AITM News and Events >> AITAA-N & NEF-CCN jointly organized AIT Day in Nepal on 18-20 July 2013

 

A high level delegation from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) visited Nepal to participate in the AIT Day celebration organized by AIT Alumni Association Nepal (AITAA-N) and Nepal Education Foundation – Consortium of Colleges, Nepal (NEF-CCN).

The AIT delegation was led by Excellency Emeritus Professor Dr. Sahas Bunditkul, Chairperson of the Executive Committee of AIT, and former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, and comprised of Professor Dr. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai, Interim President of AIT, Dr. Naveed Anwar, Executive Director of AIT Consulting, Mr. Karma Rana, Institute Secretary and Mr. Sanjeev Jayasinghe, Head of AIT Alumni Affairs and Fund-raising. Dr. Naveed arrived in Nepal earlier on some AIT consulting work and Karma-ji also arrived on the 17th of July on home leave. The main AIT delegation came to Nepal on Thursday, 18th of July 2013. Mr. Madhusudan Paudel, President of AITAA-N, and Mr. Kiran Dangol, Vice-President of AITAA-N, as well as Prof. Dr. Sriram Bhagut Mathe, Chairperson of Nepal Education Foundation – Consortium of Colleges, Nepal (NEF-CCN) and former Dean of Institute of Engineering (IOE), Tribhuvan University, and Mr. Pramod Pradhan, NEF-CCN Board Member and Past President of AITAA-N, received the AIT delegation in the VIP Lounge of Tribhuvan Internatonal Airport. Excellency Kanthong Unakul, Madam Ambassador of Thailand was also present at the airport to welcome the AIT delegation.
The visit by the AIT delegation was a very productive visit with very friendly and productive courtesy meetings with the President of Nepal, Rt. Hon’ble Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, at 4 pm on 18 July 2013, with Chairman of the Interim Election Government, Rt. Hon’ble Khil Raj Regmi, at 9:30 am, followed by the meeting with the Minister of Foreign and Home Affairs, Hon’ble Madhav Prasad (a distinguished AIT alumnus) at 10:30 am, attended by Vice-Chairman of National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr. Rabindra Shakya, Member-secretary of NPC, Mr. Yuba Raj Bhusal, (also another distinguished AIT alumnus) as well as one Joint Secretary and Under-secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, 19 July 2013.
Apart from discussing Nepal-AIT relationship over more than 4 decades with the first Nepalese, Hon’ble Laxman Pd. Ghimire, graduating in 1972, and active involvement of 1100+ AIT alumni in Nepal and abroad, there was discussion about fostering and nurturing this relationship in future. The Nepalese Government was appreciative of the contribution of human resources development and capacity building by AIT and AIT requested Nepal to continue to send Nepalese students to AIT for their postgraduate studies.

One very important area of discussion in all the meetings was the establishment of AIT satellite Campus in Nepal. In all the three meetings, AIT delegation was told that Nepal was interested in this idea and would consider positively any request from AIT in the form of granting of land and whatever assistance that could be given. In the meetings with the Hon’ble Foreign Minister and later with Member-secretary of NPC, it was agreed that AITAA-N will send a letter to AIT, on the basis of which AIT will write a letter to the Nepalese Government through the Embassy of Nepal in Thailand. It was unto AIT to decide with whom AIT would like to partner in setting up and managing the satellite campus. AIT did mention of its ongoing partnership with NEF-CCN in offering a number of undergraduate and graduate programs on a 2-stage modality with the first stage in Nepal and the second stage in AIT, Thailand.

All the meetings were very fruitful. AIT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ICIMOD at 1:15 pm on Friday, 19 July 2013, followed by a Colloquium on “Role of Higher Education for Green Growth and Sustainable Development – Nepalese and Regional Perspectives” from 2:15 pm to 5:15 pm. Mr. Pramod Pradhan, Board Member of NEF-CCN and former President of AITAA-N, delivered the welcome address, Prof. Dr. Sriram Bhagut Mathe, Chairperson of NEF-CCN, highlighted the theme of the colloquium, the Nepal-AIT partnership, and the ongoing academic collaborative agreements between AIT and NEF-CCN. Mr Yuba Raj Bhusal, Member-secretary of NPC, presented the main paper on the theme from the Nepalese perspective, drawing extensively from the recently approved 13th National Plan, highlighting the targets related to the theme. The Chief Guest, Hon’ble Foreign and Home Minister, Madhav Prasad Ghimire, was called for an urgent cabinet meeting. Because he had to leave immediately, his speech was brought forward. In his speech, he dwelled on the theme of the colloquium as an AIT alumnus and as a policy-maker in the Government. Prof. Emeritus Dr. Ram Manohar Shrestha, Chairperson of the Academic Council of NEF-CCN as well as Prof. Dr. Suresh Raj Sharma, Founder Vice-Chancellor of Kathmandu University, commented on the paper presented on the Nepalese perspective and shared their perspectives and experiences on the theme. Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai, Interim President of AIT, presented the regional perspective on the theme, particularly AIT perspective, and used the last part of his presentation to discuss the concept of AIT satellite campus and opined that Nepal was a strong contender for the first AIT satellite campus. Excellency Dr. Sahas Bunditkul, Chairperson of AIT Executive Committee and former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, commented on the theme and shared his personal insights on the topic. The Chairperson for the event, Mr. Madhusudan Paudel, President of AITAA-N, delivered the concluding remarks. Mr. Kiran Dangol, Vice-President of AITAA-N, delivered the vote of thanks.

The colloquium was followed by a press conference in which the questions focused on Nepal-AIT partnership, the satellite campus, and the reasons why Nepal was a strong contender to host the AIT satellite campus with Sri Lanka another strong contender. In the evening, the AIT delegation interacted with AITAA-N and its members.

In numerous side meetings with NEF-CCN, AIT was informed of the excellent track record of NEF-CCN colleges and the commitment to imparting quality education. AIT delegation was reassured of this commitment when visiting all the three NEF-CCN colleges. AIT delegation was also made aware of how the name AITM evolved. NEF-CCN requested AIT to consider the amendment to the ongoing Agreements to provide a promotional period of 3 years to make the AIT courses more affordable to Nepalese students, who are finding the courses costly, especially due to the appreciation of the US dollar against the Nepalese rupee while the exchange rate between US dollar and Thai Baht has remained relatively stable. The AIT delegation was also made aware of the intensive ad campaigning by Indian Universities and Colleges, where tuition fees are more affordable and more attractive. In the face of this very stiff competition from Indian Universities and Colleges, it was necessary for AIT to provide a promotional period with an affordable tuition fees scheme, so that NEF-CCN could compete with the Indian Universities and colleges and attempt to capture a segment of the higher studies market.

 

The AIT delegation visited the three NEF-CCN colleges, Xavier Academy in Lazimpat in the morning of Friday, 19 July, prior to the courtesy meeting with the Rt. Hon’ble Chairman of the Government of Nepal, and AITM campus and its extensive facilities, including the facilities created for the 2-stage AIT programs, on the morning of Saturday 20 July 2013. During this visit to AITM, the AITM delegation met all the key senior management, important faculty and administrative staff and more importantly the students and faculty involved in the 2-stage AIT programs. The delegation was impressed with the investment made and the facilities, especially the lab facilities, available, which testified to NEF-CCN’s commitment to imparting quality education. The visit to AITM was followed by a visit to LA College and the LA premises, which impressed the AIT delegation. Unfortunately, due to time constraint the AIT delegation could not spend adequate time to inspect the excellent facilities of LA College of Higher Studies. After visiting the LA College and School premises, the high level delegation left for the airport and were seen off by AITAA-N Vice-President, as well as the Chairperson of NEF-CCN and Board Member of NEF-CCN. Excellency Madam Ambassador of Thailand was also present at the airport to bid the delegation members farewell.

On the whole, the visit by the AIT delegation was very productive and the AIT delegation returned to Thailand reassured and very satisfied. NEF-CCN looks forward to the continued active involvement of AITAA-N and positive and proactive support from the Nepalese Government to foster the Nepal-AIT relationship as well as to concretize and implement the AIT satellite campus in Nepal.

AIT Day Celebration 18-19 July 2013