‘One Girl With Courage Is a Revolution’
About the Author: Robert Blake serves as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA).
Suma Tharu, a girl from Nepal, was sold into indentured servitude (Kamlari) at the age of six and braved another six years of forced labor and physical abuse, before a teacher took her under his wing. With the help of an NGO called Room to Read, whose work is supported by the State Department, Suma joined a local school and is close to graduating from high school. She plans to become a health educator and advocate for girls’ education and ending the Kamlari system that entrapped her.
Suma’s grit and determination to change the grim reality of the life into which she was born is truly remarkable. Her story was featured, along with those of girls from Haiti, India, Afghanistan, and other countries, in the inspirational documentary Girl Rising,…more »
In Bhutan, Conserving the Natural Environment and Biodiversity
About the Author: Timothy Neely serves as Environment, Science, Technology and Health Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India.
Do you know which country’s constitution promises that a minimum of 60 percent its land area will be maintained as forest for all time? Which country’s government pledges to protect, conserve, and improve the pristine environment and safeguard the biodiversity of the country; prevent pollution and ecological degradation; secure ecologically balanced sustainable development while promoting justifiable economic and social development; and ensure a safe and healthy environment? The answer is the Kingdom of Bhutan, a small Himalayan country located between China and India. Bhutan’s use of a “Gross National Happiness” index to measure progress, rather than GDP, is well-known, but fewer people know of the importance that Bhutan attaches to conserving its natural environment and biodiversity.
The Second Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation held in Thimphu, Bhutan… more »
Nepal: Security Sector Reform Helps Build Peace and Security
About the Author: Jack Detsch serves in the Office of Plans, Policy, and Analysis(PM/PPA) in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. He is a senior at George Washington University.
Security Sector Reform is a critical mission for the U.S. Department of State. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, we help nations turn the page on past practices and establish effective and accountable security institutions that respect human rights and can positively contribute to promoting regional peace and security. As Nepal continues to emerge from a decade long civil conflict, these reform efforts are making a difference.
On November 21, 2006, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended a 10-year civil war with Maoist insurgents and abolished the monarchy. The conflict left Nepal with significant challenges, including internal population displacement and the decline of a once-vibrant tourism industry.
For Nepal’s peace to survive, the new government also needed to enact robust reforms to rebuild its army, police, and other security… more »