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Nepal Study Center

 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

UNM Undergraduate Students Help Set up Citizen Science Initiative in an Urban Town of Siddharthanagar, Nepal (December 19th - January 6th, 2018)

zia on barrelAn interdisciplinary group of University of New Mexico (UNM) students traveled to Nepal on the Himalayan Study Abroad Program this December (December 19th, 2017- January 6th, 2018) offered by the Nepal Study Center (NSC) and Department of Economics. The mission of this study abroad program was to build a Citizen Science (CS) Initiative, in particular, to develop and implement the Danda Ecological Monitoring Program (DEMP) developed by a series of students in previous economics courses under the NSC's Sustainable Development Action Lab concept. Working with the local collaborators (a non-profit NGO, PNMF and its polytechnic college, PNMHI), DEMP was developed to track various environmental parameters and to help spread awareness regarding air pollution, water pollution, weather, river flow dynamics, bio-diversity & waste management around the city of Siddharthanagar. The UNM group met with the Mayor of Siddharthanagar and expressed interest to help link the Nepal CS program with the similar conservation initiatives in New Mexico. Our students also participated in a Seminar Abroad event jointly with the local students presenting their work. The group then went on a hill circle tour to observe and experience various sustainable development activities and cultures. They also participated in a community service project that distributed reusable mensuration kits to women in a rural school (10th, 11th, 12th grades) and carried out a survey to help identify women's health needs. DEMP will provide continued community engaged research opportunities for other UNM undergraduate and graduate students in Nepal. Students from the recent study abroad program will also be participating in an undergraduate panel of the Southwestern Society of Economists (SSE) Annual Meeting to present their research and share their experiences. The study abroad program was co-led by Professor Alok Bohara and Michael Benjamin Goodwin (graduate student, economics department). For daily diary and the programmatic details, please visit: https://foxc01.wixsite.com/yogdan/projects

Activities

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.