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Seminar on Cultural Landscape and Environmental Change in the Himalayas

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By Pushkar Bhusal

Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) co-hosted a one-day seminar on “Cultural Landscape and Environmental Change in the Himalayas”, in collaboration with Central Department of Environmental Science (CDES-TU), Kathmandu, Nepal and California State University (Fresno State), Fresno, CA, USA on 24th May, 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The seminar was part of the study abroad course (GEOG 177T) offered by Fresno State, which is being implemented in Nepal by CDES-TU with support from KIAS. This course takes students to the interior of the third pole, the Nepalese Himalayas, to learn about cultural landscape and environmental change. Participants spend a few days in Kathmandu Valley, known for its historic sites, ancient temples, religious shrines, and captivating villages. Activities include a tour of the primeval city of Bhaktapur and Kathmandu Durbar Square. Students also travel to the picturesque town of Pokhara and trek through Nepal’s largest protected range, Annapurna Conservation Area, where they have a rare opportunity to interact with an ethnic Gurung community in a world famous Ghandruk village nestled at the foot of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himalayan peaks. The program concludes with a field tour of deep gorges, magnificent lakes, and stunning views of the Himalayas from Pokhara and wrap up in Kathmandu.

The aim of the seminar was to discuss various aspects of cultural landscape and environmental changes in the Himalayas and also to provide theoretical knowledge on these topics to students from both USA and Nepal.

More than 50 professionals along with students attended the seminar. Professor Dr. Shudha Tripathi, Rector of Tribhuwan University, inaugurated the seminar. Dr. Mohan B. Dangi, Professor and course leader from Fresno State briefly described the course and its expectations. Dr. Basant Giri, scientist and director of international relations at KIAS moderated the event.

Expert speakers in technical session were Dr. Ram Prasad Chaudhary, Professor Emeritus of Tribhuwan University, Dr. Kedar Rijal, Professor and head of CDES-TU, Dr. Madan Koirala, Professor at CDES-TU, Dr. Rejina Maskey, Professor of CDES-TU, Dr. Ram Chhetri, Professor of TU, Dr. Khem N. Poudyal, Professor of TU, Dr. Prachand Shrestha, Scientist at Edeniq, Inc, CA, USA, Mr. Rabindra N. Bhattarai, Professor of TU, Dr. Susma Giri, Scientist of KIAS, and Dr. Mohan Dangi, Professor of Fresno State.

Speakers extensively discussed on major environmental problems of Nepal such as urbanization and air pollution, biodiversity, climate change and solid waste management.