Earthquake Relief Workshop Features Ambassador of Nepal
Arjun Kumar Karki, Nepal's ambassador to the U.S., visited campus on May 6 to deliver the opening keynote address for the Cornell-Nepal Earthquake Recovery Partnership (CNERP) spring workshop, held May 6 and 7. He told the audience in Warren Hall that he didn't come to Ithaca primarily to give a speech, but to learn.
The focus of Karki's quest was the research of a group of CRP and Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA) master's students, who are assisting his country in its ongoing recovery from the April 2015 earthquake that killed more than 8,000 people.
The CNERP students presented possible project designs for work on community planning and housing, water and sanitation, schools and education, health and health care facilities, and rural income generation during the workshop. Student designs were created with careful consideration of input from a group of Nepalese community members who visited Cornell in April.
In his keynote, Karki focused on the resilience of the Nepalese people in the face of the extraordinary damage caused by the earthquake.
"We have not lost our hope and sense of community," he said.
While Nepal has received more than $7 billion in donations and credit since the earthquake, the ambassador believes that the country's greatest rebuilding effort must come from within. He hopes that Nepal uses the opportunity to redevelop and strengthen its economic, political and social power.
Karki cited the concept of "building back better" as an influential motivation in Nepal's efforts, but not only as it pertains to the use of sustainable materials and methods of construction. "Building back better" also means confronting and fixing the social and economic problems facing Nepal, including issues involving gender, race, and ethnicity, he said.
Donovan Russell '73, former director of the Peace Corps in Nepal, and Scott DeLisi, former U.S. ambassador to Nepal, also attended the workshop and offered feedback and direction on the student projects.
The events were cosponsored by CIPA, the Department of Anthropology, and the South Asia Program.
By Breonna Freeman '19, Cornell Chronicle