US with a goal of using their expertise to make a difference in the development of Nepal while the nation is facing severe crisis in formulating and implementing sound economic policies.”, says Dr. Sonyok. “We’d like to share what we know. We ask everyone in the US to support the committee by sharing what they know if that would be beneficial for Nepal.”, he added.
The mission of the STEP Committee is to promote knowledge and technology sharing through diaspora networks and foster Nepalese diaspora as a genuine development partner to the government and private sectors in Nepal. It seeks to provide framework to harness social, financial, and intellectual resources within diaspora to support development efforts in Nepal. Alternatively, STEP will appropriately plan, organize, and conduct diaspora research and conference related to scientific and technological advancements and their contribution to the sustainable economic development of Nepal. The STEP Committee is open to collaborate with Nepali as well as other international diaspora organizations with similar missions and objectives.
Engineer Surya Lamsal, Board Director of NRN NCC of USA and also STEP Coordinator from the Board, said, “We are excited to recognize the high value knowledge, skills, and experience of each committee member and each advisor to develop policies that align with the national interest of our motherland. Wide ranges of interaction and coordination are required with the planners in Nepal to identify and address the needs. We are open to any thoughts on how the committee should evolve and how NRN NCC of USA can be supportive in productive sectors such as the roadways, hydropower, alternative energy, and other areas of infrastructural development with technological advancement in Nepal.” He emphasized that the committee’s outcome must be in a state of implementation.
Prior to its official formulation, the professionals gathered in a brainstorming session and presented their thoughts on why the committee is necessary and how the committee can be effective. Speaking to the media, Dr. Keshab Paudel, President of NRN NCC of USA, who also joined the brainstorming session, said “I am very hopeful and excited that the STEP Committee will be instrumental in bringing infrastructural changes in Nepal. I would like to appreciate and thank the distinguished academic and professional Nepalese brains in the US for showing interest in serving the STEP Committee”. He requested other distinguished experts who couldn’t join the committee to support the team as needed.
At the beginning of the term, NRN NCC of USA had released a ‘Calendar of Operations’ for the year 2015-2017. The STEP Committee is expected to release its action plans in line with the tasks defined in the ‘Calendar of Operations’.
Dilli Bhattarai, Vice President of NRN NCC of USA, who is closely monitoring the STEP Committee said, “The committee hopes that its work will have a great impact in strengthening the knowledge network of Nepali diaspora and promoting the culture of sharing skills and expertise by engaging those vital assets in helping in economic development of Nepal. All of the above is possible through integration of sound policies into investment, knowledge flows, and technology sharing and implementing them effectively.”
Speaking to the participants during the conference call, committee advisor Dr. Upendra Karna said “NRN USA should resolve the issue of ‘continuity ‘of a standing committee with regards to long-term programs, specifically ‘Collective Investment’, given the limited term of STEP committee which changes every 2 years in order to win people’s trust and confidence. This way, Nepalese investors in USA will have confidence that the committee will remain stable and their collective investment will be secured.” Dr. Alok Bohora, advisor to the committee, added that the management of Diaspora Collective Investment (DCI) must be transparent, democratic, and accountable to all the investors thus empowering them, specifically small investors, so that the program wins the trust and confidence of all. Suman Timsina , another committee advisor, suggested that STEP should begin with only a few projects and invest its resources in making them successful. Dr. Puru Shrestha, a senior member of the committee, suggested that the STEP should select only small but viable projects in the beginning phase. He also requested that the committee prepare a ‘Plan of Action’ for a year with focus on specific areas. During the call speech, other attended members also emphasized importance of the committee’s role and advised that the programs be focused on specific areas of interest for its maiden success.
Engineer Shiva Raj Poudel, Board of Director of NRN USA, Member of the Media and Publication Committee of NRN International Coordination Council and Sub Coordinator for the STEP Committee, expressed his enthusiasm for its auspicious beginning. He also mentioned that he is excited to mobilize the scientific community here in the US and abroad for the benefit of Nepal.
Complete list of STEP Committee Members
Chair: Dr. Desh Raj Sonyok, Fairfax, Virginia
Ph.D., Civil/Geotechnical Engineering
Lead Geotechnical Engineer, EMC2 Inc., Washington D.C. Metro Area
Members-at-Large (or Members):
1. Dr. Puru Shrestha, Tucson, Arizona
Ph.D., Mining Engineering
President and Technical Consultant to BHPBilliton at GeoMinMet Consultants Inc. Tucson, Arizona
2. Dr. Amod Pokharel, Berkeley, California
Ph.D., Environmental Health Science
Lecturer, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
3. Dr. Tara Sigdel, San Francisco, California
Asst. Professor, Department of Surgery
University of California, San Francisco
4. Prem Sangraula, Washington, D.C.
Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank, Washington D.C.
5. Chandra Shekhar Yadav, Austin, Texas
Professional Engineer, Civil Engineering
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Austin, TX
6. Dr. Hari Katuwal, Billings, Montana
Post-Doctoral Fellow (Resource and Environmental Economics)
University of Montana
7. Dr. Tej Prasad Gautam, Marietta, Ohio
Ph.D., Applied Geology
Asst. Professor, Department of Petroleum Engineering & Geology
Marietta College, Marietta, OH
8. Dr. Suresh Gautam, Schenectady, New York
Ph.D., Electrical Engineering
Senior Engineer, General Electric Company, Schenectady, New York
9. Shanta Bist, Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Scientist, AstraZeneca R&D, Boston, MA
10. Dr. Anil Baral, Sacramento, California
Ph.D., Environmental Science, Air Pollution Specialist
California Air Resources Board, Sacramento, CA
11. Rajesh Koirala, Washington, D.C.
M.S., Forestry and Environmental Studies
Carbon Finance Specialist, World Bank, Washington D.C.
12. Ranjan KC, Richmond, Virginia
MBA (Management Information System)
Data Analyst, Capital One
13. Menuka Karki, Las Cruces, New Mexico
Ph.D. Candidate, Cell and Organismal Biology
Las Cruces, NM
14. Bishwaman Angdembe, Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Business Analyst, Delta Airlines, Atlanta, GA
1. Dr. Alok Bohora, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Professor, University of New Mexico
2. Dr. Upendra Karna, Newark, New Jersey
D. Eng., P.E., Civil Engineering
General Secretary, American Society of Nepalese Engineers
3. Suman Timsina, Fairfax, Virginia
Former President, NRN NCC of USA
Coordinator: Surya Lamsal, New York City, New York
Board of Director, NRN NCC of USA
Board of Director, American Society of Nepalese Engineers
Professional Engineer, New York
Sub coordinator: Shiva Raj Poudel, Towson, Maryland
Board of Director, NRN NCC of USA
Member, Media and Publications Committee, NRN ICC
Professional Engineer, Maryland
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