National Press Club

Ambassador of Nepal thanks Press Club for embassy night event

February 14, 2012 | By Shankar Prasad Sharma

Editors Note: The National Press Club held an Embassy Night at the Embassy of Nepal on Feb. 9. Two stories have appeared on line regarding the event and can be found at http://www.ekantipur.com/np/2068/10/29/full-story/342742.html (published in Nepal) and http://www.nepalhorizons.com/news/international-news/embassy_dc/ (published in DC). Additionally, Shankar Prasad Sharma, ambassador of Nepal, sent the National Press Club the following open letter:

I hope all of you are in good health and fit for the week ahead. I want to thank you for accepting my invitation and being present on Feb. 9.

I also want to outline the evening for the members of the National Press Club who couldn't make it and then state our purpose for organizing the event.

As planned, the evening began at 6 p.m. and Kalpana, my spouse, was with me to greet guests. Foreign correspondents started to arrive slowly and by 6:30 p.m. most of them had already arrived. Some local Nepali media people and those who cater services to Nepali diaspora were also present. So, began the party lively.

Although I was worried about your attendance, more than 40 members of the Club were able to make it. My colleagues were making sure that things were in order and everyone was comfortable. I then was introduced to the crowd by Myron Belkind, chair of the International Correspondents' Committee. I am thankful to him for his kind words to me and my country.

After his introduction, I briefly outlined recent developments in Nepal and challenges ahead.

I informed your members about the ongoing peace process, the drafting of a new constitution in Nepal, and the challenges ahead in the process. Moreover, I underlined the importance of the decision of Government of Nepal to mark 2012 and 2013 as Nepal Investment Year and the opportunity of foreign investment in the area of hydro power and growing tourism industry in Nepal. I also outlined remarkable achievements made in social sectors of Nepal despite slow economic growth; citing declining poverty, the increasing life span of the Nepalese people and falling illiteracy, and maternal and child mortality rate.

Being Ambassador of Nepal to the United States, I capped my statement by stating that U.S.-Nepal relations are at their height in recent years. U.S. economic assistance to Nepal is growing, Peace Corps volunteers will be in Nepal by September, Millennium Challenge Corporation has recently embraced Nepal, a Nepal Caucus in U.S. House of Representatives has been formed, and the U.S.-Nepal Trade and Investment Forum Agreement has been signed. Moreover, I informed your members that Nepal ranks 11th in terms of foreign students in the US.

After my brief statement, I answered some queries of the guests. NPC President Theresa Werner presented a gift to me to mark the event and I reciprocated - after which dinner was open.

I now take this opportunity to answer why the Embassy of Nepal organized the event for members of National Press Club. The purpose is outreach to friends in a comfortable social setting. It is an opportunity for us to inform of our recent developments as well as difficulties ahead. We also get an opportunity to get feedback from the press community who are well informed about Nepal. To facilitate the process, the Embassy invited local Nepalese media as their information on Nepal would be relevant to the guests.

The event is helpful to initiate discussion on events in Nepal and provide for social networking of the Embassy in an informal setting. In some ways, we were able to build a bridge between our local media friends and wider international community. Moreover, Nepalese love to host guests and showcase their culture. The openness and hospitable character of Nepalese people have won friends around the world to promote Nepal as one of the best destinations in the world.

I am thankful to President Werner for her gracious presence and gift. Mr. Eddie Walsh, vice chair of the International Correspondents' Committee, also deserves special appreciation for the evening.

I wish you all a successful year ahead! Perhaps we can now consider institutionalizing this event on the National Press Club's annual calendar?

Respectfully,

Shankar Prasad Sharma
Ambassador of Nepal to the United States of America