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Building Bridges
Across Borders

Photo by Prista Ratanapruck

Building Bridges Across Borders

While my personal life connects together places that are far apart, a big part of my work has involved building connections across borders to increase the flow of data, knowledge, understanding, trust, collaboration, cooperation, and resources.

Relevant Experiences

  • At Ullens Education Foundation I lead the planning team for the establishment of a new College of Liberal Arts, Science, and Technology on the foundation’s property in Kavre district in Nepal. As part of this process I have assembled an Expert Advisory Board of internationally reknown scholars and experts from around the world. I am also guiding a campus design process that blends international best practices with local experience and know-how.
  • As a member of the South Asia Governing Council of Future Earth, hosted by Divecha Centre for Climate Change at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, India, I have been pushing for inclusiveness and ensuring that all countries in South Asia are fully represented.
Photo credit: Future Earth South Asia
  • Between 2017 and 2019 I was an active participant at Himalayan Consensus Summits, speaking and moderating panels, as well as serving on the Executing Board of the Himalayan Consensus Institute. I helped design summit themes and panels. I sought to create common ground across borders and I pushed for the emergence of a consensus that transcends the founders of the event series.

  • At ICIMOD I worked to build a regional network of atmospheric scientists who become friends, trust each other, share data and knowledge, and build a scientific consensus on key issues of air pollution and climate change that transcends borders and geopolitics. In 2013 I was able to bring to Kathmandu the first international workshop on Atmospheric Composition and the Asian Summer Monsoon (ACAM), serve on the steering committee and start a process that would convene ACAM meetings and training schools in Bangkok (2015), Guangzhou (2017) and Kuala Lumpur (2019). I also organized ICIMOD’s First Regional Atmospheric Science Workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2013, and the Second Regional Atmospheric Science Workshop in Pokhara, Nepal in 2014. In 2017 my team at ICIMOD hosted a workshop and science policy dialogue on air pollution, climate and health in southern Asia and the Hindu Kush Himalaya, bringing together junior and senior scientists and policy makers from ICIMOD member countries, along with Iran, Maldives and Sri Lanka, as well as additional participants from the United States, Japan and Rwanda. We organized sessions to increase not just cross-border connections and understanding between scientists and between policy makers, but also between scientists and policy makers in each country.
Photo by Nabin Baral for ACAM / ICIMOD
  • At the Better Air Quality conferences in Sri Lanka (2014) and Korea (2016) I organized sessions on air quality issues in cities surrounded by mountains, seeking common grounds and promoting sharing between far-apart cities facing similar geographic constraints.
Photo by Subasana Shrestha
  • In 2011, while on the faculty at the University of Virginia, I worked with Shichang Kang, then at the Chinese Academy Institute for Tibetan Plateau Research, to imagine out a series of atmospheric measurement stations across a transect of the Himalayas from Lumbini in southern Nepal through the Kali Gandaki Valley to central Tibet. Many of these locations were subsequently used for atmospheric sampling by researchers working with Shichang. In 2012 I led a trip to Mustang in northern Nepal for scientists from NASA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to explore common scientific interests.
Photo by Eri Saikawa
  • Also starting in 2011, I advised the Government of Rwanda and MIT on the establishment of Africa’s first AGAGE climate observatory. I flew and trekked around Rwanda surveying possible mountain top locations, interviewed the future station chief scientist for PhD admissions, and worked on an integration of the station (and its planned cable car) into broader tourism planning by introducing to Rwanda beed management from Kathmandu.

Relevant Seminars / Lectures / Talks

  • Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, Inaugural Keynote at the International Conference on Aerosol Air Quality, Climate Change and Impact on Water Resources and Livelihoods in the Greater Himalaya [presented remotely], Nainital, India, 14 September 2020. “Aerosols and air quality across the Greater Himalayas: Emerging regional understanding and priorities for the decade ahead” [Available on Youtube:]
  • Kantipur Conclave. Panel presentation. Kathmandu, Nepal, 18 February 2019. “फर्केर के पाइन्छ” [Available on Youtube:]
  • French Embassy in Nepal, Nepal Economic Forum and Alliance Francaise, panelist at debate program, 31 January 2019, Linkfest: Facing our Time [Available on Youtube:]
  • GIZ India. Presentation at NCAP Roundtable, New Delhi, India, 26 November 2018. ”Mexico City, Kathmandu, and the sharing of air quality management experiences with and within South Asia”
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MISTI Seminar, Cambridge, MA, USA, 14 September 2018. “Trans-boundary air pollution and floods in the Hindukush Himalaya: The role of science and technology in promoting regional cooperation
  • National University of Science and Technology, Seminar, Islamabad, Pakistan, 28 February 2018. ”One Atmosphere: Towards Trans-boundary Air Pollution Research and Action in South Asia”
  • 10th South Asia Economic Summit Invited Presentation, Kathmandu, Nepal, 15 November 2017. “One Atmosphere: Regional Cooperation to Address Air Pollution and Climate Change in South Asia”
  • Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Workshop presentation, Pune, India, 10 May 2016, “Winter Fog over the IGP: Overview of the Regional Campaign”
  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, ICIMOD-India Partnership Week. New Delhi, India, 14 December 2015. “Winter Fog over the IGP: Towards a Work Plan for a Regional Study”
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Overview Presentation at Workshop and Science-Policy Dialogue on Air Pollution, Lalitpur, Nepal, 27 November 2017, “Air Pollution, Climate and Health in Southern Asia and the HKH”
  • Sun Yat Sen University, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, invited Seminar, Guangzhou, China, 7 June 2017. “Addressing regional air pollution in the Hindukush Himalaya: ICIMOD’s Atmosphere Initiative”
  • Yale University. Invited Seminar. New Haven, CT, USA, 6 August 2015. “Addressing Atmospheric Issues in the Himalaya”
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Seminar. Cambridge, MA, USA, 27 July 2015. “Atmospheric Research in the Himalaya: The Role of ICIMOD’s Atmosphere Initiative”
  • International Workshop on Atmospheric Composition and the Asian Monsoon, Side Meeting. Bangkok, Thailand, 8 June 2015. “Winter Fog Over the Indo-Gangetic Plains: Towards a Work Plan for a Regional Study.”
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Presentation to visiting Bhutanese Delegation. Khumaltar, Nepal, 1 April 2015. “The Atmosphere Initiative and its activities in Bhutan”
  • Indian Institute of Science, Seminar. Bangalore, India, 25 November 2014. “ICIMOD’s Atmosphere Initiative: An Overview”
  • Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Invited Seminar. Trivandrum, India, 24 November 2014. “ICIMOD’s Atmosphere Initiative: An Overview”
Photo credit: Space Physics Laboratory
  • Better Air Quality Conference, Opening Presentation at Cities & Mountains Session. Colombo, Sri Lanka, 19 November 2014. “Cities & Mountains: Processes, Challenges, Interconnections and Opportunities”
  • ICIMOD Second Annual Regional Atmospheric Science Workshop, Opening Presentation. Pokhara, Nepal, 7 June 2014. “Second Annual Regional Atmospheric Science Workshop & ICIMOD’s Atmosphere Initiative”
  • American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting. Oral Presentation. San Francisco, CA, USA. 9 December 2013. “Improving SLCF Science in the Himalayan Region: ICIMOD’s Atmosphere Initiative.”
  • UNFCCC COP-19 Cryosphere Day, Invited Presentation. Warsaw, Poland, 17 November 2013, “Addressing challenges in the Himalaya: ICIMOD’s Regional Programme on Cryosphere and Atmosphere”
  • International Workshop on Atmospheric Composition and the Asian Summer Monsoon (ACAM), Oral Presentation, Kathmandu, Nepal, 11 June 2013. “Pollution transport to the Tibetan Plateau by up-valley winds”
  • Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Seminar. Beijing, China, 24 June 2010. “Air Pollution over the South Slopes of the Himalaya”
  • Institute for Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Seminar. Beijing, China, 23 June 2010. “Air Pollution over the South Slopes of the Himalaya”
  • Peking University College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Seminar. Beijing, China, 22 June 2011. “Air Pollution over the South Slopes of the Himalaya”

Relevant Publications