Prabal Gurung


Gurung was born in Singapore and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. After beginning his design career in New Delhi he moved to New York to finish his studies at Parsons The New School for Design. Upon graduating, Gurung spent two years with Cynthia Rowley’s design and production teams. Soon after, he was appointed design director at the iconic Bill Blass, a post he held for five years until launching his own collection, PRABAL GURUNG.

A focus on quality and innovation has placed Gurung at the forefront of American fashion with designs worn by leading ladies including First Lady Michelle Obama and The Duchess of Cambridge, to name a few. In 2010 he was the recipient of the Ecco Domani Fashion Fund Award. In 2011 Gurung was honored as one of USA Network’s Character Approved Award recipients, named goodwill ambassador of Maiti Nepal, a finalist of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award and was the recipient of the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear. Prabal Gurung was the official 2013 designer collaborator for Target and in November 2014 will launch a product collaboration with MAC Cosmetics. Most recently, Gurung launched footwear on the Spring 2015 runway.

S.D. Muni


Professor S.D. Muni was India’s Special Envoy to Southeast Asian countries on UN Security Council Reforms (2005-06) and served as India’s Ambassador to Lao PDR (1997-1999). In 2005, the Sri Lankan President bestowed on him ‘Sri Lanka Ratna’, the highest Sri Lankan civilian honour for a non-national. He superannuated from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India in 2006 after 33 years of service. In the University he held the prestigious Appadorai Chair of International Relations and Area Studies.

He is a member of India’s University Grants Commission’s Standing Committee on Area Studies, and a Visitor’s nominee on the faculty selection board in Social Sciences of the Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi. He was the founder Editor of Indian Foreign Affairs Journal (2005-2008), (Cambridge University Press, India) and South Asia Journal (1990-94) (Sage India). He is also affiliated with the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, and Monash Asia Institute, Melbourne, as a Fellow. He served Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, as Director of Research (2006-2007).

A founder Executive Member of the Regional Centre of Strategic Studies, Colombo, Prof. Muni was nominated to India’s first National Security Advisory Board in 1990-91. He has been an Executive member of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Prof. Muni has had visiting assignments for teaching/research in the academic institutions/universities of US, UK, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Australia, Japan and Singapore. He addressed the UN Ad hoc Committee on Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace at Socci (then USSR) in 1985.

Deepak Rauniyar


Deepak Rauniyar is a Berlinale Talent Campus and TIFF Talent Lab alumnus. His feature-length debut, ‘Highway’ (2012) had its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, and was first Nepali film ever to screen at a major international festival. Currently in progress, ‘White Sun’, his second feature, has been selected for L’Atelier at the Festival de Cannes and Boost! in Rotterdam, and awarded funding from the Hubert Bals Fund, Doha & Tribeca Film Institutes.

A fellow of Berlinale Talents [2012], TIFF Talent Lab [2013], Asian Cultural Council [2013] and Rotterdam Lab [2014], Deepak Rauniyar, 35, has worked as a senior writer/ producer for the BBC World Service Trust in Nepal, where he wrote and directed several award-winning radio dramas.

His short film CHAUKAITH (THRESHOLD) screened internationally and was awarded a Special Jury prize at the Ahmedabad International Film Festival and the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival.
His 2012 feature film debut, HIGHWAY, which premiered at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, was the first Nepali film ever to screen at a major international festival. Marking this event, BBC wrote, “It has taken nearly 50 years for a Nepali film to be shown at a major global film festival, for an industry which produces over 80 films a year.” HIGHWAY provoked a tumultuous response with its realistic characters and their taboo-shrouded issues.

Manjushree Thapa


Manjushree Thapa was born in Kathmandu in 1968, and she grew up in Nepal, Canada, and the United States. She was trained as a photographer at the Rhode Island School of Design, and later studied creative writing as a Fulbright fellow at the University of Washington. She is the author of two novels, The Tutor of History and Seasons of Flight, and a short-story collection, Tilled Earth.

Her nonfiction books include Forget Kathmandu, on Nepal’s political upheavals, as well as a biography, A Boy from Siklis: The Life and Times of Chandra Gurung and The Lives We Have Lost, a collection of her essays on Nepal’s Maoist insurgency and peace process. Her stories have appeared in literary magazines in the US, and her essays have appeared in the New York Times, the London Review of Books, and in the print media in South Asia. She also translates Nepali literature into English, some of her translations can be found in The Country is Yours: Contemporary Nepali Literature. She lives in Kathmandu and Toronto.

Luna Ranjit


Luna has guided Adhikaar’s programs, research, policy advocacy, and partnerships since its inception in 2005. Regarded as an expert on emerging immigrant communities, Luna has been quoted and featured in print and broadcast media on the issues related to data disaggregation, language access, and workers’ rights. Her ground-breaking work has been recognized by many community organizations and elected officials. Asia Society named her to their Class of 2013 Young Leaders, a prestigious group of emerging leaders under the age of 40 in fields including government, business, policy, education, and arts. Luna holds a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, and a master’s degree in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. She currently lives in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Ian Martin


Ian Martin is Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, having previously served as Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post-Conflict Planning for Libya.

He has worked for the United Nations in several other capacities, including as Head of the Headquarters Board of Inquiry into certain incidents in the Gaza Strip (2009), Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal (2006-09), Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste (2006), Representative in Nepal of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2005-6), Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (2000-01), Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the East Timor Popular Consultation (1999), Special Adviser to the High Commissioner for Human Rights (1998), Chief of the UN Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda (1995-96), and Director for Human Rights of the International Civilian Mission in Haiti (1993 and 1994-95).

 Prashant Jha


Prashant Jha is the author of Battles of the New Republic – A Contemporary History of Nepal, a personal reportage based account of war and peace in his country over the past two decades. Jha is also a journalist, currently working as Associate Editor for Hindustan Times in Delhi. He is a Visiting Fellow this spring at the Centre for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania.

Jim Simons


Jim Simons is President of the Nick Simons Foundation, a private family foundation formed in 2005 to honor the life of Nick Simons and his love of Nepal. The mission of the Foundation is to improve health and medical care in Nepal, especially for rural and remote populations, and to perpetuate Nick’s interest in developing countries. Jim is also chairman of the Simons Foundation and board chair and founder of Renaissance Technologies. Prior to his financial career, Simons was chairman of the mathematics department at Stony Brook University, taught mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, and was a cryptanalyst at the Institute for Defense Analyses. Simons holds a B.S. from MIT and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1976, he won the Veblen Prize of the American Mathematics Society for his work in geometry. He is a trustee of the Stony Brook Foundation, Rockefeller University, MIT, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, New York Genome Center and the Institute for Advanced Study, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Anthony Tassi

Anthony Pic 2

Anthony Tassi is Executive Director of Literacy Partners, a local NGO empowering immigrant parents through education. Anthony was previously a health policy advisor to US Senator Edward M. Kennedy and a senior health and education advisor to NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg. He first visited Nepal in 1995 and has been involved ever since.