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Nepali ambassador visits ASU to discuss environmental collaborations

April 10, 2013

Shankar P. Sharma, Nepal’s Ambassador to the United States, visited Arizona State University – including the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) – on April 8 to learn about ASU’s programs on clean energy, food security and the environment, and to discuss possible collaboration between the college and Nepal in these sectors.

Sharma toured CTI’s energy-related laboratories, including the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI), the Photovoltaic Reliability Lab and the Fuel Cell Lab, and met with faculty, administrators and staff to understand the work CTI does in these fields. The visit laid the foundation for ASU officials and Ambassador Sharma to discuss and explore opportunities to collaborate with Nepali officials on training and research related to renewable energy, food security and climate change mitigation in Nepal. 

“My visit to ASU and the insight provided by its researchers and academics has further helped me to grasp the cutting-edge research ASU is doing in renewable energy, food security and climate change,” said Sharma. “I am looking forward to potential opportunities for partnership between ASU and the Nepali governmental and other agencies in Nepal interested in pursuing our clean energy and food security missions.”

A potential partnership between ASU and Nepal could emulate the recent partnership between the ASU-led Vocational Training and Education for Clean Energy (VOCTEC) and the vocational institutions in the Pacific Islands. With assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), VOCTEC recently developed and implemented a clean energy training program for the local communities in the Pacific Islands. The training addressed the need for creating a sustainable pipeline of solar photovoltaic (PV) technicians and building human capacity within the Pacific region through its ‘train the trainer’ approach, giving operators and technicians the support system and resources to continue to educate and manage future operators and technicians. The VOCTEC program continues to implement its two-year long training program in the Pacific.

“Our faculty excels in clean energy research,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean at CTI. “Partnering with a country like Nepal that has the same mission to create a more sustainable environment, especially as it relates to renewable energy and food security, supports our mission to have a real-world impact locally and globally.”

James O’Brien, ASU’s vice president and chief of staff at the office of the president, said the meeting with Sharma also opens the door for potential collaboration in support of Nepal’s higher education programs.

“ASU strives to increase access to its educational resources,” said O’Brien. “Building partnerships with international government agencies and educational institutions gives us an opportunity to leverage our research and resources as well as cultivate future opportunities with new partners around the world.”

During his visit, Sharma met with faculty and senior administrators from CTI, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, Global Engagement and the ASU President’s Office. He also interacted with some ASU faculty and students working in different research projects in Nepal.

“ASU is pleased to host this visit by Ambassador Sharma,” said Stephen Feinson, assistant vice president of global engagement at ASU. “ASU is already involved in several projects in Nepal, and we look forward to exploring new areas of collaboration between the university and Nepali government and private-sector agencies and nonprofits.”