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Nepal Study Center

A Global Perspective on International Development, Environment, and Global Health

The objective of the Nepal Study Center (NSC) at the University of New Mexico is to promote research and policy debate among scholars who are interested on South Asia and the Himalayan region.  It also strongly encourages a comparative global perspective beyond South Asia to include other regions of the world such as Latin America and Africa. Nepal Study Center

Activities

Study Abroad Opportunity Help UNM Students Make a Lasting Difference in Nepal


Introduction
We, a group of University of New Mexico students (YOGDAN –Giving, a volunteer student group), have a unique opportunity to study abroad [ECON 395/595] and make a lasting impact for the people of Nepal.  During the course, our goal is to extend the reach of successful New Mexican initiatives to develop and implement a citizen science program in Nepal to encourage Healthy Environment, Healthy Living.  The city of Siddharthanagar, located in southern Nepal, serves as an important trading port with India and is the gateway to the old-world heritage site of Lumbini.  The Danda River flows along Siddharthanagar and is an integral part of the city.  Recent studies, however, have found the Danda River to contain a number of contaminants, from household and industrial sources, leading to detrimental health and biological impacts.  Local industries have also reduced the air quality raising further concerns.
 
We plan to work closely with the community of Siddharthanagar and our institutional college campus collaborator, including local schools and authorities to develop the foundation for long term data collection and environmental monitoring.  The information will be used to inform their own sustainable solutions for a cleaner environment and healthier living.  
 
The program fee for the trip is approximately $2200 plus airfare.  A portion of the money will go to providing equipment and training for long-term success, such as water quality testing materials, air quality monitoring equipment, training sessions, and guest speakers.  There is a great deal of interest from UNM students to attend.  However, the cost of the trip may prohibit many from going.  Therefore, we are asking for donations to help defray some of the cost.  Donations will be pooled and applied equally to lower total trip cost for each student.  We appreciate any and all donations you are able to give as every little bit helps.  We assure you that all donations will be used solely for program costs.
 
We are so grateful for your support.  You are directly helping to support the education of eager UNM students as well as the Nepalese people and ecosystems.  Please see below for more specific details about the class and the work we will be doing in Nepal.  If you have any additional questions, we are happy to answer them.  Thank you again for your support. DONATE HERE
 

A STEM Bridge Initiative & Course Details
 
A unique Sustainable Development Action Lab (SDAL) is being developed by the Nepal Study Center (NSC) at UNM to provide valuable hands-on learning experience for the UNM undergraduate students.  Working with the economics and other interdisciplinary faculty and the volunteer graduate student mentors, our interdisciplinary undergraduate student group hopes to travel to Nepal this December (2017) and implement a citizen science program.  This long-term scientific data collection mechanism will be modeled after our New Mexico based Rio Grande related conservation and ecological monitoring programs, and will be set up at our collaborator's international learning center at its college campus (Lumbini Center for Sustainability).  Our Fall Semester classroom has been rigorously analyzing the problem from the urban town of Siddharthanagar, especially the water contaminants and its impact on human and eco-systems. This SDAL program, once established on the ground level in Nepal, will serve as a long-term living laboratory for our UNM students to gain valuable skill, knowledge, and global experience.

In support of these objectives, the NSC brings together scholars and academic institutions from North America and the countries in the Himalayan region and elsewhere to share knowledge on policy research issues. NSC's activities include

  •     Annual conferences
  •     e-journals
  •     e-repository
  •     Doctoral research and mentoring
  •     Student exchanges and hands-on summer practicum Himalayan Study Abroad Program

International Partnerships

The NSC, through its offices at UNM and a branch in Nepal's Kathmandu University, strives to foster collaboration between the University of New Mexico, Kathmandu University, and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). NSC takes pride in generating opportunities for its affiliated faculty and students from UNM in the 8-country Himalayan University Consortium; UNM is an associate member of the consortium. UNM's MOU Partners in the Himalayan Region 

Doctoral Research

The NSC encourages research that is collaborative, multidisciplinary, policy oriented, theoretically motivated and data intensive.  Students affiliated with the center use state of the art research tools and statistical methods.

Multidisciplinary research area   
  • Development: poverty inequality, food security, migration decisions, microfinance, gender discrimination, political conflict, formal and informal sectors etc.
  • Environment: recycling, landfill management and sanitation, environmental degradation, water quality,  eco-systems and habitat range analysis, climate change, social and natural capital, amenity migration, invasive species, quality of life  etc.
  • Health: global health, maternal health, microfinance and health benefit, health inequality etc.
Analytical Methods
  • Bayesian MCMC methods, semi-parametric methods, GIS/spatial econometric tools, GMM dynamic panel analysis, non-market valuation, choice experiment surveys, small area estimate

Databases
  • Primary data collection and choice experiment surveys; secondary data bases: living standard surveys, demographic and health surveys, GIS images, land-use coverage, digital roads, census, GPS collared animal movements, aerial surveys  
Software Usage
   
  • Stata, ArcGIS, R, Mathematica, Stella 

Several papers have appeared in various peer-reviewed journals.  Students affiliated with the center have gone on to undertake positions as post-docs, tenure track faculty, and senior economists with international organizations. 

Useful links: Graduate Research, Graduate Research Fellowship

Global South (South-South) Initiative

The Center is undertaking this new initiative to promote scholarly dialogue on issues with a common theme affecting the three continents --South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The International Development and Sustainability --South-South Initiative (IDS-SSI) is a common platform for UNM scholars and students, who are doing development-related research in different cultural settings across the globe.