Spring Break Nepal
The URI Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies is once again offering this unique international nonviolence peace training and cultural education experience as a COMMUNITY SERVICE LEARNING ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK for URI students. This tour is available to a limited number of students who wish to experience an ancient culture located in the heart of the Himalayan region of the world, in the midst of resolving modern political conflict through nonviolent peace-building.
The program will run mid-March, 2013, during the semester spring break holidays. Specific travel dates to be determined. Travel itinerary described is based on last year’s program and is subject to changes based on local conditions and guidance and advise from our in-country partner organizations. The 2013 itinerary will vary somewhat, but the trip will remain a once-in-a-lifetime-experience!
This study abroad experience is offered exclusively through the the Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies in cooperation with the University of Rhode Island’s Office of International Education. FOR TRIP DETAILS AND TO APPLY NOW go to the URI Office of International Education Faculty-Led Trips for SPRING 2013 and complete the Trip and Scholarship Applications. Or contact the Center (874-9037) for more information, if you want to be included in this once in a lifetime experience.
ADVISORY: This is not a vacation style spring break trip. It is a community service oriented “alternative” spring break experience that allows a small number of students to accompany members of the URI Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies on one of their working nonviolence and peace training projects. The rare opportunity provided by this trip to engage in service learning while experiencing a completely different culture, in one of the the world’s most remote locations, while participating in nonviolent social transformation, can be invaluable. Course credits are offered for all participants.
Click the links below to learn more about the trip:
- About Nepal
- Program Purpose
- Course Credit
- Participating Faculty/Staff
- Participating Students
- Participating Nepali Organizations
- NEPAL PROFILE 2013 (document)
- NEPAL FINAL ITINERARY (updated February 26th 2013)(document)
- Paul on Nepal (2013): Travel Tips for URI Nonviolence Trip (updated 26th February 2013) (document)
- *Event Gallery*
Nepal is a landlocked country located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by China and Tibet, and to the south, east, and west by India. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and the country’s largest metropolis. Nepal has a rich geography; The mountainous north has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali. It contains more than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft above sea level. The dramatic differences in elevation found in Nepal result in a variety of biomes: Tropical savannas along the Indian border, subtropical broadleaf and coniferous forests in the Hill Region, temperate broadleaf and coniferous forests on the slopes of the Himalaya, and grasslands and shrublands rich with rock and ice at the highest elevations.
Nepal is as ethnically diverse as its terrain. The Nepalese are descendants of three major migrations from India, Tibet, and central Asia. The Kathmandu Valley, in the middle hill region, constitutes a small fraction of the nation’s area but is the most densely populated, with over 7% of the population.
Religion is important in Nepal; the Kathmandu Valley alone has more than 2,700 religious shrines. According to the 2001 census, Nepal is roughly 81% Hindu. Buddhists account for about 11% of the population. Buddhist and Hindu shrines and festivals are respected and celebrated by many. Nepal also has small Muslim and Christian minorities. Certain animistic practices of old indigenous religions also survive.
Nepali is the official language, although over 100 regional and indigenous languages are spoken throughout the country. Derived from Sanskrit, Nepali is similar to Hindi and is spoken by about 90% of the population (although often as a second or third language). Many Nepalese in government and business also speak Hindi and English.
About the Trip:
Students depart by minibus from URI campus and shuttle to JFK to board their international flight with connection through Delhi India, arriving in Kathmandu, the capital and the urban hub of Nepal. Kathmandu and the nearby surrounding valley area is rich with World Heritage sites and ancient shrines and temples that attract visitors from around the world. Additional destinations include several of most spectacular and scenic places in Nepal: the preserved ancient city of Bhaktapur, the spectacular Himalayan views of the mountain station town of Nagarkot, and Chitwan National Park.
After arrival orientation and acclimatization in Kathmandu, students travel for a day of exploring Bhaktapur and the nearby Kathmandu Valley enjoying the night in Dhulikhel. The next day, we travel a short distance eastward to Nagarkot, a historical mountain station community at 10,000 feet with amazing views of the distant Himalaya mountains. Sunrise mountain views are some of the best in Nepal! Nagarkot is the site for the 3-day International Kingian Nonviolence Training facilitated by URI Center faculty and trainers. This program is a collaboration between URI and Tribhuvan University’s CPDS, Conflict, Peace, and Development Studies Program, in partnership with two of the most respected peace promoting human rights NGOs in Nepal, COCAP – the Collective Campaign for Peace, and SWD – Social Work for Development. Notable guests at the training will include human rights activists and peace advocates of Nepal.
Surrounded by the natural beauty of Nagarkot for three days, URI students participate in a joint peace and nonviolence training program side by side with Nepalese university students, human rights workers, community volunteers, and NGO staff members, all studying conflict reconciliation and positive peace-building methods. The training program is conducted by the URI Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies faculty, assisted by several URI students who have been certified as nonviolence co-trainers through the Center. Nepalesei students from Tibhuvan University majoring in peace and conflict studies also participate in this joint program. URI students interacte with fellow Nepali trainees while learning about how current political and cultural conflicts in Nepal can be and are being resolved using nonviolence principles and practices. Together they share this intensive traiing experience learning the principles, strategies, and practical methodologies of Kingian Nonviolence within the socio-political context of post-conflict Nepal. The Center’s training course in Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation serves as the basic curriculum. Last year, Krishna Pahadi, Nepal’s leading human rights spokesperson, promoting civil society formation and transitional justice was in attendance to speak and facilitate dialogue and discussion. The schedule will allow for time to become familiar with the local environment and culture of Nagarkot. Time is reserved for cultural and educational excursions to enhance and supplement academic learning and interpersonal development, as well as provide views of the impressive natural geological wonders of the backdrop of the famous Himalayan mountain range nearby.
After the conlcusion of the training program, the URI group will travel from Nagarkot westward past Kathmandu and then south-westward to to the Chitwan National Park and Wildlife Refuge, the oldest national park in Nepal, situated in the subtropical inner Terai lowlands of South-Central Nepal. The park, which covers a pristine area with a unique ecosystem of significant value to the world, was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984. It provided a perfect setting in which to learn about the issues of conservation ecology and environmental sustainability facing Nepal.
The park is actively engaged in the scientific studies of several species of wild fauna and flora. There are more than 43 species of mammals in the park, which is especially renowned for the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, tiger, and the gharial crocodile along with many other common species such as gaur, wild elephant, four-horned antelope, striped hyena, pangolin, Gangetic dolphin, monitor lizard, and python. There are over 450 species of birds in the park. Among the endangered birds are the Bengal florican, giant hombill, lesser florican, black stork, and white stork. Common birds seen in the park include the peafowl, red jungle fowl, and different species of egrets, herons, kingfishers, flycatchers, and woodpeckers. One of the best times for bird watching is during March!
After an early breakfast and departure from Chitwan, we enjoy a scenic drive through central Nepal arriving back in Kathmandu for the final two days/nights. Students will experience cultural and spiritual learning opportunities at several of the world’s holiest and most revered ancient temples and shrines. Swayambhunath and Bodhnath are recognized as some of the most sacred sites in the Hindu and Buddhist faith traditions. Completing this international nonviolence travel experience, students will also visit two highly recognized accomplishments and compassionate work with the CNN Heroes Awards for 2010 and 2012. social uplifting programs. Schedules are being arranged to visit with Anurada Koirala, founder and Director of Maiti Nepal, the well-known Nepal program that rescues and rehabilitates women and children who have been victims of sex trafficking and educates the public to prevent such violent criminal activities from re-occurring. Also students will visit Pushpa Basnet and learn of her work establishing a home for young children who without other options or family were forced to live in prisons with their convicted parents. Finally a visit to the Tibetan Refugee Center will provide firsthand interactions with Tibetans who were forced to flee Chinese oppression, risking their lives to journey across the dangerous high Himalayan escape route. This final component of the program introduces students to the complex modern challenges facing Nepal as it emerges from a period of internal conflict and strives to re-establish itself as a civil society, positioned between India and China. After a final relaxing morning for packing and souvenir shopping the group transitions to the Tribhuvan Airport to bid a final “Namaste” to Kathmandu and Nepal. Connecting through Delhi, our return flight arrives at JFK early Monday morning, meeting our minibus for the final leg of our journey back to URI.
DAY 1 – THURSDAY- Depart URI – JFK to Delhi and Kathmandu
Day 2 - FRIDAY – Arrive Kathmandu (10pm)
DAY 3 – SATURDAY – Bhaktapur, arrive Dhulikhel
DAY 4 – SUNDAY – Nagarkot
DAY 5 – MONDAY – Nagarkot (nonviolence training)
DAY 6 – TUESDAY – Nagarkot (nonviolence training)
DAY 7 – WEDNESDAY – Nagarkot (nonviolence training), depart/arrive Chitwan
DAY 8 – THURSDAY – Chitwan – National Park & Wildlife Refuge excursions
DAY 9 – FRIDAY – depart Chitwan / arrive Kathmandu – shrine visits
DAY 10 – SATURDAY - Kathmandu - Pushpa Basnet, Maiti Nepal, Tibetan Refugees
DAY 11 - SUNDAY-Departure from Kathmandu 3:45pm, connection in Delhi 1:45am departureDAY 12 – MONDAY- arrive 6am JFK – minibus return to URI
To provide URI students with firsthand direct international nonviolence and peace psychology training experiences within the context of a current post-conflict civil society building efforts in Nepal.
To offer opportunities to engage in collaborative training and cultural exchange experiences between URI students and Nepalese student counterparts, and leaders of NGO and community development organizations.
To introduce students to the geography, ecology, economic, cultural, spiritual, social, political, and human dimensions of Nepal, an ancient land with a rich history located in the heart of Asia.
The nonviolence and peace training in Nepal program is consistent with and highly supportive of the cross-cutting theme of Global Awareness and Global Change articulated in the future academic priorities of the strategic
plan of the University of Rhode Island. This international study and training program is a model example of an applied experiential educational opportunity for students to develop both knowledge and skills at the intersection of global change and social responsibility, as well as encouraging students to exhibit “liberal learning and scholarship”. Training in nonviolence, especially abroad where diversity and cross-cultural complexity can be experienced and celebrated, is an opportunity to become multiculturally competent leaders and contributing world citizens. Following this program, instead of simply describing global problems, URI students will be better equipped to lead in the design of global solutions.
Nepal serves as one of the best collections of wild life and natural flora on the planet. In addition to the nonviolence and peace training components of the experience, the program will include an excursion for hiking in the Pokhara region to experience the ecological landscape and learn about the environmental issues facing Nepal. The return trip to Kathmandu will offer opportunities for visiting the Royal Chitwan National Park, the oldest national park in Nepal, situated in the subtropical inner Terai lowlands of South-Central Nepal. The park, which covers a pristine area with a unique ecosystem of significant value to the world, which was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984.
PSY479 Topics in Psychology (3 credits): Global Peace and Nonviolence
Credits can be arranged and individualized for students to conduct independent projects and research related to their own particular interests and disciplines. Adapted to the international setting of the program the course will provide for 80+ hours of instructional contact, and include examination of the psychological factors either contributing to or hindering the adoption and application of peaceful nonviolent processes in Nepal, with an emphasis on understanding the socio-cultural context of this post-conflict emerging democracy.
PSY425 Peace Psychology (3 credits)
PSY 489 Problems in Psychology (3 credits) Supervised individual project
This international education program will be led by Paul Bueno de Mesquita, PhD, Professor in Psychology and Director of the URI Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies. A Level III Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, Paul has recently conducted international trainings in collaboration with nonviolence and peace partners in Nepal, Jammu-Kashmir, India, and Ghana, West Africa.
Jody Lisberger, Director and Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at URI, will be faculty co-leader in this trip. She has a Ph.D. in English (Boston University, 1991), with a specialty in feminist narrative theory. She also has an M.F.A. in Writing (Vermont College, 1999), and a B. A. in anthropology (Smith College, 1975). She has won the URI Diversity Award for Faculty Excellence. She has designed three new courses at URI-”Race, Class, and Sexuality Seen Through Literature”; “Violence and Nonviolence in Theory and Fiction: Feminist Alternatives”; and “Women Writing Their Lives.”
Kalyana Champlain, is a Level II certified trainer in Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation with the URI Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. Kal’s approach to training builds on her talents as a writer, femcee, and spoken word artist. In her art she focuses on the waking up of consciousness, themes of personal journey, and interconnectedness. A devotee of Nichiren Buddhism, Kal has embarked on a journey to fight for all those who “have forgotten their inherent worth.” Her work is meant to call the spirit to a higher place, remind the soul to open up, and show what can happen with a change in just one individual. She earned her Bachelors and Masters degree in Communication Studies from the University of Rhode Island.
Pritush Maharjan, our coordinating contact in Nepal, is a local peace expert and NGO capacity building specialist. He received his Level I Kingian Nonviolence training at our 10th Annual International Nonviolence Summer Institute, in 2011 and completed Level II advanced nonviolence certification in Leadership, Organization, and Mobilisation training in June 2012. Pritush and his wife Eliza were our in-country hosts and guided us each and every day in each and every way to make our trip and learning experience the success that it was.
Meet 2012 NEPAL URI Students and read their Reflections:
Salutations! My name is Michaela Cashman and I am currently a senior in Environmental Sciences and Management with a minor in Environmental Soil Science. My interest in nonviolence began when I was ten years old, when I received my first Kingian Nonviolence Training. Since then, The Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies has laid a strong foundation in my development of inner peace and social advocacy. As a Level II Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, I am enthused to participate in training overseas. I hope to spread King’s Legacy while experiencing new culture.
My name is Eden Kalyanapu and I am a sophomore in the College of Business. I am an entrepreneurial management major with a minor in Hunger Studies and I hope to one day start a nonprofit, bringing malnutrition relief to developing countries. As well as working at the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, I am currently enrolled in nonviolence training and hope to incorporate the philosophies I’m learning into my future business, both by providing trainings and upholding the standards in my own life. This trip represents an exciting opportunity for me to see first hand how international trainings are conducted and to be a part of the growth that the curriculum can catalyze.
Namaste! I’m a Psychology and Biomed & Pharmaceutical Sciences double major with a minor in Nonviolence & Peace Studies. My dedication to nonviolence began in college while volunteering in a public school system in Rhode Island. After witnessing the success first-hand of nonviolence education, I’ve become a passionate advocate of nonviolence. I’m so proud of the enthusiasm and level of commitment in our team, and I’m confident that our investment in international peace education is an integral step in the leap toward a globally sustainable planet.
I am majoring in Communicative Disorders and minoring in Nonviolence and Peace Studies. I’ve had my own journey with nonviolence and have always seen myself as someone who can’t stand by while injustice exists, and people know me as someone who will speak up if something is wrong. I’ve found nonviolence as a great way to do this, and have committed to living a nonviolence life. I think Nepal will be interesting, I’m most excited to see the peace flags, eat the cultural foods, listen to the music, just excited to be immersed in another new culture. I hope to come back with an unfaltering determination to be nonviolent and to radiate that to those around me. I firmly believe that I need to be the change I want to see in the world.
Hello my name is Michael Petrarca and I am a Communication Studies major and General Business minor at the University of Rhode Island. I have always had a strong interest in peace studies for the simple reason that I feel that this world is full of too much violence. I am currently taking a peace and nonviolence class and am fascinated with the history of nonviolence throughout the world and the positive results that have been obtained. I believe more people should learn the techniques used to implement nonviolence so that we can foster more understanding and equal rights amongst humanity. I am looking forward to experiencing a rich culture in Nepal, that has many spiritual and nonviolence influences. Travelling, going on an adventure, meeting new people, and learning different ways of life are some of my strongest passions in life. On this trip to Nepal I expect to gain a solid understanding of the culture, advance my knowledge on nonviolence and peace studies, meet new life long friends,
and have an unforgettable experience.
My major is pharmacy with a minor in anthropology, graduating 2013. I work for the International Center and have a passion for learning about other cultures and building relationships with people from all around the world. I was drawn to the Center by the enthusiasm of the staff. During the trip I will be conducting research on transitional justice mechanisms in Nepal’s nation-building process for my Senior Honors Project. I am most looking forward to meeting the COCAP and SWD volunteers and the students from Tribuvan University. From this experience I gained a greater understanding of the challenges Nepal is facing and overcoming to establish a democracy, and to experience life in a country not heavily influenced by western culture.
My name is Mecca Smith. I am a Junior and I am from Providence, Rhode Island. I am a cultural anthropology and film media studies double major, with minors in nonviolence and peace studies, leadership, and International development. I first got involved with peace studies through my first summer job when I was 17. I worked through The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence in Providence as a camp couselor at a youth art center called Cityarts! Monday through Thursday was like a typical camp counselor job, but every Friday we would go to seminars put on by The Institute and learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 6 Principles of Nonvioence. When I came to The University of Rhode Island as a freshman, I learned we had a Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at a first night event. Ever since then, I have had a great time taking classes and learning about peace studies on campus and I am looking forward to sharing what I have learned an an
international level in Nepal this spring break!
I am an Anthropology major, minoring in the Cultural Aspects of Textiles and Apparel. I achieved my Level 1 Kingian Nonviolence training certificate in Spring of 2010 and plan to continue my training through the Summer Institute. My interest in nonviolence has stemmed from an early introduction to Eastern religions and philosophies. This early exposure to nonviolence as a practice has blossomed within me a desire to investigate other cultures and the beauty that the world has to offer. It also lead to my curiosity about other places and people in the world and interest in solving social problems like injustice and inequality. I am grateful for the opportunity to help spread the message of peace and looking forward to seeing and learning about Nepal.
COCAP is a national network of peace and human rights non-governmental organizations in Nepal. COCAP aims to provide a common space for its members, volunteers and friends to collectively engage in the pursuit of peace, human rights and justice in Nepal. It organizes national/regional level campaigns and programs on the issues of conflict transformation and peace building, transitional justice and social security/protection in coordination with its member organizations and other like-minded organizations.
Tribhuvan University’s Conflict, Peace and Development Studies is a multidisciplinary Masters program that draws on key insights and strengths from several disciplines in social sciences, humanities, and environmental sciences to provide a comprehensive understanding of the multi-faceted phenomena. As a new center dedicated to the teaching and research, CPDS is expected to emerge as a professional forum for academics and practitioners working in the field of conflict, security, and peace.
Social Work for Development (SWD) is a social organization led by enthusiastic social work educators from different academic backgrounds, motivated to provide professional service to the society. SWD emerged at a time of social disintegration and social dysfunctioning phenomena of developing and transforming social reality, to fulfill the need of social work intervention for a just and peaceful society. We envision a society where everyone lives with dignity, freedom, justice and has equal opportunity for sustainable development. Our goal is to enhance a peaceful and just society where people and resources are linked for development. SWD is involved in youth camp projects, child and human rights art projects, and leadership roles in community initiatives and national social change movements.