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Conflict in Nepal: Political to Psychosocial Impacts

October 20th, 2015
1:00 PM


Tuesday, October 20

12:00 - 1:15 p.m.

Forum for Scholars and Publics, 011 Old Chem

Light lunch served

After more than seven years of negotiations which followed decades of violent conflict, Nepal recently adopted a new constitution. Questions remain, however. How will advocates of a religious state respond to the constitution's commitment to Nepal as a secular state? How will ethnic alliances react to new provinicial boundaries? What will be the lingering psychosocial effects of the many years of violence and political and economic chaos endured by Nepal's people? 

Two researchers from the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, Suraj Koirala and Nagendra Prasad Luitel, join Duke faculty member Brandon Kohrt of the Global Health Institute (DGHI), and DGHI Research Associate Sauharda Rai to discuss the current constitutional conflict in Nepal and its effect on mental health.

(header image credit: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)

Suraj Koirala

Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Nepal

Suraj Koirala is the Executive Manager of Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, a leading psychosocial/mental health NGO in Nepal that works in research, intervention, training and advocacy. The organization has a broad geographical coverage in Nepal and is working closely with several government and international institutions, including the Duke Global Health Institute for mental health promotion and system development. Mr. Koirala has worked extensively in mental health promotion in conflict-affected communities that include child soldiers, refugees and IDP's (Internally Displaced People). He has a Master's degree in Population Studies from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. 

Nagendra Prasad Luitel

Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Nepal

Mr. Nagendra Prasad Luitel is the Head of Research at Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, a leading psychosocial and mental health organization that aims to promote the psychosocial well-being and mental health of children, families and especially vulnerable communities in Nepal. Mr. Luitel holds a Master's degree in Population Studies from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, researching the Integration of Mental Health within the Primary Health Care System in post-conflict Nepal. Mr. Luitel has co-led a number of large mental health research programs over the past years including PRIME. He has published more than 15 papers on mental health in peer-reviewed journals.

Sauharda Rai

Duke Global Health Institute

Sauharda Rai works at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) as a Research Associate, coordinating mental health research in Nepal. Prior to joining DGHI, he was working in Nepal (Including TPO Nepal) with vulnerable populations affected by the conflict. Mr. Rai has traveled extensively in rural parts of Nepal, witnessing the effects of the decades-long Maoist conflict. He has been closely following the recent political processes in Nepal and is interested in the social psychology of conflict-affected communities with a particular focus in children and youth. 

Brandon Kohrt

Duke University

Brandon Kohrt is assistant professor of Psychiatry, Global Health, and Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He conducts global mental health research focusing on populations affected by war-related trauma and chronic stressors of poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to healthcare and education. He has worked in Nepal for 16 years using a biocultural developmental perspective integrating epidemiology, cultural anthropology, ethnopsychology, and neuroendocrinology. Since 2000, he has conducted a prospective study of adults in rural Nepal examining the effects of political trauma, ethnic discrimination, gender-based violence, and poverty on mental health. With Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, he designed and evaluated psychosocial reintegration packages for child soldiers in Nepal. Dr. Kohrt has collaborated on numerous documentary films about human rights and global health including Returned: Child Soldiers of Nepal’s Maoist Army.