by | Feb 6, 2024

Successful Meet and Greet Featuring VA Senator Ghazala Hashmi and Community Leaders

The Meet and Greet on February 3rd at the Burke Library concluded successfully, with notable attendance from Virginia Senator Ghazala Hashmi. Various speakers shared their stories, providing valuable insights into the Nepali community for the senator.

Adrian Ashish Pokharel, a US Congressional candidate for Virginia’s 10th district, briefly outlined his background and reasons for running for Congress.

Kumar Raj Kharel, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Nepal, expressed gratitude for the ANS’s support to the Embassy and highlighted the organization’s diverse contributions. He also acknowledged and appreciated the Peace Corps’ role in Nepal through Friends of Nepal.

Yugraj Pandey, Economic Counselor at the Embassy of Nepal, introduced himself and acknowledged the services of Peace Corps volunteers in Nepal.

Keith Federman, leader of Bridges of Kindness, discussed his recent trip to Nepal on February 16, 2024, and the impact of his work on beneficiaries.

Sunita Bhandari, founder of Upability Foundation, introduced her foundation and discussed its impactful services with limited resources. She invited attendees to a fundraising event on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

Suman Timsina, the Executive Director of the International Development Institute (IDI), shared recent capacity-building and training initiatives in Nepal in partnership with the World Bank. He also mentioned IDI’s focus on educational leadership programs and a 10-year strategic plan for vocational education in Nepal.

Richard Sellers, Secretary at Friends of Nepal, and 1st Vice President at the ANS, provided information about upcoming primary elections, voting centers, and distributed materials on becoming an election day worker. He encouraged active participation in election activities.

Dr. Thakur Pudasaini, former ANS President, discussed his dissertation topic, “Factors that influence online business in Nepal,” and the challenges faced during data collection for his research.

Professor Gopi Uprety, author of “Ecosociocentrism: The Earth First Paradigm for Sustainable Living,” summarized the contents of his book and shared a YouTube link.

Pradip Dhakal, a third-term City Council member and Mayoral candidate of the Town of Herndon, discussed the Nepali community’s engagement with mainstream culture and politics. He also highlighted progress on Virginia House resolution HB42, recognizing April 15 as Nepali American Heritage Day annually.

Kiran “Ron” Sitoula, Vice Mayor of the Town of Indian Head MD, acknowledged ANS’s work, introduced the town he serves, and encouraged contributions to candidates, irrespective of Nepali or non-Nepali affiliation.

Prabha Bhattarai Deuja, former ANS President, discussed the activities of the Tender Hearts Foundation and its partnership with Fairfax County Public Library to make Nepali books available. She also emphasized the foundation’s engagement with the younger Nepali population.

Krishna Sharma introduced the Nepali community in the DC Metro area, providing insights into Nepali immigrants’ social activities and the involvement of young children, with Virginia Senator Ghazala Hashmi.

Senator Hashmi shared her journey from India to the US and her transition from a teaching career to political office. She highlighted being the first South Asian to enter the Virginia Senate and discussed the growth of the AAPI Caucus in the Virginia General Assembly from 5 to 8 members since the November 2023 election, among other things.

Dr. Sudhir Khanal, Regional Adviser – Accelerated Disease Control at WHO in New Delhi, discussed progress in several countries, including Nepal, and shared thoughts on how Nepali expatriates can contribute to the health sector by engaging with local governments in Nepal.

Tony Nguyen, President of the Vietnam US Chamber of Commerce, discussed the upcoming Asian America Festival at Dulles Expo in Chantilly VA, inviting everyone to participate in various ways.

Following the formal discussion, everyone transitioned into the social hour, trying to follow up with each other.

The event’s photos can be viewed on the ANS Facebook Page, and the videos are posted in the ANS YouTube Channel.

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