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FES Nepal in the Press 2014

Dichotomy of Civic Education <Top>

Raj Kumar K.C

RECENTLY there was a news report about physical assault; a septuagenarian man in eastern Nepal was severely beaten by his son over a dispute relating to distribution of parental property. Another news report about an old lady from an affluent family in Kathmandu was forced to leave her home after the death of her husband. Similarly, a high school teacher was beaten by his own students for not letting them to cheat in the examinations. These are the events that have not been quite rare in the recent years. It is often said that the society has been experiencing a harrowing decline of civic sense. Particularly the new generation profusely lack civic sense which has caused social anomalies, corruption, and political instability. Why does corruption happen? It also happens in economically developed society, but is more rampant in a society which is ravaged by poverty and socio-economic disparity. Moreover, impunity in the name of democracy has triggered lots of aberrations.

However, society scientists are bowled over the increasing trend of social anomalies taking place in the recent decades. They are of the view that growing poverty along with population growth has largely contributed to frustration among youths. What are the reasons for decline in civic skills and civic disposition among the youths in Nepalese society? How has it affected the overall social phenomenon?

The reasons behind decline in civic skills and civic disposition are simple. Firstly, today's youths are largely influenced by the distorted forms of western culture which does not fit into our society because the value they have does not match with ours. They have better civic sense and posses greater degree of civic skills and disposition which are appropriate in the western culture, whereas the values that our society bears are different. Secondly, lack of social security, economic opportunity can also be blamed for deterioration of civility among youths. Thirdly, illiteracy and lack of access to national resources has also caused frustration among people. A kind of enviousness among youths due to growing disparity has also caused resentment 'why should I regard this?' This kind of attitude has made them more stubborn.

Besides, our education system has lots of flaws. Today's education is more fragmented. If one studies mathematics, he/she has the knowledge of mathematics alone. It has become 'one way traffic', says Dev Raj Dahal, a social scientist and author.

However, there are different dimensions that affect civic skills and civic disposition. Economic dimension, socio-cultural dimension, academic dimension all these factors largely contribute to shaping of civic sense.

Even great Hindu civic educator Chanakya has affirmed that civility and depravity are diametrically opposite. Civility cannot be expected in a society where there is poverty and the poverty ultimately causes corruption, crimes and social anomalies.

It is said that a society becomes corrupt once the tendency of grabbing power, property and position is on the rise. Moreover, the Nepalese society is largely based on fatalism (belief that is based on fate) that can put the civility in jeopardy (Bista: Fatalism and Development, 1994).

According to Margaret S. Branson, Associate Director and Charles N. Quigley, Executive Director of Center for Civic Education of George Washington University in the US, Civic education, is or should be a prime concern. There is no more important task than the development of an informed, effective, and responsible citizenry.

Democracies are sustained by citizens who have the requisite knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Absent a reasoned commitment on the part of its citizens to the fundamental values and principles of democracy, a free and open society cannot succeed. It is imperative; therefore, that educators, policymakers, and members of civil society make the case and ask for the support of civic education from all segments of society and from the widest range of institutions and governments.

Civility does vary according to the social values and beliefs. On top of that socio-economic factors also determine the overall attitude of people. When the attitude of people in a certain society moves towards civility the ripples can be seen in nearby area. But, the economy and literacy do play a vital role. Civic skills and civic disposition can be expected only through civic education.

Civic education, according to Dahal is an education about enlightenment about freedom from all kinds of 'subordination'-- familial, civic, political and religious.

But civic education cannot be confined within the boundary of enlightenment and freedom alone, it has wider perspective. To understand it in a simple way, it is a process of learning that changes our behavior in holistic manner through which a person does realize the existence of others including that of animals and nature. Renowned Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky in his novel 'Crime and Punishment' has stated that civility is simply an acknowledgement of existence of others in this universe.

There is no need to eulogize the civic education; one can simply understand it as the realization of other's liberty/ freedom. Parijat, a littérateur in her famous novel Blue Mimosa (Shiris ko Phool) has also underlined the need to be sensible towards other people's existence.

However, psychologists, social scientists and even development experts are greatly puzzled with decline in civic skills and civic disposition among the Nepalese youths in the recent decades. No authentic remarks have been made in this regard so far, but based on the views appeared in the social media, cases of social anomalies have been rampant particularly after the restoration of democracy in 1990 and has become more rampant in the aftermath of People's Movement in 2006.

There could be a number of reasons behind gradual decline of civic sense among the majority of Nepalese youths, but political instability along with poor management of national resources and over-politicization noticeably sparked frustrations in almost every sector. It is the fact that accumulation of frustrations gradually caused erosion of civility in the Nepalese society. Erosion of civic sense did not happen overnight, it is continuously dying down. There is a debate on the issue - whether poverty, political instability, deepening disparity heaped up anomalies or burgeoning social stigma caused poverty, political instability. But everybody agrees with the fact that dwindling political-economy is the prime reason that is wearing down civic sense in the Nepalese society.

In the past there was a fear of sin as mentioned in the religion. People had some kind of regards towards nature, animal and the entire universe as a result of which a kind of ecological balance was in existence. Over the period of time, material development heavily encroached nature that has often been boomeranged as natural disaster. Harmony or co-existence with nature is possible only through enlightenment (Dahal: 2014).

The root cause of all anomalies, according to Prof. Ram Kumar Dahal is the inability/lack of understanding towards the existence of others which can be rectified by the civic education. However, economist Dr. Gunanidhi Sharma points out at economic aspects for fair and fearless society. Economy is the pivotal that determines every aspect in a society. Civic skills and civic disposition cannot be expected from an individual who is economically deprived. Hence civic education with plethora of economic instruments is more meaningful from the point of view of making a stable and healthy society.

Economic Dimension of Civic Education

Every individual needs some kind of economic assurance. He/she wants to be economically secured. In developed western society, the state provides economic support to its citizens. Through the economic empowerment, the individuals become more assured for their basic needs and develop a pride towards the nation. They expect that their etiquettes enrich the society. On the other hand, the states which do not provide social security to their citizens can seldom expect civility to the desired extent because every individual wants to be economically secured for themselves and their kids.

The objective of civic education cannot be fulfilled as long as people remain in poverty. A hungry man does hardly display civic skills and civic disposition. A local participant at a seminar on Civic Education for Youths in Dapcha, Kavrepalanchowk recently confided that today's youths have no option other than going abroad for blue-collar job. The state does not provide any support and the opportunity for economic subsistence is bleak. In such a situation, how can we expect our youths to display civic skills?

Dr. Sharma also firmly believes that the government should be well-aware about economic opportunity for the youths, otherwise they do not see their future here and civility becomes a far-cry. Economic opportunity with civility makes development sustainable and a society becomes peaceful and stable. Hence, economic development and civic education should go hand in hand. If they go together people become happy and regard the existence of others.

Political/ Socio-cultural Dimension

The politics need not, indeed must not be a zero-sum game. The idea that "winner takes all" has no place in a democracy, because if losers lose all they will opt out of the democratic game.

Sharing is essential in a democratic society the sharing of power, of resources, and of responsibilities. In a democratic society the possibility of effecting social change is ever present, if citizens have the knowledge, the skills and the will to bring it about. That knowledge, those skills and the will or necessary traits of private and public character are the products of a good civic education (Branson and Quigley, Role of Civic Education, 2014).

A society cannot move forward in the absence of political stability, because politics gives guideline to the society. Lack of civility makes politics stagnant and drags the nation towards failure. Therefore, affirmative political culture is a must to make people citizen. (Dahal, Shiva Raj, 2014)

Apart from political culture, timely changes should be made in our education system. Education, according to Bista is not looked upon as an act of acquiring intellectual power or technical skills, but is another form of ritualistic behavior. On being educated the worldview of some students may be modified, and acculturation may support the development of genuinely instrumental ideas. But this is not the common response to education in Nepal (Bista, Fatalism and Development, 1994).

Conclusion

However, the importance of civic education has been gaining ground across the world. Many East Asian countries including Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam have introduced civic education in their school level curricula. China has laid more focus on civic education from the primary school.

Hence, in this context, Nepal should not delay in introducing civic education to make youths more civic and responsible towards their society. For sustainable development and good governance, importance of civic education cannot be ignored. Let's hope our society would become more sensible and our youths become more well-mannered with plenty of glow in their face. Plethora of civic sense and civic disposition reflect positivism and make a society more affluent and able.

Reference

Bista, Dor Bahadur, Fatalism And Development - Nepal's Struggle for Modernization, 1994
Branson and Quigley, Role of Civic Education, 2014, George Washington University, USA
Chanakya, Chanakya Niti &Kautilya Arthashatra- Translated and collected by Banmali Subedi, 2007
Dahal, Dev Raj, Civic Education through Multipliers of Knowledge, 2014 (Unpublished)
Dahal Shiva Raj, Civic Education for Youths, 2014 (Unpublished)

Source: The Rising Nepal, Friday Supplement (27 December 2014)


UML objects to idea of hindering statute process in pretext of consensus: Oli <Top>

By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Dec 24: CPN-UML chairman KP Sharma Oli Wednesday said that his party was for writing the new constitution in consensus but it objected to the idea of obstructing the entire statute writing process in the name consensus.

"We want to forge consensus on fundamental issues of the constitution but we protest that there should be consensus in all contents of the constitution," Oli said, speaking at a one-day seminar 'Institutionalization of inner party democracy in Nepal' jointly organised by the Centre for Legal Consultancy and Research (CeLCAR) and FES, Nepal office, here.

Oli said that the UML always stood for national unity and integrity.

Registering his strong opposition to the creation of ethnic states Oli said: "Our party will not allow Nepal to turn into Rwanda and Crimea. Nepal is a multicultural society and making new provinces on the basis of ethnicity is simply unacceptable."


"Prithvi Narayan Shah had said that Nepal is a garden of 4 castes and 36 colours but some communist leaders do not have perceptive power to comprehend the character of Nepali society even in a way the unifier of Nepal did some 240 years ago," Oli said.

He noted that there has been a tendency not to abide by laws, constitution and morality.


"If you do not agree on my stance, I do not come to consensus is what the UCPN-Maoist has been saying," added Oli.

"The Constituent Assembly is a sovereign body and it cannot be subordinate to its thematic committee. By creating rumours of consensus, there is tendency to include anti-people elements in the statute. Can the CA not take its decisions independently? The current CA is not the part of first CA and it is not tied to the decisions of the first CA," said the UML leader.


Stating that the UML initiated the process to strengthen internal democracy in Nepal and other parties followed suit, Oli said that collective leadership, institutional decisions and accountability towards the people were prerequisite to the democratization of the parties.

He also said that he would step down as the party chair after completing one term to promote internal democracy in the party.

UML secretary Pradeep Gyawali said that the democratization of the political parties was the key to the democratization of the entire society. He highlighted the efforts the UML made in the direction of promoting inner democracy and its impact on other parties.

Political scientist and FES, Nepal office head Dev Raj Dahal said that inner party democracy needed constant political education about enlightenment so that leaders, cadres and citizens knew not to behave arbitrarily and remove those agencies of socialization that subordinated them, disseminate democratic values in the society, political parties, leadership and governing institutions, create democratic institutions and promote participative civic culture.

"Democracy ought to be an active verb in the parties to make their structures robust and functional, not just the passive noun with no concerns to the political promises," he added.

Political analyst Purshotam Dahal said that co-forces of democracy such as media and professional groups needed to be democratized for promoting inner party democracy.

CPN-Maoist leader Suresh Ale Magar warned his party might choose using force to usher in proletariat-led revolution now or in the future.

Political scientist Lal Babu Yadav said that over 80 per cent Madhesi people were against the One Madhes One Province and the new federal design should include the mountains, hills and Tarai belt.

CeLCAR chief Bhesh Raj Adhikari said that the seminar sought to unleash creative debates on the inner democracy involving the concerned stakeholders.

UML leader Gyawali, political analyst Muma Ram Khanal and Adhikari presented their working papers on the themes of internal democracy as practiced by the political parties in Nepal.

Source: The Rising Nepal (25 December 2014)


Statute on time still possible: Nembang <Top>

By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, Dec 24: At a time when the major political parties have been sharply divided over the contents of the new constitution, Constituent Assembly (CA) Chairman Subas Nembang Wednesday sounded a note of optimism about the timely constitution writing.

"There is still possibility of promulgating the new constitution by deadline through the amendment of the CA regulations if the political parties agree for this," Nembang said speaking at a seminar on ' Role of Media in Nation Building' organized by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) in cooperation with the FES, Nepal office here.

Chairman Nembang underlined the need for consensus for writing the statute by 22 January 2015.

Pointing to the leaders, he said: "You should work round the clock to strike consensus on the disputed issues of the constitution so as to meet the deadline."

CPN UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal attributed the current deadlock to the lack of mutual understanding among the political parties.

He urged the main opposition UCPN- Maoist to create an environment conducive to promulgating the new statute by including differing opinions for the time being.


Nepal said that the UML would not accept federal states based on single ethnic identity.

"The federal structure should be based on national and geographical unity, and the elements of inclusiveness democracy," he added.

He said that the new statute could not incorporate everyone's demands but it should be amended according to the needs and demands of time.

Former Prime Minister and leader of the UCPN-Maoist Dr Baburam Bhattarai said there was no alternative but to unravel the knot of disputed issues among the parties for the time constitution writing.

"The constitution is a legal document of agreement. The constitution promulgated through two-thirds majority will not be acceptable to all," he added.

He noted that there was no alternative to institutionalizing the achievements made through Comprehensive Peace Accord, 12-point understanding and different democratic movements.

Nepali Congress general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula said that the new constitution should be promulgated from the CA even by adopting the process if consensus eluded the political parties.

"Unlike a religious text, the statute can be amended after receiving new people's mandate," he added.


Senior journalist Yubaraj Ghimire said the constitution promulgated through the 'fast track schedule' would deprive the larger section of populace of participation in the process.

Programme officer at the FES, Nepal office C D Bhatta called for striking a right balance between the universal and local values to address various types of conflicts and maintain Nepali-ness and facilitate statute writing process. "National identity derives from language, religion, culture and tradition," he added.

Press Council Nepal Chairman Borna Bahadur Karki said the nation would plunge into calamity if the constitution was not promulgated in time.

A host of speakers, including FNJ president Dr Mahendra Bista, its former chairman Shiva Gaule, Nepal Press Union president Badri Sigdel and Press Chautari Nepal chair Rajendra Aryal called for ensuring press freedom in the new statute.

Source: The Rising Nepal (25 December 2014)


Civic education stressed to maintain social values <Top>

By Our Correspondent
Bhotechaur, Nov 29

The anomalies that the society has been encountering after the reinstatement of democracy in 1990 are mainly due to gradual degeneration of social values and failure of political leadership thereafter. On top of that inability of state in addressing the burgeoning aspirations of people can also be blamed for disorder, discontent and derailment of politics. Our education system has become more 'fragmented' as a result of which it has failed to deliver social needs, said sociologists while sharing their views with enthusiast local people in this tiny, green touristic village.

Divulging on the issues at an interaction programme on 'Civic Education to Youths', they said that dearth of civic sense among people ultimately drags a society towards destabilization.

Speaking at the inaugural session of a day-long programme, Executive Director of Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) Prof. Ananda Prasad Shrestha expressed his firm belief that civic sense among people largely contribute to the democratization process. Hence, our youths should have greater sense of social values and ethics. The interaction programme, Shrestha said adding that would at least help in gathering opinions from the people living in different parts of the country. Moreover, youths who are the torch-bearers, should be well-aware about civic education. He further said that informed youths should take the lead. If youths become uninformed, consolidation of democracy is not possible, said Prof. Shrestha.

Head of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Dev Raj Dahal explained how the FES came into being and works for peace, liberty, social justice and freedom through its offices in 125 countries. He further said that civic education makes people aware about social values, sustainable development, co-existence and mutual understanding. Today we are becoming educated, but our knowledge has become more specialized or segmented. We are losing our wisdom no matter what level of education we achieve. Hence, our emphasis should be on widening our knowledge based on wisdom.

Therefore, civic education largely helps in building wisdom of an intellect, he said.

Referring to the Hindu philosophy, he said our society is based on knowledge, hence Buddha has suggested to enlighten ourselves (Apa Dipo Vaba). It's great lesson that we should learn to enlighten ourselves. Awareness is not possible without developing inner vision, said Dahal adding that civic education helps in metamorphosing people into citizen.

Civic education is praxis - it constitutes a relation of politics to people's life and supports and equality and brotherhood as opposed o petty infantilism and arrogant juvenility. It teachers that leaders are neither divine nor superior to citizens, he said.

Critical debates civil rights and duties can be expected to contribute to strengthening the bedrock of citizens' attachment with the state, polity and public institutions and build a social and national consensus for policy coherence on the basis of the changing popular mandate, he said.

Prof. Gunanidhi Sharma dwelling upon the economic issues emphasized the need for economic empowerment. Today's youths should be cautious as how the national resources have been sneaked by a handful of people. If youths remain unaware about politics, there will be a dominance of regressive forces, he said.

Prof. Sharma further said that civic education would at least generate awareness about the rights and responsibilities of people.

Prof. Ram Kumar Dahal outlining the essence of civic education said that it would generate awareness among budding youths that it is the politics that leads the society towards a certain direction. Hence, politics should not go into wrong hands. It is the civic education that teaches us to bolster social values, he said.

Presenting a working paper sociologist Shiv Raj Dahal said that civic education largely contribute to uphold social values. He said that anomalies and frustrations that have spoilt our younger generation are mainly due to harrowing fall of our social values. If this continues, we cannot imagine our future, he said.

There has been a growing concern about civic education in India, China and other Asian countries, so we should lay our priority to educate our people- specially youths as what their role should be in the society. Consolidation of democracy is not possible without informed youths; hence it is our efforts to draw the attention of youth from different parts of the country.

From the chair, Padam Bahadur Karki, principal of the Sri Saraswoti Higher Secondary School at Bhotechaur spoke about the significance of civic education to boost morale of youths. Over 125 people including 45 female participants from different walks of life actively took part in the discussion programme.

The programme was organized by the NEFAS in association of FES.

Source: The Rising Nepal (30 November 2014)


Seminar on Civic Education <Top>

Rameshwor Adhikary: Dapcha, Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies, NEFAS, organized a one-day seminar on civic education for youth. Organized at Sri Krishna Multiple Campus Head of FES Prof. Dev Raj Dahal, Former Vice-Chairman of National Planning Commission Prof. Dr. Gunanidhis Sharma, Senior Political Scientist of Tribhuvan University Prof. Dr. Ram K. Dahal, Prof. Anand Prasad Srestha and Program Coordinator Shiva Raj Dahal trained the participants. Altogether 150 participants-youths, politicians,and teachers surrounding Dapcha area participated the meeting.

Source: Madhya Marga Weekly (30 November 2014)


Government Ready to Enforce ARC Suggestions: Pandit <Top>

By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Nov 17: Experts and top government officials Monday laid emphasis on accountability, rule of law and political stability to ensure good governance and quick justice delivery.

They were for symbiotic ties between the bureaucrats and politicians so as to minimise conflict between them and ensure prompt service delivery.

They expressed these views at a seminar on 'Constitutional Accountability, Justice Execution and Administrative Reforms in the Context of Good Governance,' jointly organised by the Administrative Court and Friedrick Ebert Stiftung, Nepal Office.


Minister for General Administration Lal Babu Pandit said that he was ready to implement the recommendations of the Administrative Reform Commission to make the bureaucracy dynamic and efficient.

Calling for coordination and enhancing trust between the politicians and the administrators, Minister Pandit noted that every problem seen in the bureaucracy could be resolved if all put the nation and the people above any other consideration.

On statute writing, he said, "The leadership should have far-sighted vision.
The new statute should be based on the realistic grounds. Anything can change - nothing is written in stone. The constitution written now can be amended later to address the changing dynamics of the society."

Nepal Human Rights Commission chairman Anup Raj Sharma said that the new constitution, written by the Constituent Assembly, should be owned by all the people.

The political parties should also reach consensus on adopting a process to settle the contested matters of the new statute, he added.

Sharma said that it was difficult to promote good governance in the absence of elected local governments.

Former Speaker Daman Nath Dhungana insisted that while writing the new statute, the ruling parties should recognize the UCPN-M's rebel status as the peace process had not been completed yet. "The new statute must be framed based on the political doctrines expressed in the 12-point agreement, the Interim Constitution, the Comprehensive Peace Agreements and different
accords signed with the Madhesis, Janajatis and Tharus."

Supreme Court Justice Kalyan Shrestha said that the new constitution would not be implemented properly if there was no constitutional accountability and the culture of abiding by the rule of law. Shrestha was for introducing a master plan to enforce the rule of law and good governance.

Another Apex Court Justice Sushila Karki said that corruption was the key problem of the country, and there should be a responsive and transparent government to ensure good governance. "There is a tendency of liking and disliking the verdicts of the courts on the basis of one's personal biases, and this mindset does not help promote the independence of the judiciary and constitutional accountability."

Government chief secretary Leela Mani Poudel called for symbiotic relationship between the politicians and the bureaucrats. "However, the bureaucrats must admit that in positions they are subordinate to the politicians, who have come to the government through the popular mandate."

Chairman of the Administrative Court, Kashiraj Dahal, said that Nepal could be a role model in conflict resolution and that the international community was keenly watching it. "I urge the politicians to demonstrate collective wisdom in order to rid the nation of the painful and tedious transition."

FES Nepal Office head Dev Raj Dahal said that plurality of the parties in Nepal did not mean a problem in collective action if they elevated their goals and strategies above partisan politics and worked single-mindedly to draft the constitution. "Inability of the top leaders to adapt to new concepts, the new mandate of the people and meet the requirements of the Nepali electorates for democratic and peace dividends give rise to the fractured political landscape."

Chief secretary Poudel, SC Justice Karki and former minister Biddhyadhar Mallik had presented their working papers at the one-day seminar.

Source: The Rising Nepal (18 November 2014)


Prudence and wisdom comes through culture, not constitution <Top>

Mahottari, November 12, J. Correspondent

Constitutional expert Kahsi Raj dahal said that prudence and wisdom comes through political culture and not through constitution. He added that Constituent Assembly could not timely promulgate a new constitution in Nepal because we have demanded only rights without performing proper duties. He was speaking at a two-day seminar organized at the premise of Nepal Journalist Association at Mahottari district on the "Role of Civic Education in Building Modern Constitutional State." Dahal said that a good constitution cannot be drafted without ending the existing discrimination. The program was organized by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Nepal Office.

Head of Nepal Office of FES Dev Raj Dahal highlighted the condition of Nepalese people and the state and argued that rights and duties complement each other. He also compared Nepal with many developed states of the world where constitutions are sincerely implemented. He said, "non-implementation of constitution pushes the country toward conflict." Chief District Officer Deepak Kafle, Former Minister Ganesh Nepali and local civil society stressed on the need of civic education for promoting active citizenship and nurture the culture of democracy and peace in Nepal.

Source: Jaleshwor Today Daily (13 November 2014)


Govt always effortful to hoist country's image: Pandey <Top>

RSS
Kathmandu, Sept 9

Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey has said that the major objective of the foreign policy was to promote the country's pride amidst the international community, and the government was active towards that end.

Inaugurating a seminar on "Defending National interest in the Emerging Internal, Regional and International Challenges" organized by Institute of Foreign Affairs with support of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung here today, he said the nation's respect and pride would enhance in the international sector through the contribution of honest, laborious and civilized citizens. Pointing out the need of national consensus for promoting national interest thought the foreign policy, he stressed on the need of prejudiced-free deliberations in these areas.

The present government is focused in the building of democratic, stable, peaceful and prosperous Nepal, the Foreign Minister said while adding that only a stable, peaceful and prosperous country can contribute to global peace, security and prosperity.

Our neighbor India and China have expected that the Nepali territory is not used in activities against them while the international community wishes to see Nepal become truly democratic, committed to human rights, rule of law and a country with social harmony, Minister Pandey said.

Likewise, former Foreign Minister Bhekh Bahadur Thapa said the country should not be kept for long in a transition in the name of making a political stride and added that there was no danger to Nepal from outside but the problems remain internal.

He also expressed concern that despite the political change there was not much progress in the country's foreign relations.

Acting Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Shaker Das Bairagi said it is the duty of diplomats to work as per the foreign policy.

Presenting a working paper on "Indefence of Nepal's national interest, internal and regional perspectives'. Former Permanent Representative to the UN, Madhu Raman Acharya commented that Nepal's intellectual sector, political and diplomatic leadership were not clear about national interest.

Likewise, former Permanent Representative to the UN Sambhu Ram Simkhada discussed about defending national interest in the context of emerging international challenges while emphasizing on the need of seeking a point of national unity amidst diversity.

Source: The Rising Nepal (10 September 2014)


Nothing wrong instituting HLPM: Minister Nidhi <Top>

Kathmandu, Aug. 27: Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Management Bimalendra Nidhi says there is nothing wrong setting up the High-level Political Mechanism of the major political parties to assist the Constituent Assembly.

Nidhi, who is also the central committee member of the Nepali Congress, has come up with this opinion at a time the two main ruling parties - the Nepali Congress and the CPN (UML) - have been saying that the constitution of the mechanism as sought by the main opposition party, the UCPN (Maoist), was not possible at all.

Addressing an interaction titled 'Role of Media in Nation Building' organised by Nepal Press Union (NPU) in association with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) here today, Minister Nidhi said the parties should be honest in forming the high-level political mechanism as mentioned in the four-point agreement signed by the major three parties.

He said the argument put forward by the NC and the UML that forming the said mechanism would lead to the formation of a 'super cabinet' was only their skepticism, stressing the need of forming the mechanism through a consensus to formulate a new constitution in the stipulated time.

Stating the media has played crucial role in each and every pro-democracy movements that have taken place in the country, he urged the media to play the same role at present for constitution writing.

Senior journalist Harihar Birahi said the goal of the media differed as per the national needs and called upon the journalists to be serious about their profession as theirs was not just a profession but also a change-agent.

Aiding institutional development of democracy is the 'mission' for the media at present, he added.

At the function, NPU advisor and editor of the Deshanter Weekly Kabir Rana, senior journalist Tej Prakash Pandit, former president of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Dharmendra Jha, FES Director Devraj Dahal, NPU Acting President Badri Sigdel and Vice-president Gangadhar Parajuli spoke on the role of media in nation building.

The immediate past president of NPU Kiran Kumar Pokharel presented a working paper on the role of the media in nation building and senior journalist Hari Bahadur Thapa another titled 'Mission Journalism versus Professional Journalism'.

Source: The Rising Nepal (28 August 2014)


Bimlendra Nidhi Says formation of High Level Political Committee Makes no Difference <Top>

Bhisma Raj Ojha, Kathmandu.

Minister for Physical Planning and Transport Bimlendra Nidhi said that it makes no difference to create a High Level Political Committee of major political parties to support the work of Constituent Assembly. As a central committee member of Nepali Congress party Nidhi revealed this in response to the demand of UCPN (Maoist) and opposition parties for HLPC and the resistance of NC and CPN-UML against this proposal.

Minister Nidhi was expressed the view that leaders must be honest about four-point agreement between the NC, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) which stipulated to set up of this HLPC. He said this at a seminar organized by Nepal Press Union in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) on the Role of Media in Nation-Building here in Kathmandu. The doubt of parties that the Committee would look like a super-cabinet is unfounded as its purpose is to aid the constitution drafting and peace process. To draft the constitution in time this HLPC is necessary. He appreciated the media for supporting all the political movements of the past and the time has come to lend support to constitution drafting process.

Senior journalist Harihar Birahi said that communication needs adapts to the needs of the nation and journalism in not only a profession bust also a vehicle of social change. Therefore, journalists have to be sensitive about their profession. Journalist Birahi said that mission journalism and professionalism cannot be aimless. Their need is to help consolidate democracy.

In the program advisor of the Press Union and editor of Deshantar Weekly Kabir Rana, Senior Journalist Tej Prakash Pandit, former president Nepal Federation of Journalists Dharmendra Jha, Director of FES Dev Raj Dahal, acting president of Press Union Bdri Sigdel, Vice-President Gangadhar

Parajulu spoke about the role of media in nation-building.

In the program former President of Press Union Kiral Pokhrel presented a paper on "Role of Media in Nation-Building" and senior Journalist Hari Bahadur Thapa presented another paper on "Mission Journalism versus Professional journalists.

Source: Hamrakura (Wenesday 28 August 2014)


Formation of High Level Mechanism Does not Make a Difference: Nidhi <Top>

Kathmandu, August 27

Minister for Physical Planning and Transport Bilendra Nidhi said that it does not make a difference to set up a high level political mechanism of major parties to support the work of Constitution drafting. The said this as a member of central committee of Nepali Congress party at a time when ruling parties including Nepali Congress, CPN-UML were opposing the demand of UCPN (Maoist) and other opposition parties to set up High Level Political Mechanism.

Minister Nidhi said this in a seminar organized by Nepal Press Union in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) on Wednesday here in Kathmandu on "The Role of Media in Nation-Building." He said that the political parties should be honest to the four-point agreement between three mainstream parties where the formation of HLPC had been agreed. He added that since media played creative role in political movement for democracy now the time has come for them to support the constitution drafting process.

In the program senior journalist Harihar Birahi, Chief Editor of Deshantar Weekly Kabir Rana, Senior Journalist Tej Prakash Pandit, Former Chairman of Federation of Nepalese Journalist Dharmendra Jha, Chief of FES Nepal Office Dev raj Dahal, Acting Chair of Nepal Press Union Badri Sigdel, and Gangadhar Parajuli spoke on the role of media in nation-building.

Source: Gorkhapatra Daily (28 August 2014)



Nepal: South Asian region hosts forty percent of world's poor <Top>

Dev Raj Dahal
Head FES Nepal Office

Introduction:

Economic growth in South Asia saw the decline of poverty. Still, it hosts 40% of the world' poor. Poverty reflects an unjust order because those at the bottom of development statistics are governed by necessity, not freedom. Judicious harnessing of its great potential for inclusive and equitable economic growth can alleviate scarcity, reduce ecological and social risks and maintain a balance between upward integration of economy and downward benefits to the people. The symbiosis of humanitarian standards and moral obligation of the state to tax the wealthy and powerful to subsidize social protection have been justified to stabilize the life of society and make community building a robust enterprise. International assistance does not solely presume the triumph of free market forces. It is about securing human rights and protecting people from multiple risks-hunger, child labor, joblessness, social alienation, illness, old age, disability and vulnerability. Only a caring society is the hallmark of flourishing civilization.

Land of Hope:

The heritage of South Asia operating under the Karmic moral accounting of the universe often sought to remove the structural dualism between the duty to maintain certain social standards and freedom to accumulate. This heritage reconciles rational order with ecological, social, gender and intergenerational justice. South Asia shares a common political economy. It has evolved a regional public based on collective aspiration for a democratic life. There is a positive "demographic dividend," youth occupies the largest size. Except Maldives and Bhutan, all the countries are labor surplus and labor exporting countries. The remittance flowing though migration of youth force has contributed to the life of rural economy and eased their poverty. But it has also created a vicious cycle- enormous social costs, shortage of productive youth force and decline of domestic production. Other factors are the shortage of energy and high inflation. The integration of South Asian labor market outside the region has increased common stake of regional states and people but they lack leverage to effectively negotiate. As a result, social security of workers is determined by contractual obligation.

Safety nets, social security, microcredit and employment programs adopted in South Asia as social protection mechanism are essential to foster the dignity of life.

There are some common sets of welfare policies in South Asia. All the eight countries have espoused the concept of welfare state. As signatory of social contracts and a variety of universal rights states are obliged to create equal opportunity and uplift material condition. The ongoing discussion in the region for the establishment of living wage or minimum wage for the poor aims at up scaling social and economic wellbeing.

Social security mechanism in the formal sector is determined by the rules of procedural distribution of benefits while in the informal sector income is determined by scalar distribution-the more people work the better they can earn. Labor markets continue to suffer from high rates of informal and agricultural employment where jobs are poorly paid and unprotected transmitting poverty at inter-generational level. Labor market intervention, social insurance and social assistance for the helpless are essential social protection measures to harness hope of people.

Inclusive Society:

Social Charter seeks to achieve poverty eradication, population stabilization, empowerment of women, youth mobilization, human resource development, promotion of health and nutrition and protection of children. The adoption of social charter by regional states tends to combine need-based justice and burden sharing of the poor, marginalized, women and children to materialize the rights-based fairness. The means of social protection is essential for dignified living. But they are, however, fragmented not only along line agencies of the state but also at the level of governance-international regimes, the states, markets and micro local institutions, such as NGOs, civil society and community-based organizations lacking a synergy. Many of them are less competitive requiring overarching framework for governance-clear provision, coordination and monitoring in both formal and informal sectors. There are governance gaps between rising demands of people and informalization of work, inequality and short supply of public goods. Operation of social protection at multi-level governance has also imposed complexity in its management. How coordination is made for the implementation of social protection, social security and social charter since this job remains with national states based on their own political will, economic strength and institutional efficiency?

In this context, the current debate on strengthening social protection in South Asia aims to bridge the incoherence of social, economic and political policies and minimize disharmonies through the shared interest of the state, employers, employees and ordinary citizens in mutually beneficial cooperation. The liberal conception of stability, progress and peace requires the social solidarity to make each individual equal stakeholder.

Conclusion:

Poverty deprives the poor of their self-dignity and humanity and drives them to unknown destination as refugees, migrants, seasonal workers and permanent settlers. South Asia has tremendous resource and human potential to reshape production and politics and transform the crisis discourse into a collective economic opportunity. Demonstration of political will is essential to upscale certain social and economic standards irrespective of the structure of economy and inspire the skeptics to build hope of social solidarity. So long as peoples' lives pivot on the concept of inadequate means of living, democratic and development discourse only inflame their passion.

Vote of thanks delivered by the author at a Regional Conference jointly organised by FES with SACEPS on "Developing a Declaration on Strengthening Social Protection in South Asia-A Multi-stakeholder contribution to the upcoming SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu August, 21, 2014: Ed.

Source: The Telegraph Weekly (28 August 2014)


Nepal: Income disparity challenge social unity, political stability and eco growth <Top>

Ms. Julia Mueller
Director, Office of Regional cooperation in Asia, Singapore

On behalf of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, I would like to warmly welcome you to this two-day conference to develop a multi-stakeholder input for a SAARC Declaration on "Strengthening Social Protection in South Asia".

It is my great pleasure to greet you as one of the co-organizers of this regional conference. We are honored to have cooperated closely with our colleagues and friends from SACEPS and the FES Office in Kathmandu to prepare this conference.

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is a German political foundation and was established in 1925. It is the legacy of Friedrich Ebert, the first democratically elected president in Germany. Since its establishment, FES has been committed to the ideas of democracy, peace and social justice-in its national programmes in Germany as well as in its international programmes in more than 100 countries all around the world. In Asia we have been active for nearly 50 years and currently conduct dialogue programmes, conferences, expert workshops, trainings and regular research countries all over Asia.
For social democrats, social security is a fundamental Right for all human beings. It shall protect and serve as a buffer against the adverse social effects of sudden drops in income and employment-if it is illness, injury, ageing or unemployment.

The recent years have seen an increased worldwide debate about social protection. According to my observations, I attribute this trend mostly to following factors:

First, studies by various international, institutions like the Asian Development Bank have confirmed that economic growth has lifted many people out of poverty, but that expanded social protection programmes would have helped to increase the number by far;

Second, income inequalities are on the rise worldwide. They challenge social cohesion, political stability and economic growth. Even the World Economic Forum ranks wide income gaps between rich and poor as one of the major risks to economic growth. Social protection has proven to be one of the most effective instruments to increase income inequalities and contribute to more socially just societies.

Third, in 2012 the member states of ILO approved the recommendation 202 on Social Protection Floors which calls for nationally-defined sets of basic social security guarantee that secure protection aimed at preventing or alleviating poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion. The discussion and approval of this recommendation had a great impact on shaping a global discourse on social protection.

With these global and regional trends in minds and considering current national discussions on the expansion of Social Protection in South Asian countries, this regional conference happens at the right time. I am convinced that South Asia will make use of this momentum to expand social protection to all people in order to ensure everybody can live a life in dignity.

I wish you all an interesting conference with fruitful discussions.

Welcome remarks made by Julia Mueller, Director, FES Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia at a Regional Conference on "Developing a Declaration on Strengthening Social Protection in South Asia" in Kathmandu, 21 August 2014.

Source: The Telegraph Weekly (26 August 2014)


United, coordinated efforts needed to ensure social security: Foreign Minister Pandey <Top>

Kathmandu, Aug 21: Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey has said that united and coordinated efforts are needed to ensure social security in regional and national level.

Addressing a regional conference jointly organized by the South Asia Centre for Policy Studies (SACEPS) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia in the capital today, Minister Pandey said so.

The programme has been organized to prepare the agendas of social security to be included in upcoming 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to be held in Nepal in upcoming November.

Similarly, Minister Pandey said that the European Union (EU) and Association of South-East Asian Nations have successfully implemented different programmes related to social security through regional cooperation.

'The main goal of the SAARC is to promote the welfare of the people of the South Asia to improve their quality of life, to accelerate economic growth and to provide them opportunities to live in dignity' minister Pandey added.

Meanwhile, Mr Pandey reminded the spirit of the social charter of the SAARC signed in the 12th SAARC summit and the spirit should be respectfully implemented. SAARC member country has implemented different measures to ensure people's social security by providing senior citizens allowance, child support, ensuring employment, and support for widows and food distribution to the needy people, Mr pandey added.

Similarly, Minister Pandey further said that the SAARC countries are working for ensuring health, nutrition, food security purified drinking water, sanitation among others under its SAARC structure.

Likewise, chairman at the programme and former Foreign Minister Dr Bhesh Bahadur Thapa pointed out the need of working together for the issues of common interests and social securities. Previously held issues of social security should be seriously implemented, Dr Thapa added.

The SAARC should be oriented to the implementation of its previous decisions rather than only deciding the issues.

The SAARC needs cooperation from ASIAN and the EU for its unity and activeness, Dr Thapa added. The prime theme for upcoming SAARC is prepared Connectivity for Shared Prosperity.

The preparing report would be tabled to the government within two weeks, said Thapa who is also a coordinator at SAARC Advisory Group. Coordinator Thapa said that though the decision of connecting the capital cities of each SAARC countries via aircraft has not been seriously brought in practice yet.

Director at the SAARC Dhan Bahadur Oli said that the SAARC has given high priority to social sectors from its establishment and the children and women trafficking are the serious problem of SAARC regions therefore, the social charter of the SAARC is centred in it.

Director at Singapore based Regional Support Office of FES Julia Muller said social security help ensure social justice, lessen poverty and end social evils and marginalization.

Similarly, Executive Director at the centre Rajju Malla Dhakal pointed out the need of security for immigrant workers, ending violence against women, empowerment of women and providing social security to them.

Country director of the FES Dev Raj Dahal said that the South Asia has an adequate possibilities and chances therefore, stakeholders should be serious for the implementations of issues mentioned in social charter of the SAARC.

Representatives of different organizations of people's level from each SAARC countries are participating in two-day conference held in the capital. RSS

Source: The Rising Nepal (22 August 2004)


Work to Garner Public Opinion to write Statute, Media urge <Top>

By A Staff Reporter

Nagarkot (Bhaktapur), Aug 9: As the country is passing through a long-drawn transition, experts have pointed up the role of the media in the nation-building task.

Journalists and constitution experts concurred that the media should be proactive to create active citizenship to secure their contribution to writing an inclusive statute.

"At the moment, the media must brainstorm for ideas to solve the contentious topics of the constitution as part of their nation-building task," they said at a two-day seminar on 'the role of media in the nation building' that concluded in the idyllic resort of Nagarkot today.

Organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Nepal Office, the function was attended by chief editors, senior reporters, experts and social activists. They preferred for specifying the areas for the media campaign to write constitution, thereby, discharging their responsibility towards the nation.

They were unanimous to state that the informed citizens would contribute better in the statute writing and others nation-making mission.

FES, Nepal head Dev Raj Dahal, in his keynote speech, said that that media created a critical mass and it could check the government that controls power.

"It has the strength to catapult the powerless to the centre. ''If the media give a new knowledge and correct information to the people on the contents and process of the constitution-making, it will help in realizing the nation building agenda."

Dahal argued that it was the mission journalism that could connect and reconcile among the opposing forces in the society.

"Ethno-centric politics is exclusionary while the demos-centric politics promoted inclusiveness, and makes the people active and enlightened. Active citizenship widens the scope of democracy but the passive citizenship weakens the state," he noted.

Stating that the media provide indicators to gauge the development status and social dynamics, he said that the multi-layer society needs synthesizing mechanism to ensure durable social contract. "Right to information is a must for transparency. More the information is flowed, the more the people are informed."

Administrative Court chair Kashi Raj Dahal said that the constitutions were framed through methods and procedures.

"If the parties solve the political questions and set the principles before embarking for the statute writing, they write the statutes in time and such the statutes will become durable and ensure reconciliation in the society as seen in South Africa," he said, adding that the statute was a formulaic document and it was not rational to cram everything in it.

Senior journalist Yub Raj Ghimire said that effective communication helped conclude the peace process. "If the media lose social trust and credibility, the nation should also bear bigger losses." During the conflict, the Nepalese media had offered platforms for the communication between the rulers and the ruled.

Another senior journalist Kanak Mani Dixit said that the media had failed to build strong public opinion on the necessity of the local elections.

The media should prioritize their issues. "At the moment, they should give specific focus on fleshing out the contentious issues of the new statute-
federalism and form of government."

Federation of Nepalese Journalist chairman Mahendra Bista stressed for building the capacity of the journalists.

Associate professor of political science Lal Babu Yadav asked the media to promote national identities instead of parochial ethnic ones steeped in divisive elements.

Programme moderator Arati Chataut said that the agenda of empowering the women and marginalized groups must not be undermined just because they lacked capacity and merit.

Source: The Rising Nepal (10 August 2014)


Nepal needs socially embedded market <Top>

Professor Dr Thomas Meyer, 71, is the chair of Political Science, University of Dortmund, Germany and Director of the Political Academy of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, Bonn. He is a vice-chairman of the Basic Values Commission of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. An author of around 20 books on politics, culture and theory of social democracy, he is considered to be an influential proponent of social democracy principles. His books include Social Democracy: An Introduction, The Transformation of Social Democracy and Identity-Mania, The Politicization of Cultural Differences, among others. He is one, who has pored over all books of Marx and notes that Marxism provides ample ideological points to develop social democracy. He won a doctoral degree at the University of Frankfurt for a thesis on the role of the proletariat in Karl Marx's theory of liberation in 1973. He was awarded the Habilitation from the Free University of Berlin in 1977, the highest academic award in Europe and some other countries. Recently, he was in Nepal to participate in BP Koirala'a birth centenary function and he spoke to The Rising Nepal on various political contents such as social democracy, Marxism and market. He emphatically says that there should be regulation and social control of market and the domination of private capital should not be allowed at the expense of the society. Excerpts

How do you define social democracy?

It is very simple. If you accept not only civil and political rights but also the social basic rights like social security and economic basic rights like good works for everybody, then you are a social democrat and build social democracy on all these bases. For this, you normally need regulated economy and some kind of welfare state.

Could you provide examples of the countries that have robustly applied social democracy?

Yes, in Europe, there are many. Most countries in Europe developed social democracy at some level. Not only the European nations, but also the countries in Latin America, for example, Chile has substantial elements of social democracy. Even in the state like Kerala in India, there are remarkable elements of social democracy. So, in many places around the world, there is a well-functioning social democracy.

What is the relationship between capitalism and social democracy? Is it collaborative or confrontational?

It is transforming; collaborative transforming in the sense that private property in the production is accepted in social democracy. The rights of private property must be socially embedded and regulated. The market is accepted but it must be regulated and corrected. The market and private property should not dominate. They should be in service of the community.

In the world, there are many rich nations but do not want to go for social democracy. How do you see this?

There are not so many. In the Western world, let's say, it is only the United States. It has small scale of welfare state and some form of regulation. It has the history of workers' movement. There is a history that after crises, the US has often developed social democracy and adopted the elements of welfare state. It is power and big money that have hampered its adoption. In many other countries, one or another form of social democracy prevails. Except for the US, all other countries have highly developed or elementary elements of social democracy.

Does the social democracy have its root in Marxism or not?

Marx has many interpretations. There is not one clear Marx. Marx said many things in different times over fifty years. You can find some points you can develop the revolutionary interpretations of Marx. There are many points you can use for the reformist interpretation. You can be a good social democrat on the basis of certain interpretations of Marx. But, Leninism is not well-founded in Marx. There is a big difference between Marxism and Leninism. If you are Leninist, you are not a true Marxist. You can be a social democrat for a variety of reasons - if you have social interests or on ethical ground or democratic understanding of Marxism.

But, Lenin said he was a real interpreter and successor to Marxism.

Yes. He said so. I have written many books on Marx and studied all texts of Marx. I can confidently say that Leninism is not Marxism. What Lenin understood the dictatorship of proletariat, it had nothing to do with Marx's writings. Even Engels used the term- the proletariat of dictatorship in the sense that the private property should not have absolute right. He did not mean that there should be the dictatorship of one party over the rest of the society.

Did Engels too refuse to subscribe to the idea of dictatorship of proletariat?

Yes. He used this as a formula. Then, he said in the early 1890s that what he meant by the dictatorship of proletariat is a full-fledged democracy or a normal democracy with several parties participating in it.

Then, why did Marx and Engels use this term in 'the Communist Manifesto' as defining element of communism?

In the Communist Manifesto, it is very clear. Marx says verbally/literally that the first thing what the victorious proletariat should do is to introduce democracy because democracy is rule of the people and through the people. And then socialists should use it and socialise segments of production for the introduction of socialism. He never says do away with the rights of the people. He did not say abolish democracy but pointed out the need to establish it to change the society.

Would you like to introduce yourself as Marxist?

I could find an interpretation of Marx as very close to social democracy. But, my foundation is more in the ethical socialism that means more justice. I don't need any doctrine. You don't need any doctrine to be a social democrat.

How is the popularity of Marx in your country?

Marx did not play any role except for its impact on a small sector. After the financial crisis, Marxism has been again discussed in the certain circles of the Lefts. Even the major newspapers have given coverage to it. The discussion on Marxism is more cultural than economic or political. Marx's books mainly are about labour analysis and the problems of mankind. You do not find things about particular society in Marx.

In Nepal, there is another interesting discourse that some major communist parties are saying that the capitalist political revolution is over and now they should embark on capitalistic revolution. Just imagine that the communists say they are going to build capitalism. What do you say?

I think they have a big confusion about the word. They want to profit from the confusion of the word and language. It is their policy or politics because they are not communists in a real sense or even in a true sense of Leninism. They are not Leninist either because Leninism advocates the dictatorship of one party and socialisation of all means of production. They are very close to social democracy. They use the term communist to be more radical in the eye of the people. The use of the term capitalism is also misleading. The word capitalism is not clear. Some people ask: Does Sweden have capitalism? Yes. But, the political economy of western countries is very different. There is acceptance of private property and market but they are regulated. The Nepalese communists should say that they need market and private property and investments but not in a dominating way. This linkage is absolutely confusing.

They seem to mean that they want to bring an economic growth under the leadership of communist parties a la China.

In that sense, it is ok. But, this has nothing to do with capitalism. They need the role of private property and market but should also control them. There should be political dominance. There should be the control of the social problems caused by the private property. The US-type capitalism is not worthy of following.

There has been debate among the Nepalese Lefts about whether the country has entered the phase of capitalism. You have been a watcher of Nepal's political developments for many years. Can you shed light on the parameters to prove that the given nation has been qualified as capitalist or is still in a feudal stage?

This is an interesting question because feudalism means personal bondages, obligations and legacies. It is like this- I am a lord and you are dependent servants. When you cut these bondages and introduce market, you become the participant of market. It is necessary to abolish feudalism because it is based on the relations of absolute dependency. There is development from feudalism to market in Nepal.

Are the terms market and capitalism synonymous or opposite?

There are differences. Where there is domination of private property and not regulation, it is capitalism. And market that is regulated and tamed by democracy is not capitalism. Capitalism normally means domination and serves the interests of capital.

In Nepal, some communist parties have the nametag of Marxist and Leninist but they say that they have embraced basic values of social democracy. How much is it compatible?

It is not compatible. If you understand yourself as Leninist, let's say, Leninism does not accept pluralism and basic rights of the people but the dictatorship of proletariat.

Nepal's Interim Constitution and the election manifestos of the major parties contain a lot of rosy provisions that aim to take Nepal on the path of social democracy but the country's economy hardly allows the country to implement them. How can it apply the elements of social democracy?

You have choice here as well. The country needs to put social and political framework for all private properties and investments so that they would not dominate. We establish the rule of the game. This democratic process makes capital as the servant of society, not its master. The embedded social market economy is possible here. The foreigners have their interests here for the investments, they need to be regulated to motivate workforce and create certain balance. Social democracy is a welfare system. Those, who have no money, should have access to the elementary and secondary education and healthcare system. In economy, you should enforce regulation and progressive taxes. You need to take care of the ecological conditions while letting the establishment of factories by multinational companies. You have to ensure decent working conditions for the workers. That will be a good start for social democracy.

Source: The Rising Nepal (22 June 2014)


A Social Democratic Moment Has Arrived: Dr Meyer <Top>

By Ritu Raj Subedi

Lalitpur, June 16: Political scientists Monday said that a moment of social democracy has arrived with the failure of market fundamentalism and hardliner communism.

They assumed that a strong wave of social democracy is going to sweep the world and will bring its core values - 'social rights, embedded markets, the primacy of democratic politics and a basic line of welfare state security'- to the fore as the necessary instruments to realize the ideals of social democracy.

Participating in an interaction on 'the recent trends on Social Democracy' organized by the BP Thought Academy and FES, Nepal, they offered their prognostic analysis to the inevitability of social democracy as the new century rolls on.

Renowned German scholar professor Dr Thomas Meyer said that the social democracy had emerged as the strong alternative to libertine or the US-type democracy, which he said, preponderantly excluded the citizens from wealth, security, good education, social participation and power.

Dr Meyer, an authority of social democracy principle, strongly lashed out at the US right-wing think-tank Francis Fukyama for confining the ideological evolution of mankind to merely neo-liberal democracy or the libertine democracy following the downfall of communism.

"Fukyama had said that the world history had reached its final destination with the end of the communist empire in 1989. What he meant was that it had become clear by then that history has nothing else I store for humankind as liberal democracy," said Dr Meyer.

"Fukyama ignored that the US-type democracy has been challenged since by a more profoundly democratic alternative that was built in Europe in a century of pressure by strong labour and social movements," he said.

Dr Meyer said, "A society that doe accept not only the civil and political basic rights of the 1966 UN Charter alone, but also the cultural, social and economic basic rights declared in this document is well called a social democracy as opposed to a merely libertine democracy."

He further said: "Thus, progress towards social democracy is obviously what the world needs in order to move in a more sustainable direction after the resounding defeat of neo-liberalist ideas of how to organize the economy in the global finance market crises 2008 and thereafter. "

The neo-liberal moment that dominated the world since the 1980s is spent; a social democratic moment is coming to the fore, he argued.

Political scientist Dev Raj Dahal said that the irrationality of neo- liberal attack on the welfare state's regulation and individualization of human life and the radical left's vision of withering of the state and an end of individual had been confirmed by the recent developments of historical proportion.

"One suffered from excessive greed and the other from lack of incentive. Loaded with excessive materialistic passion rather than normative drive, both the ideologies have now produced systemic crisis, leaving unintended consequences for environment, societies and the people in the various parts of the world," said Dahal, also the head of FES, Nepal Office.

He said that social democracy is an open-access political order that support specific laws pertaining to labour, women, indigenous people, Dalits, minorities and disabled, thereby, increasing their access to the institutional resources.

Dahal maintained that Nepal holds great potential for social democracy and in order to balance the extremes into middle path required completing the unfinished tasks of constitution making, fostering inclusive and sustainable development and achieving the durable peace.

BP Though Academy chairman Haribol Bhattarai said that neither the Marxist fundamentalists not the capitalist economy could be able to deliver justice and peace.

"Social Democracy or Democratic Socialism is the only road to progress and prosperity for the humanity in the years to come," said Bhattarai.

He argued that late BP Koirala had already envisioned the inevitability of democratic socialism more than 50 years ago but political highhandedness, selfishness and abuse of power had posed as a big stumbling block to the realization of social democracy.

Source: The Rising Nepal (17 June 2014)


Social democratic moment has arrived: Prof Meyer <Top>

The REPUBLICA
KATHMANDU, June 16, 2014 : Arguing that there is a great struggle both in the arena of ideas and of political power between libertarian and social democracy, a senior German political scientist Prof. Dr. Thomas Meyer has claimed that a social democratic moment had arrived in the world.

Addressing a talk program organized jointly by BP Thought Academy and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Lalitpur on Monday, Prof Dr Meyer said social democracy that incorporates the idea not only of civil and political basic rights but also the cultural, social and economic basic rights as opposed to libertarian democracy had brought about social democratic moment around the world.

Prof Meyer, who has authored several books on the history and theory of social democracy, argued that present day world witnessed a tremendous economic, social and political disaster in many parts of the world starting with the US financial crisis.

"Thus, progress toward social democracy is obviously what the world needs in order to move in a more sustainable direction after the resounding defeat of neo-liberalist ideas of how to organize the economy in the global finance market crises 2008 and thereafter," he added.

"The neo-liberal moment that dominated the world since the 1980s is spent, a social democratic moment is coming to the fore. Obviously what the world needs in response to this challenge is a strong wave of social democracy: social rights, embedded markets, the primacy of democratic politics and a basic line of welfare state security everywhere," Prof Meyer further said.

He said the rule of market was made possible by mere market states as they were coined, elite or libertarian democracy for the well-to-do is not sustainable because it is a systematic exclusion of the many both from the government and from the wealth of their societies.

"Social democracy is not a luxury good for rich societies: it is a condition for the inclusion of all, for social peace, for an equitable development of all societies -- not the least for the poorer ones," he added.

In his opening speech, Prof Dev Raj Dahal, head of the FES, Nepal, had shed light on various aspects of social democracy and democratic practices being made in Nepal. He argued that freedom, gender-justice and solidarity, among others, as key elements of social democracy.

Source: My Republica (17 June 2014)


Development Through Social Democracy <Top>

Kathmandu: Author of two dozen books on social democracy German Prof. Thomas Meyer said that social democracy is prerequisite for development. He said all should understand the concept of democratic socialism. He said, "It is a system that includes all people. Since it accommodates all opinions and culture it can foster equal development." He added that there is no conceptual confusion about democratic socialism. Confusion arises in practice.

Political elites have now understood that this concept is relevant for Nepal as well as capitalist and workers can get benefit from this. If development process proceeds along this line, then equal development is possible. He said this in a seminar on "Recent Trends in Social Democracy," jointly organized by BP Thought Academy and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Head of Nepal Office of FES Dev Raj Dahal said that those following social democratic line should adopt the Thought of BP Koirala.

Source: Annapurna Post, Nepali Daily (17 June 2014)


Nobel Peace Laureate Suu Kyi hails Nepal's negotiated compromise <Top>

By Ritu Raj Subedi

Kathmandu, June 14: Democratic icon and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi Saturday hailed Nepal's consensus and compromise-guided political evolution.

Suu Kyi said that Nepal had learnt to accept the idea of negotiated compromise.

"Nepal has achieved the political skill of negotiated compromise. I believe that it will never fail. This will enable the country to write the new constitution," Suu Kyi said, addressing an international conference on 'Relevance of Social Democracy' organized by the BP Thought Academy to mark the birth centenary of late BP Koirala in Kathmandu.

Suu Kyi, who is in Kathmandu for a four-day visit to Nepal, is also the member of parliament and chairperson of the National League for Democracy of the Republic of Union of Myanmar.

At the function, she exuded cheerfulness, confidence and a sense of humour. She was the central attraction of seminar.

She was greeted with rounds of applauses as she candidly put forth her views that were about the essence of democracy and spirit of humanity.

She spoke of the future of democratic socialism and pinned her unwavering faith in inclusive democracy, stating that democracy should not be for any dominant class but for all people.

She observed: "Democracy is about equity. It should not be for any dominant class. It should solve the basic problems of the people and be linked with the daily life of the people."

On social democracy, she said, "It is an expansion of the governance system- it should be inclusive and participated in by all social groups.

Democracy is not merely the people's participation in the elections. It must enable them to participate in government's decisions in more active way."

The iconic woman's faith in non-violence is ever deepening. She said: "I believe in democracy and non-violence because these enable the people to raise themselves and keep spirit and strength alive."

She strongly stood against violence. "I don't believe in violence because it stifles human spirit."

She said that the long military rule in her country destroyed the spirit of her people.

"Decades of military rule have thrown us into penury and the people lost their spirit and made them unable to come out to chart out their won destiny," she said.

She offered her cosmopolitan viewpoint and called for solving problems- national and international - through the global perspective.

"We should not think of only of our own country in an isolated way; we are the part of the world and seek to solve problems through global approach," she remarked.

She attached greater emphasis on equality and equity: "Giving equal respect and equal responsibility to the people is very important. Equality is the basis for all good relations. Until the nation gets a system, it is unlikely to maintain diversity based on the mutual equality."
She said that the political parties, religions, different ideologies and ethnicities formed the basis of the society.

Touching on her country's politics, she said, "My nation was deprived of institutional and legislative mechanism for almost fifty years. This has created problem to achieve democracy in true sense."

She appreciated Nepal's democratic struggle and its natural endowments. She expressed her deep gratitude to Nepal and its government for warm welcome and hospitality.

At one point, her speech had the audience rolling in the aisles when she said that since her arrival she met many former prime ministers and found it hard to recall their name.

Former Nepalese diplomat Dr Jaya Raj Acharya shed light on Suu Kyi's political personality.

Dr Acharya said that she was a global icon of struggle for democracy and human rights. "She is a luminous star, scintillating in the world history."
Her untiring struggle for freedom must have been inspired by the Buddhist enlightenment, he gauged.

"Madam Suu Kyi must have got the inspiration for her tapasya from Lord Buddha himself, who said life is full of miseries but these miseries can be removed by practicing the eightfold path," he said.

Dr Acharya further said: "Incarcerated for 15 out of the last 20 years or so, she has come out like a pure gold from the furnace. She has shown the path of liberation from the pains of dictatorship in the same way as Buddha and Gandhi have shown."

Secretary General of the Socialist International Luis Ayala said that social democracy was for social justice, security and freedom. The capitalistic system is just churning out economic crises, one after another and is not solving the problem of unemployment, he added.

Speaking in the closing session, renowned socialist thinker professor Dr Thomas Meyer said that the struggle for a better, a fairer and a more inclusive and solidarity based society went on. He said that it was social democracy that would help humanity to realize these aspirations.

In his working paper, 'This is a Time for Social Democracy', the German political scientist said that the US-type of democracy was exclusionary one and had been challenged since long by more profoundly democratic alternative that was built in Europe in a century of pressure by strong labour and social movements and had found support in many parts of the world.

Commenting FES, Nepal head Dev Raj Dahal called for ensuring inter-generational and ecological justice in order to consummate social democracy.

Dr Yagya Adhikari said that the 21st century was the century of social democracy.

Source: The Rising Nepal (15 June 2014)



Vital Role of Press in Constitution Making <Top>

Gorkhapatra Correspondent

Kathmandu, May 23

Minister for Information and Communication Dr. Minendra Rijal said that constitution will be made by keeping people's interest at the center and satisfaction of all sides. Dr. Rijal said that CA has been set up by 70 years of people's struggle and sacrifice where media will have vital role in the making of new constitution. Speaking on the occasion of a seminar organized by National Union of Journalists-Nepal, FES and AWAKE and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung on Friday Minister Dr. Rijal said that all the parties driven by their own ideologies are aspiring for change but there is no alternative to move forward through cooperative action. Each political parties have to follow the rules of game in the CA. The country will benefit if rule, process and norm will be followed. With the intension of including CPN (Maoist) party the CA has constituted Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee and he suggested it to be engaged in the constitution drafting process.

Deputy Chairman of CPN (Maoist) C. P. Gajurel, however, said that his party will not join the current CA just to produce a constitution as this CA does not have any adequacy. The sacrifice made by his party so far is for people's constitution. This CA cannot produce such constitution. He added, "This CA cannot write people's constitution. It will write a constitution not based on the aspiration of people. We did not fight just for a any type of constitution." He claimed that this CA will reproduce the Constitution of 1991 just by removing the monarchy. Contradicting the allegation that his party did not context the election due to inability to enter competitive politics he said that intentionally they were excluded.

Head of FES Dev Raj Dahal said democracy empowers the people through social inclusion. Voice for inclusion is increasing. In the seminar participants debated on two working papers focusing on challenges of democracy and nationalism, constitutionalism. Senior lawyer Ram Prasad Shrestha stressed that without constitutional tradition of politics and its maturity constitutional system will not be stable. Another paper writer Yubaraj Gautam said that the nation can enter into democratic development with constitutional process and progress and Nepali citizens should protect both democracy and nationalism. The participants also stressed that Nepali democracy has not been sufficiently inclusive.

Source: The Gorkhapatra Daily, Nepali (24 May 2014)


Seminar on Trade Union and Cooperatives <Top>

Class Nepal and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung organized a two-day national seminar on Trade Unions and Cooperatives. Inaugurating the seminar national Chairman of Cooperative Keshav Badal said that cooperative contributes 3 percent to national GDP. Chief Guest Badal argued that some of cooperatives are deviating from their philosophy, values and practices.

Joint Secretary of Poverty Alleviation and Cooperatives Suresh Pradhan stated that since the ministry has already shaped policy this seminar will help us in formulating and executing concrete programs. He under lines several areas such as education, health, energy etc which can contribute to development.
In the program head of FES Nepal office Dev Raj Dahal, representative of UNI-Apro office Rajendra Acharya, Secretary of GEFONT Keshan Dawadi and Umesh Upadhayay, Vice-Chairman of NTUC Ganesh Niraula, Shankar Lamichhane and Deepa Bhardwaj of CLASS-Nepal spoke on the role of trade union in building cooperative movement.

In the program Deepa Bhardwaj spoke on the role of trade union in strengthening cooperatives, while Ganesh Aryal spoke on the role of cooperatives in alleviating poverty and income generation. The second day program engaged in participants in formulating future strategy . Over 73 participants from trade unions, micro-credits, cooperatives and other fields.

Source: Ghatana Ra Bichar Weekly (30 April 2014, P. 7)


Anxiety over the Erosion of Loyalty to the Nation <Top>

Narayani Correspondent, Hetauda

A program organized at Makwanpur said that citizens' loyalty to the nations is eroding.

The residential permits of the US and Europe undertaken by high government officials is unfortunate. Supported by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Nirmal Multiple Campus of Basamodi VDC of Bastipur organized 2 day seminar on "Role of Civic Education in Building Modern State". The participants at the local level argued in need of local development. The chairman of high level administrative commission Kashi Raj Dahal said that our country has been made beautiful by nature but deformed by individuals. The other countries are made beautiful by people but our country is deteriorating. Dahal informed that he has asked the government to take action against those high level government officials who hold green cards because they do not love the country. Those working in the Gulf Region owing to the lack of job opportunities at home are undergoing painful experience. About 5.5 million youth entering into job market abroad indicates that we are facing downward spiral said Dahal asking how long country can run by remittance.

Participants of 30 community school who attended the seminar were teachers, management, local political parties, social workers, intellectuals and attentive citizens. Head of FES Prof. Dev Raj Dahal said that drafting of new constitution requires building consensus. He explained the challenges on state-building. The participants said that we have to identify our resources and work for proportional distribution. They also said that all the sectors are facing lawlessness. Therefore, we have to focus on civic education to overcome national anomalies.

The program to be run until Sunday will be addresses by senior journalist Yubraj Ghimire, Federal expert Prof. Lal Babu Yadav of Patan Multiple Campus said field coordinator of FES Shiv Raj Dahal.

Source: Narayani Express National Daily (27 April 2014)


Youth's role in statute writing stressed <Top>

By A Staff Reporter

Banepa, Apr 23: Political leaders and experts Wednesday concurred that youth should play their proactive role in writing the new statute and taking the country on the path of stability and prosperity.

They put emphasis on creating educational and job opportunities for the youth to stop their exodus to the foreign nation.

They were sharing their views on a seminar 'The Changing Politics, Youth and Constituent Assembly' jointly organized by the School of Democracy (SoD) and FES, Nepal office here.

Addressing the function, Minister for Urban Development Dr Narayan Khadka said that if the youth were not brought to the political mechanism, there would be anarchy.

"It is high time to utilize the energy of youth to bring about positive socio-economic changes in the country. The parties should find ways to tap the youth power," said Dr Khadka.

He admitted that the definition of youth was strange in his party. "The leaders continue to call themselves as youth even after crossing 50 years. I am still a youth leader in the party," he quipped.

Dr Shankar Sharma, former Nepalese ambassador to the US, said that there was no alternative to democracy but the scope for making its strong and vibrant always existed there.

Dr Sharma underscored that effective service delivery, rule of law and property rights were some fundamental requirement for the deepening of democracy. "It needs to be linked with economic opportunities."

Constituent Assembly Ram Hari Subedi said that despite having the glowing tradition of democratic movements and unprecedented level of awareness among the people, the leaders had not yet sloughed off feudal mindset, causing trouble within the parties.

Subedi noted that the last CA failed to deliver the new statute because of the extremist thinking and approach. He expressed his confidence that the nation would get the news statute by the Nepali month of Magh 2071 BS.

FES Programme officer C D Bhatta said that freedom and equality was the cornerstone of democracy. "Freedom is not enough. There should be economic justice to consummate democracy."

Bhatta stressed on molding democracy as per the inherent cultural and social values of the given society. "Our state has become weak because we could not nourish democracy with the cultural elements and societal knowledge." He also urged the youth to learn history to strengthen democracy and the state.

SoD president Nain Singh Mahar said that democracy was a continuous process and the SoD aimed at enriching knowledge for the changes. He expressed his worry that individualism was rising and collective thinking was on the wane.

NC lawmaker Min Bahadur Bishwokarma, CPN-M central committee member Lekha Nath Neupane and Chirnajivi Bhandari presented their working papers on the very title of the seminar.

Bishwokarma said that the youth had strong desire for change that was not comparatively available in the old leaders. He said that many youth had entered politics and this had revived hope for the positive changes.

Neupane presented grim economic indictors and said that over-dependency on the foreign assistance would pose a threat to the national sovereignty.

Bhandari was of the view that the political parties had written rosy words to lure the youth to their folds during the election but were not serious about addressing their concerns.
NC district leader Krishna Bahadur Pachahatatre and Tej Bahadur Chhetri of UCPN-M also expressed their views at the function participated in by the people of different walks of life.

Source: The Rising Nepal (24 April 2014)


Inner-party democracy ensures political stability <Top>

By A Staff Reporter

Pokhara, Mar 20: Participants at a function called for promoting internal democracy to avoid intra-party conflicts and ensure political stability in the country.

"Inner-party democracy helps for the smooth transfer of leadership and accommodates the diverse views within the party," they shared at a seminar 'Inner-Party Democracy,' organised by the FES, Nepal office here other day.

They expressed their worries over the increased use of money and muscles in the politics. "The leaders have feudal mindsets and are hesitant to encourage the new and alternative views within the parties."

Presenting his working paper, Dr Christian Wagner said that the political parties intermediate between the society and the state, and give legitimacy to the political system. "They represent specific interests and look for compromise."

He noted that inner-party democracy has its implications when the party candidates and leaders are selected and policies are framed. "The inner-party democracy has potential to protect a virtuous circle linking ordinary citizens to the government and offers voters better policy choices."
He further said: "Inner-party democracy is in a state of transformation. There is no one-size-fits-all solution."

FES, Nepal office head Dev Raj Dahal said that his office has been organising the debates on the inner-party democracy for more than five years and leaves a positive impacts on the Nepalese political parties.

He said that the parties are weakened by caucuses and are unable to resolve conflicts.

"Ideas, changes and transformations come from the parties. If the parties are democratised, this will also help democratise the state and society as well. The ideas generated from the grassroots help widen the scope of democracy," he added.

The people from different walks of life attended the seminar. The issues of gender rights, inclusion and upliftment of marginalised groups were raised at the function. The participants showed their enthusiasm about the status of women in Germany and the kind of federal structure practiced there.

The representatives of different political parties, universities, media and other domains of social life participated in the one-day seminar.

Source: The Rising Nepal (21 March 2014)


Political parties must have democracy in their Internal Life <Top>

Pokhara, March 20

Participants on Thursday meeting in Pokhara stressed on strong and open-ended debate on the internal party democracy. In a program organized by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) participants of various social organizations stressed on the need for democracy within the structures of political parties. Main speaker of the program was German Scholar Dr. Christian Wagner who said that parties should be inclusive of social diversity and they should aggregate the interest of society and articulate in policy regimes. Democracy can become participatory if parties' internal structures are made both representative ad deliberative. It will also enable parties to become more transparent and accountable. But, he also said that inner party democracy also weakens leadership structures and weaken their credibility to address the demands of people promised in the elections. Parties may then become competitive.

Source: Samadhan National Daily (21 March 2014)


Refrain from politicising federal structure: Dr Wagner <Top>

By A Staff Reporter

Lalitpur, Mar 17: A noted German scholar Monday suggested that Nepal should adopt territory-based federalism owing to its complex social structure.

"I rather prefer for Nepal to go for four to five federal units based on territory as the country has diverse and complex social structure," said Prof. Dr Christian Wagner, head of Research Division, Asia, Stiftung Wissenschaft and Politik (SWP), Berlin.

He was sharing the federal experiences of Germany at an interaction organised by the Contemporary Research Centre and FES, Nepal here.

Federalism has been the key issue in the contents of Nepal's new constitution and disagreement on it had led to the dissolution of the first Constituent Assembly elected in 2008.

Dr Wagner admitted that federating the country into various provinces was a daunting task but he warned against politicising it.

"Depoliticise federal structure, build institutional framework and make them articulate," Dr Wagner told a gathering of the selected audiences that comprised politicians, experts, students and media persons.

Dr. Wagner's proposition for depoliticising the federal agenda, which is the most contested issue of the world's youngest republic- could provide a fresh approach to the subject excessively politicised by the ethnic and regional forces.

The German think tank head noted that the provinces should be made viable to let the government function smoothly.

Dr Wagner called for exploring instruments for self-autonomy, economy and self-determination. "However, the quest for self-determination is endless.'

The German political scientist said that one-size-fits-all idea simply did not work. Nepal should adopt its own model of federal structure that will lift the people out of poverty and redress the balance for the marginalised communities, he added.

"The countries are poor in paper but not in resources. There should be specific authority to collect taxes," he said.

On the downsides of the heterogeneous structure, he said that the new groups bring new dynamic and make the governing process dysfunctional. "The process is paralyzed by the procedures."

Providing German experiences, he said that federalism was a continuous process in which the affluent and the poor provinces are merged. "Federalism is a boring subject for the students but it is the political parties that bring process for its reform."

He informed about the complex structure of federalism of German and how the rights and powers were shared between the federal government and the federal units. "Our federalism is cooperative and under-construction. The states can give advice to the centre and participates in the negotiations with the EU when their interests are related."

CA member and professor Dr Ganesh Man Gurung said that federalism should address Nepal's diversity and question of identity but the economic viability should be the primary element for the formation of the new provinces.

FES, Nepal office head Dev Raj Dahal said that federalism was not a panacea to all maladies of new Nepal but a means to ensure fair distribution of national wealth and resources among the people.

Lal Babu Yadav, an associate professor at the TU, said that the second CA elections had rejected the ethnic federalism and One Madhes One Province slogan, and the people's mandate was for cooperative federalism.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Pyare Lal Rana, Kiran Yadav and CPN-UML lawmaker Ram Kumar Bhattarai called for balancing between the economic viability and identity while slashing the country into provinces.

Source: The Rising Nepal (18 March 2014)


Two-day Seminar Begins <Top>

Devanada Neupane

Lamki, March 5: A two-day seminar on "Building Modern State Through Civic Education" began at Lamki, Kailali District. In the seminar organized by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and managed by Lamki Multiple College participants from various sectors of society such as representatives of political parties and various local institutions, school and college teachers, student unions, journalists, social leaders, etc participated.

In the first day of the seminar senior political scientists Prof. Dev Raj dahal presented lecture on changes and solution on building modern state, constitutional expert and chairman of Administrative Reform Commission and Chairman of Administrative Reform Commission Kashi Raj Dahal spoke on federalism rule of law, and constitution-drafting process and senior journalist and political analyst Yubaraj Ghimire spoke about the role of media in civic education, federalism, secularism and the role of various social organizations. He also responded questions about secularism and non-secularism, the role or absence of monarchy, politics of negation.

The second day training program focused on the principles of democracy, role of civic education in it and media's functions in the spread of democratic values and culture. These issues are attended by Chandra Dev Bhatta, Kashi Raj Dahal and Dev Raj Dahal.

Source: Tikapur daily (5 March 2014)

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