Summerterm in Nepal:
More Than They Bargained for
By Macreena A. Doyle
When a group of faculty and students traveled to Nepal for a 2001 Summerterm
course that would focus on contrasting world views of several issues,
they got perhaps more than they had originally bargained for.
Participants in the course The Personal and the Planetary: An Enlightened
Interface were in Nepal June 1, when a member of that country's royal
family allegedly murdered several other members of the family before
committing suicide, throwing the nation into a crisis. For several days,
the group had to remain in their hotel, under an imposed curfew; the
U.S. State Department issued a warning, recommending no travel to Nepal
for Americans. After a lot of uncertainty, they did leave the country
safely, returning home only a few days ahead of their original schedule.
"There are things you just can't do with a slide show in the classroom,"
explains Catherine Tedford, director of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery
and co-instructor for the course, noting that the group visited a women's
community development program, a Buddhist monastery, sacred sites, handicraft
organizations and more.
1. Associate professor of environmental studies Laura
Fredrickson, second from left, and members of a community forestry user
group in Pharping village, near Kathmandu. Fredrickson and the St. Lawrence
students discussed land use, discovering it is viewed very differently
in Nepal than it is in America. The cloud-draped Himalayas are in the
2. Lydia Brown '03, Fitzwilliam, N.H., right, seemed to be enjoying
hands-on education at Nepal Creative Women's Craft in Kathmandu. She
was learning to make lokta paper from the daphne plant.