The autumn school ran for five days. The first day focused on democracy building. While Prof. Meena Vaidya Malla spoke on the elements and the values of democracy, Prof. Gehendra Malla highlighted the importance of civic education in creating civic values, civic dispensation, and civic skills.
On the second day, building upon the discussions from the first day, Hon. Kashi Raj Dahal spoke about the concepts and practices of federalism and dispelled many uncertainties related to this new kind of governance in Nepal. “Practice of federalism should be based on the constitutionally enshrined principle of cooperativeness, coexistence, and coordination”, stressed Hon. Dahal.
Focusing on conflicts and respective non-violent intervention strategies, Mr. Tulasi Nepal involved participants in-group exercises to analyze the underlying problems, map the stakeholders and sketch out possible solutions, on the third day.
Mr. Sakar Pudasaini, Mr. Uttam Pudasaini, Ms. Kiran Karki and Mr. Dev Raj Bharadwaj shared their experiences and learnings as social entrepreneurs on the fourth day. Later, Mr. Tom Pinkall explained valued -based leadership and engaged participants individually and in a group to reflect on their own understanding of the leadership role. Mr. Pinkall said leadership is about articulating the visions, embodying the values, and creating the environment within which things could be accomplished successfully.
Facilitated by the participants themselves, evening saw a lively debate with political leaders on the role of youth in federalism. The panelists were Ms. Bhumika Shrestha (Blue Diamond Society), Ms. Sunita Baral (Nepal Communist Party), Mr. Govinda Narayan (Bibeksheel Sajha), Mr. Tanka Selling (Federal Socialist Forum Nepal), and Mr. Guru Raj Ghimire (Nepali Congress).
On the final day, Ms. Annette Schlicht, Resident Representative of FES Nepal, moderated a discussion to reflect on the major learnings of the Autumn School in a participatory approach. The discussion centered around two questions: what are the challenges of young political leaders in Nepal, and what can young political leaders do to promote democracy? In a nutshell, participants concluded that in many occasions, they miss the space within their own organizations to articulate their interests properly but at the same time they, too, have not been able to come together.
Autumn School, first of its kind organized by FES Nepal, provided an important learning opportunity in empowering young leaders and in exchanging ideas among themselves and helping them in articulating their visions as leaders within their own institutions.