From his childhood at St Xavier’s School in Kathmandu to college at the Kuban State Technological University in Russia where he did his science Masters, Manoj lived like an explorer—of life and places.
He went on to attend Universität Dortmund in Germany to do a post-graduate in Regional Development Planning and Management. He also spent time at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard where he did a degree in leadership.
My last meeting with Manoj was in September 2014 at his office in New York in the company of our acquaintance Man Bahadur Gurung, the erstwhile Chair of the Conservation Area Management Committee of Parche in Kaski. The Gurung community from Sikles had just won the internationally renowned UNDP Equator Prize for nature conservation and sustainable local development.
We presented Manoj with the coffee table book, Our Village, Our Life: Sikles in Focus, by Sara Parker. As he flipped through the pages of the book, he said: “I really miss our mountains and plains, our new forests, and the hopes and potentials of rural Nepal.”
Hum Gurung, PhD, is Regional Project Manager for BirdLife International-led Forest Governance in Southeast Asia and Pacific.