Night of Ideas held in Kathmandu

Kathmandu, Jan. 25: Well known personalities in the media and business sectors Thursday viwed that Nepali society was an imaginative and courageous one and that this imagination has been instrumental in overcoming obstacles in initiating both political and entrepreneurial ideas.

Speaking at the worldwide debate event entiled Night of the Ideas, which was organised in Kathmandu by the French Embassy, Nepal Economic Forum (NEF) and the Alliance Française de Katmandou (AFK), the panelists said that Nepali people were waiting for a right leader who could fire their imagination of nation building and help bring their dreams come true.

The Night of Ideas was first hosted all around the world on January 26th, 2017. This year’s theme was “Power to Imagination” and the discussion in Nepal revolved around: “How does imagination drive the evolution of Nepali society in a global context?”

Power to imagination echoes a slogan which popped up in May 1968, when students and other young people in France as in many Western countries stood up against old powers, old ideas, old ways of life.  

Speaking as a panelist, Aayushi KC, founder of Khaalisisi.com, laid out the context of Nepali people being extremely courageous and imaginative in finding ways to overcome hurdles in setting up businesses in the presence of mafias, syndicates and cartels.

"When we have imagination, it creates opportunities in business, and until the government acknowledges innovative business models, it limits and discourages a lot of imagination to translate into a company," she said.

Richard Werly, journalist for Le Monde, Le Temps de Genève, Libération, TV5, cited the example of French elections and emphasized that the political sequence of the world has disrupted from being an ideological society to the current scenario where imagination comes first.

He underscored that French Presdient Emmanuel Macron was imaginative enough to understand that political experience does not matter; People want to elect someone who has real life experience rather than traditional political experience.

"Imagination in Nepal hit its pinnacle in 2006 when dreams of leadership were imagined from the disadvantaged group," said Subina Shrestha, journalist for Al Jazeera and a documentary film maker.

She acknowledged that through social media, discussions that took place in dinner tables and private places, came to an open platform which was scary as technology is catering nationalism and populism to flourish.

We need to go back to the imagination of 2006 on how the most underprivileged can benefit, she emphasised.

Akhilesh Upadhyay, editor in chief of The Kathmandu Post, stressed that Nepal is an imaginative society and the imagination blossomed post 1990s when people were bombarded with information from internet and onset of democracy.

He marked that we should be politically imaginative and underscored that Nepali people are waiting for the right leader who would fire their imagination of nation building.

In his opening remarks, Yves Carmona, ambassador of France to Nepal, said that panel discussions on night of ideas were organized in 150 locations in more than 60 countries on all continents.

The attendees included the heads of mission and representatives of various embassies such as Germany, United Sates of America, Switzerland, Russia, senior officers from the Government of Nepal, researchers, students, and representatives of media.

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