Nepali Political Leaders, Facilitators Gather at Notre Dame for Seminar on Peace Negotiations


Nepali leaders from major political parties, including the former Deputy Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, and senior peace process facilitators, participated last week (April 23-27) in an intensive seminar on negotiation approaches and skills at University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

The Nepal Transition to Peace Forum (NTTP) consists of party representatives and civil society facilitators. It was established in 2005, following a decade of civil war in Nepal, to support the peace process and promote confidential dialogue among key stakeholders. The Kroc Institute seminar focused on strategies and approaches to enable participants to improve trust and address key challenges in political transition and the peace process.

Funded by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, the seminar was facilitated by John Paul Lederach, professor of international peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute and a consultant to the NTTP.  Other Kroc Institute faculty involved in the seminar included Madhav Joshi, associate director of the Peace Accords Matrix; Scott Appleby, director of the Kroc Institute; George Lopez, Hesburgh Chair of Peace Studies and an advisor to governments and the UN; and Ernesto Verdeja, assistant professor of political science and peace studies and an expert in rebuilding societies in the aftermath of violence.

Other experts at the seminar included Harold Saunders, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs and President of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue; Bill Ury, co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and author of Getting to Yes and The Third Side; and Peter Burleigh, U.S. foreign service officer and diplomat (retired).

Participants in the seminar and guests of the Kroc Institute were:

Padma Ratna Tuladhar, NTTP Facilitator, Former Minister and independent left leader

Daman Nath Dhungana, NTTP Facilitator, former Speaker of House, senior human rights defender

Bishnu Sapkota, Program Advisor, The Asia Foundation/NTTP

Sajana Maharjan Amatya, Program Officer, The Asia Foundation/NTTP

Arjun Narsingha K.C., Former Minister, Central Committee Member of Nepali Congress

Upendra Yadav, Chairperson of Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum, Nepal, former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister

Jeetendra Narayan Dev, General Secretary of Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum-Loktantrik, member of Special Committee for Integration

Bhim Rawal, former Home Minister and UML central committee member

Khimlal Devkota, former Constituent Assembly member, Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist

Stella Tamang, women's rights activist, member of State Restructuring Commission, NTTP member

Martin Stuerzinger, Senior Advisor for Peacebuilding, Embassy of Switzerland, Kathmandu

“For years, participants in the forum have worked diligently on the peace process, and now face significant challenges as they enter the proposed election period,” said Lederach. “This week showed their deep commitment to assuring a higher quality of transformation for the country. Our time together has permitted an honest exploration of key issues and led to numerous concrete suggestions for how to improve negotiation capacity.”

“We have found the Kroc Institute program imaginative and impressive,” said NTTP Facilitator Daman Dhungana. “It has enriched our experiences and skill in negotiation and peacebuilding in our context, and we have especially benefitted from a deeper understanding of settlements and success stories in other countries after war.”

Contact: John Paul Lederach, 574-631-0934,