Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

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Posts Tagged ‘Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee’

An Interview with Dr. Minendra Rijal by Mikel Durham

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 7, 2012

Dr. Rijal is a member of Nepal’s recently created Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee, chaired by ex-Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. Dr. Rijal, a member of the Nepali Congress political party, is also a current member of the Constituent Assembly, ex-Minister of Culture and Chairman of Apex College. Mikel Durham interviewed Dr. Rijal focussing on Lumbini issue.

DUNHAM: You’ve recently been appointed as a Member of the Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee. Now that the committee has been created, what progress can be reported?

RIJAL: So far, we have not been able to spend as much time as is needed to move the Lumbini project forward. Prachanda is terribly busy with the politics of the country. In some respects, I am also quite busy — nothing compared to his busy schedule but –

DUNHAM: How many members are on the committee?

RIJAL: Right now we are a six-member committee. And then there is a provision to add another eleven members later on.

DUNHAM: Prachanda is Chair.

RIJAL: Yes.

DUNHAM: What has the committee actually done so far?

RIJAL: We went to New York and saw the Secretary General (SG) of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, in November. And the reason we went was that we wanted the involvement of the UN in the development of Lumbini.

It all started, however, when, earlier, I was the Minister of Culture. At that time, I established contact with Ban Ki-moon’s office and he extended an invitation. I went there. I presented my argument on Lumbini and he was very keen. He has long been interested in helping Lumbini and in realizing its potential. I knew that his mother was a devoted Buddhist and felt that her son, as Secretary General, should do something for Lumbini.

For his part, Ban Ki-moon also feels that it is his obligation on behalf of the larger Asian Buddhist community– he is the second Asian Secretary General – to do something for Lumbini.

That was one reason, last November, that we thought he could be of great help. And the visibility of his office was going to be very important to help Lumbini realize its potential.

We had a very nice conversation. He was the one who told us that Madam Bokova [Director-General of UNESCO] is also very keen to see that Lumbini is developed to it’s potential. She’s very interested in the preservation site.  Read the rest of this entry »

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