Neeta Maskey

Washington, July 5:

Like in the past, this year’s annual convention of the Association of Nepalis in the Americas (ANA) was more than just a social event. Nepalis living in the US and Canada converged on Arizona, July 2-4, to meet, mingle and discuss issues concerning them. Discussions on the current political situation in Nepal took centre stage at this year’s ANA gathering. The theme of the ANA convention, 2004, was “Strength in Unity.” A forum of Nepali intellectuals, academicians and professionals living in North America mulled over possible conflict resolution scenarios to restore peace in Nepal. ANA plans to forward the forum’s analysis and recommendations to the Nepali government, political parties and policy makers. The association says it will also take it to international media and organisations to seek support for Nepal’s democratic movement.

The association was established in 1983 to preserve the Nepali identity and promote the welfare of Nepalis in North America. It is also involved in contributing to Nepal and Nepalis back home. ANA plays a big role in highlighting Nepal’s current events to the international community. Through ANA efforts, many charities and development projects run throughout Nepal. Today, ANA activities include promoting the welfare of all Nepalis living abroad. Issues of non-resident Nepalis (NRNs), and challenges facing Nepali youth and women in a multi-cultural society abroad were other topics discussed at the convention. There was also a panel of Nepali doctors who discussed health issues.

The convention hosted games, literary seminars, and Nepali film shows. ANA invited the Nepali rock band, Nepathya, and artists Santosh Pant, Nitesh Pant and Prasanna Dhoj Pradhan to perform. Lessons in Kungchido -- a combination of Tai Chi, Kung fu and Karate developed by martial arts guru Saroj Joshi — were also offered. A Nepali contemporary art exhibit, and talks on Newari Buddhist art and Hindu mythology by Dr Dina Bangdel and Dr Deepak Shimkhada were also held. These programmes were organised to introduce and promote interest in Nepali art, particularly among younger generation of Nepalis living in the US.