Press Repease: Hon. David Kilgour joins CFFN Advisory Board

May 27, 2007, Ottawa, Canada: Hon. David Kilgour has joined the advisory board of Canada Forum for Nepal (CFFN), an organization that is playing a lead role in Canada in promoting critical thinking about the contemporary issues of Nepal. A graduate of the University of Manitoba and the University of Toronto Law School, Hon. Kilgour is a former Cabinet Minister of Canada and one of the longest serving member in Canadian Parliament with a tenure of more than 26 years. Throughout his career, he has been a vocal critic of legislation across party lines and has brought attention to many important national and international issues. He is a relentless defender of human rights and social justice. When Canada Forum for Nepal was working towards mounting international pressure for peace and democracy in Nepal, Hon. Flora MacDonald, former Foreign Minister of Canada, and Hon. David Kilgour had played important role in providing right pointers to escalate the matter, and Hon. Alexa McDonough had helped raise the matter to appropriate ministries. It is only fitting that Hon. Kilgour takes an advisory role in Canada Forum for Nepal.

CFFN held its annual general meeting on Saturday, May 26, 2007, in Ottawa, Canada. This program was held in two sessions. The first session began with a welcome message from a founding member of CFFN, Dr Ram Acharya. First Director of CFFN of Dr Pramod Dhakal presented the progress report, and Treasurer Mr Pradeep Sharma Lohani presented the financial report and the report of the auditor. This assembly elected a new executive body that inducted two more women executives, an auditor, and a prominent face in its advisory board.

Coordinated by Hon. David Kilgour and assisted by Mr Bishnu Karki, the second session of the program began with the dissolution of the old Executive Board and the election of the new board. The assembly elected Dr Pramod Dhakal as the Director, Dr Krishnahari Gautam as the Deputy-Director, Ms Alys Muckart as the Secretary, Mr Pradeep Raj Sharma as the Treasurer, Ms Geeta Thapa, Dr Kalidas Subedi, Dr Nirmala Sharma, and Dr Ram Acharya as the members of the Executive Board. On his welcome speech, Dr Ram Acharya explained that CFFN was formed when people of Nepal were in a collision course with the autocratic regime of King Gyanendra and were trying to find a peaceful and democratic solution to a long running armed conflict. He said, “Although current circumstances of Nepal are significantly different that those of early 2006, there are unlimited possibilities by which we can advance the contemporary causes of Nepal.”

While presenting the annual report, Founding Executive Director, Dr Pramod Dhakal said, “The memorandum of understanding reached between the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in November 22, 2005 gave a clear impetus for people to unite in support of peace and democracy in Nepal, and therefore the birth of CFFN. At the same time and coincidentally, the petition campaign of CFFN, subsequent submission of the CFFN position-paper and the petition to the Government of Canada and the United Nations, the panel discussion on Nepal’s political context with Hon. Flora Macdonald, radio interview, and fund-raising for JanaAndolan Victim’s Fund, came at times that concurred with the mood that was developing in Nepal. These kinds of activities were critical in establishing CFFN as a credible organization.”

“Most of the social and economic contexts of early 2006 have remained unchanged to date and Nepal has not entered into a phase of optimism and tranquility. Yet, Nepal’s political players seem to have stuck in the analysis of thesis and anti-thesis and never coming up with novel solutions that are accommodative to the views of the grassroots people of Nepal. This warrants that CFFN contribute in the endeavors of synthesizing the existing thoughts and in developing new thoughts that can help Nepal find lasting solutions to its chronic social, economic and political problems. However, an acceptable solution most solve Nepal’s problem as they stand today because solutions to hypothetical conditions have no value to the people.” said Dr Pramod Dhakal.

The general body decided that CFFN will continue on its three objectives. Firstly, it will continue promoting critical thinking on the contemporary issues of Nepal and in finding solutions to those problems. A conference on contemporary issues of, and policies for, Nepal in Ottawa, Canada will be held in August 2007 as a part of this endeavor. Secondly, the organization will carry-on its past legacies like Himalayan Heartbeat and other programs to bring awareness of the issues of Nepal and for promoting Nepal in Canada as a country worth engaging with. Thirdly, CFFN will build programs to uplift the education sector of Nepal.

Achievements of CFFN since its inception have been stellar for an organization run by volunteer efforts. We anticipate that CFFN will make even greater contributions in Canada-Nepal cooperation and in the development of new thoughts for the transformation of Nepal in the coming years.

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