Bhutanese-Nepalese to Speak About Resettlement in CNY

February 4, 2011

Bhutanese-Nepalese to Speak About Resettlement in Central New York

January 28, 2011

Members of the Bhutanese-Nepal community who’ve resettled in Syracuse as the result of a decades-long civil conflict with the Bhutan government, will share their stories of struggles and success with the Syracuse community on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m. in 060 Eggers Hall, the Global Collaboratory at Syracuse University.

The forum will create opportunities for Scholarship in Action and University community members to be involved in social justice in the community. Hari Adikhari, Bhutanese-Nepalese refugee community leader and case manager for Catholic Charities, will be among the speakers.

A 1985 civil conflict between Bhutan’s government and Nepalese citizens resulted in Bhutan government officials barring the Nepali language and culture from being recognized in schools, while also stripping Nepalese of their Bhutanese citizenship. By 1990, 120,000 Nepalese refugees were forced to settle in seven refugee camps. In 2008, the United Nations allowed the refugees to resettle in eight countries, including the United States. The U.S. government agreed to resettle 60,000 refugees, with nearly 800 Bhutanese-Nepali refugees currently living in Syracuse. An additional 150-200 are expected to resettle in Syracuse by the end of October.

SU is inviting the Bhutanese-Nepalese refugees to share the challenges faced in relocating to the North Side of Syracuse. Those challenges include being victims of violence and crime, language barriers, culture adjustment and efforts to build a community center that would provide English as a second language classes, mentorship for refugee children and cultural programs. Additionally, the forum will highlight the actions of the Bhutanese government and other countries in the region in response to the refugees’ demands.

The South Asia Center is one of five area studies programs that are part of the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, located within the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. The center is funded by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Resource Center with a mission to educate local communities about South Asia (the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives), as well as support research on these countries at the University.