Securing Dalit Rights and Building Democracy in Nepal: The Legacy of Suvash Darnal

September 14, 2011
04:00 pm - 06:00 pm

Securing Dalit Rights and Building Democracy in Nepal: The Legacy of Suvash Darnal from National Endowment for Democracy on Vimeo.

Featured Speakers:

Larry Diamond, Stanford University
Iain Guest, Advocacy Project
Brian Joseph, National Endowment for Democracy
Tim Rieser, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
Krishna Sob, Dalit and development expert

Carl Gershman, NED President

At this event, we celebrated the life and work of Suvash Darnal, a Nepalese democracy and human rights advocate, and former Reagan-Fascell Fellow, who was killed Aug. 15 in a highway accident outside Washington, D.C.

Darnal was highly devoted to the cause of marginalized groups in Nepal, particularly the Dalit community. As founder and managing director of the Samata Foundation, a Kathmandu-based research and advocacy organization that is a NED grantee, Darnal worked to bolster the involvement of Dalits in policy making and to ensure that Nepal’s new constitution includes protections for Dalits and other minorities.

Speaker Biographies

Larry Diamond is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, where he also directs the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He is founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as Senior Consultant to NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies. He is the author and editor of numerous books on democratic development, including The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World.

Brian Joseph is Senior Director for Asia and Global Programs at the National Endowment for Democracy, where he has worked since 1995. From 2005 to 2009 he served as Director of South and Southeast Asia Programs, in which capacity he oversaw millions of dollars worth of grants to hundreds of civil society organizations in the region. He has testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. He formerly served as a volunteer South Asia regional coordinator for Amnesty International USA.

Krishna Sob is Director of Grants and Contract Administration at the International City/County Management Association, in Washington, D.C. An international development practitioner with over 20 years of program management experience, he has worked in about fifteen countries around the world. He was born in the western part of Nepal, and in his youth he organized Dalit communities to protest the caste discrimination that was pervasive there. After completing his master’s degree, he played a critical role in the 1980s in presenting the Dalit movement’s agenda to the Nepalese government on a national stage for the first time. He also oversaw the first research study to assess the situation of Dalits, and has written several articles and stories about the Dalit movement.

Tim Rieser is the Democratic Clerk of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the Department of State and Foreign Operations, where he has worked for over 20 years. He served from 1985 to 1989 as a Legislative Aide to Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Prior to working in the Senate, he practiced law as a public defender in Washington County, Vermont, and spent a year at the Harvard Law School Negotiation Project.

Iain Guest is Executive Director of the Advocacy Project, a DC-based organization that helps marginalized communities around the world to tell their story, claim their rights, and produce social change. He has an extensive background working with civil society in countries in conflict. From 1976 to 1987 he was a Geneva-based correspondent for the Guardian and the International Herald Tribune. He also has written a book on the disappearances in Argentina; served as spokesperson for the UNHCR operation in Cambodia (1992) and the UN humanitarian operation in Haiti (2004); and conducted missions to Rwanda and Bosnia for the UN, USAID, and UNHCR. In addition to his work with the Advocacy Project, he is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he teaches courses on human rights.

Marc F. Plattner is founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy, vice-president for research and studies at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies. He served as NED’s director of program from 1984 to 1989. He is the author of Democracy Without Borders? Global Challenges to Liberal Democracy (2008) and Rousseau’s State of Nature (1979). His articles on a wide range of international and public policy issues have appeared in numerous books and journals. Over the past two decades, he has coedited with Larry Diamond more than twenty books on contemporary issues relating to democracy in the Journal of Democracy book series. 

Book of tributes remembering Suvash Darnal :: PDF

Remarks by Zerxes Spencer :: more

Remarks by Tim Rieser :: more

Remarks by Ted Samuel :: more

Remarks by Sally Blair :: more

Remarks by Brian Joseph :: more

Remarks by Jeffrey Smith :: more

Remarks to the United States Senate by Sen. Patrick Leahy:: MORE