George Varughese

Nepal elections 

Nepal Embarks on New Political Course

November 29, 2017


Millions of Nepalis on Sunday cast their votes in the first of two-phase provincial and federal elections which will conclude on December 7. Thousands of candidates from more than 90 parties are competing for 275 seats in the new federal parliament and 550 seats in seven provincial assemblies across the country. A police personnel guards a polling… Read more

Nepal local elections 

Peaceful Municipal Elections Show That Nepal Is Not as Divided at the Local Level

November 1, 2017


Below is an excerpt from an interview with The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Nepal, George Varughese, first published by World Politics Review. In mid-September, Nepal closed the chapter on its first local elections in two decades, as the third phase of voting for municipal bodies took place in restive southern Nepal. The vote was fre… Read more

Nepal local elections 

From Subjects to Citizens: Reconnecting Nepalis with a Democratic Political Process

May 10, 2017


Next week, Nepalis will vote in local elections for the first time in 20 years. The first phase of elections will be held on May 14 in federal provinces 3, 4, and 6; the second phase is scheduled for June 14 in provinces 1, 2, 5, and 7. Election fever has certainly gripped the country and there is much excitement about having elected representative… Read more

Nepal elections 

Why Nepal’s Upcoming Local Elections Matter More than Ever

April 26, 2017


On May 14, Nepalis will go to elections for newly-delineated local (village and municipal) governments. These comprise one of three constitutionally mandated elections to be completed by January 2018. At the time they were announced, the news of elections at the local level brought mixed reactions from those who wish for some si… Read more


The Nepali Times: NT Studio with George Varughese

April 19, 2017

Media Coverage

The Nepali Times interviews The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese on the country’s upcoming local elections. 


Asia Foundation’s George Varughese Speaks on Politically-Informed Development Approaches at University of Tennessee

April 7, 2017


On March 27, The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese gave a lecture at the Howard Baker Center at the University of Tennessee, titled Politically-Informed Approaches in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Environments: Key Challenges from Nepal and Afghanistan. The talk was the part of the Center’s International Security Di… Read more


World Politics Review: Ethnic Tensions Rise in Nepal Ahead of Long-Awaited Local Elections

April 6, 2017

Media Coverage

World Politics Review quotes The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese:  The polls could also create a political environment that is accountable to the people. Since Maoists and political parties inked a peace agreement in 2006 and ousted the monarchy in 2008, Nepali politics has been marked by instability, persona… Read more


The Diplomat: Local Elections: The Coming Test for Nepal’s Constitution

March 21, 2017

Media Coverage

The Diplomat quotes The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese: “These elections are historic because they have the real potential to reduce political marginalization for the first time in Nepal and to return government to all of its people,” said Dr. George Varughese, the Nepal Country Representative for the Asia Founda… Read more

Commuters travel through one of New Delhi's 146 metro stations. 

Eye on South Asia: Challenges to Development and Democracy

Berkeley, Wednesday, March 22, 2017


5:00 pm – 7:00 pm University of California Berkeley Faculty Club, Seaborg Room Home to 1.7 billion people, South Asia was the world’s fastest growing economic region in 2016, and is expected to hold this spot in 2017. However, South Asian countries continue to face daunting challenges of persistent poverty, widening inequality, and growing instabil… Read more

Nepal Government Distribution of Earthquake Reconstruction Cash Grants for Private Houses report thumbnail 

Agence France-Presse: Debt traps threaten Nepal quake victims

January 6, 2017

Media Coverage

Agence France-Presse (AFP) quotes The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese: “There is a movement towards what we call a debt trap because people who have not been able to get on with their livelihood, with rebuilding homes or with income generation, have borrowed against future earnings,” said George Varughese, the Asi… Read more


Commemorating the Life of Former Nepali Minister Madhav Ghimire

October 5, 2016


Madhav Ghimire Madhav Ghimire was a man of substance and grace, and we must remember him by celebrating a life devoted to Nepal. About 20 years ago, while researching the impact of foreign aid on local collective action in Nepal, a trusted friend suggested I meet a civil servant who could be relied upon to be balanced and pragmatic about Nepal’s co… Read more


A Pyrrhic Victory and Ominous Sign for Politics in Nepal

August 10, 2016


Last week, Nepal elected Pushpa Kamal Dahal (aka Prachanda, the “fearsome one”) as the country’s 24th prime minister in 25 years. The former rebel chief and chairman of the CPN-Maoist Center (MC) was sworn in to govern for a whopping nine months. Following his turn, Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba is already lined up to govern as prime mi… Read more


Deutsche Welle: Nepal elects former Maoist chief as prime minister

August 5, 2016

Media Coverage

Deutsche Welle features insights from The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese on the country’s new prime minister: But George Varughese, Nepal country representative for The Asia Foundation, believes the country’s prospects for stability will improve with Dahal in power. “His pragmatism is going to help diffuse the te… Read more


APPS Policy Forum: Just Govern!

April 20, 2016

Media Coverage

The APPS Policy Forum (an initiative of the Asia and the Pacific Policy Society) publishes a piece by The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative George Varughese: As the anniversary of 2015 Nepal earthquakes approaches, it is worth reflecting on the state of governance in Nepal. The status of relief for quake survivors ought to be of considerable… Read more


Asia Foundation Experts Speak at World Bank Fragility Forum

Washington, DC, March 3, 2016


This week, Asia Foundation experts from Nepal, the Philippines, and Thailand joined over 600 participants for the World Bank Group’s Fragility, Conflict and Violence Forum 2016 in Washington, DC to focus on the sustainable development agenda in a world affected by conflict and violence. The Asia Foundation’s Regional Director of Conflict and Develo… Read more


Deutsche Welle Features Analysis from George Varughese on Nepal-India Relations

February 19, 2016

Media Coverage

Deutsche Welle interviews The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese on the country’s relations with India ahead of the Nepali prime minister’s visit. Read more: “Nepali PM travels to India to repair strained ties.”


Perilous Progress in Nepal

February 3, 2016


Following seven years of fitful birthing Nepal’s new constitution was promulgated in September 2015, and instantly became the epicentre of ongoing political turmoil that threatens to undermine progress on many fronts in the country. The culmination of a protracted political transition since the comprehensive peace accord of 2006, the new constitution attempts…


APPS Policy Forum Publishes Opinion Piece by George Varughese on Nepal’s New Constitution

January 13, 2016

Media Coverage

The APPS Policy Forum (an initiative of the Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University) features an opinion piece by The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese on progress in Nepal and the country’s new constitution. Read more: “Perilous progress in Nepal.”


Deutsche Welle Speaks to George Varughese on Nepal’s New Constitution

September 21, 2015

Media Coverage

Deutsche Welle interviews The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese on Nepal’s newly adopted constitution. Read more: “Will Nepal’s new constitution bring political stability?”


Asia Foundation’s George Varughese to Serve as Senior Visiting Scholar

San Francisco, August 31, 2015


The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese has been invited by the University of Wyoming to serve as Visiting Professor and 2015-16 Senior Scholar in the University’s Global and Area Studies program. The distinguished position has previously been held by Marc Wall, former US Ambassador to Chad, international journalist E… Read more

A man sits for a smoke in front of green rice fields 

Nepal: The Quake and the Constitution

June 24, 2015


Two months have passed since Nepal was rocked by a series of devastating earthquakes. The tremors continue, but it appears that the earth is finally settling and some respite may be had – for a short while at least, until the monsoon rains bring their annual havoc of landslides and floods, which are certain to be far worse this year…


Los Angeles Times Features George Varughese Insights on Nepal’s Disaster Preparedness

May 5, 2015

Media Coverage

The Los Angeles Times interviews The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese on the government response to the devastating earthquake: “The people’s skepticism is not just based on the first few days’ performance. It’s based on a track record of incapability and underperformance.” Read more: “Nepal quake victims fear gove… Read more


In Quake’s Wake, the Price of Political Disarray

April 29, 2015


The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday morning, April 25, and the 6.5 aftershock the following day, left frightened residents here in Kathmandu huddled in the rain in streets blocked with rubble and shaken by powerful tremors that made those structures still standing too dangerous to enter. Deaths are now estimated at over 5,500, a number that will continue to climb as emergency workers dig through collapsed buildings and push into the most affected districts of Dhading, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, and Sindhupalchok.


Reuters: George Varughese on Nepal’s Political Instability and Disaster Preparedness

April 28, 2015

Media Coverage

Reuters interviews The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese on government response to the devastating earthquake: “years of political instability had distracted the administration and left it under-prepared to deal with humanitarian crises in the disaster-prone country.” Read more: “Nepalis rue slow government response… Read more


Deutsche Welle Speaks to George Varughese on the Devastating Nepal Earthquake

April 26, 2015

Media Coverage

Deutsche Welle interviews The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese, who witnessed the powerful and devestating Nepal earthquake in the capital city of Kathmandu. Read more: “‘Fear and shock’ in Nepal following massive earthquake.”


The Stubborn Persistence of Gender Inequality

April 1, 2015


Despite the swelling mantra of women’s empowerment, and the proliferation of gender-sensitive approaches in aid program descriptions, the snail-like advancement of women in developing countries continues to indict our best efforts. Microfinance programs, reserved seats for women in parliament, and a raft of…


Politicking in Nepal: It’s Not Just About the Constitution

January 21, 2015


January 22 marks the deadline for a new constitution in Nepal, as committed to by all political parties participating in the 2013 Constituent Assembly (CA) elections. But on Tuesday of this week, thousands of police were deployed and schools and shops were shut down in the capital…


The Nepali Times Features Opinion Piece by George Varughese

January 16, 2015

Media Coverage

The Nepali Times features an opinion piece by The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese on equity and justice for women. Read more: “From femininity to masculinity.”


Academics, Practitioners, and Donors: Whose Evidence Counts and For What?

December 10, 2014


There is a difficult tension in the evidence-seeking agenda: on the one hand, donors seek short-term, project-related outcomes to support claims about their impact on a grand scale in a society; on the other hand, society-level impact does not seem measurable…


Civic Complacency in Political Accountability Holds Nepal Back

January 22, 2014


The November 2013 Constituent Assembly (CA) elections in Nepal revealed very strong anti-incumbency sentiments among the voting public. So too did the 2008 CA elections, when Nepali voters turned to the newly above-ground Maoists (CPN-M), rejecting the more “seasoned” parties…


Using Better Evidence to Reform Nepal’s Hydropower Policy

December 11, 2013


Using evidence for planning and evaluation of policies and development interventions considerably enhances the capacity of organizations working for socioeconomic change of state and society, and their change interventions…


Nepal Holds Elections: Now on to the Constitution

November 20, 2013


This week, Nepal once again showed the world that its people believe in a peaceful, democratic means to select those who govern them. On a cold election-day morning on November 19, an estimated 70 percent of Nepalis went to the polls – hundreds lined up well before stations had even opened…


Asia Foundation’s George Varughese Speaks with Channel NewsAsia on Nepal Elections

November 19, 2013

Media Coverage

The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Nepal George Varughese speaks with Channel NewsAsia presenter Steve Lai on key issues for voters in Nepal’s November 19 general elections. View the interview here: “Election day bomb in Nepal capital injures 3.”


Debating Amnesty and Reconciliation in Nepal

June 12, 2013


The last several weeks have witnessed the unfolding of an unfortunate chain of events in Nepal with regard to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The commitment to form a TRC was part of the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Accord, which ended a decade-long conflict between State and Maoist forces.


New Idea of Politics Needed For a Stable Nepal

May 1, 2013


Nepal has been in a state of transition since 1950. In the ensuing years, a relatively brief, decade-long romance with democracy ended in three decades of single-party, autocratic rule. Since the restoration of multiparty, democratic politics just over 20 years ago, we have had 20 prime ministers…

several people sit together with troubled expressions 

Stateless in New Nepal: Inclusion without Citizenship is Impossible

May 23, 2012


Last week, Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) members drafted citizenship provisions in the country’s long-awaited constitution, causing much consternation and almost guaranteeing that approximately 2.1 million persons out of an estimated population of nearly 30 million will remain stateless. The specific draft provision that is deeply problematic and regressive refers to how a child may obtain citizenship by descent in the new Nepal: a child would be granted Nepali citizenship if both mother and father prove they are Nepali citizens.


VOA News: George Varughese Highlights Nepal’s Historic Deal

November 2, 2011

Media Coverage

An article in Voice of America focuses on a historic agreement in Nepal where the country’s leading political parties have agreed to integrate former Maoist combatants into the military. George Varughese, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Nepal, explains the importance of this deal. Read the full article: “Nepal Takes Major Step Forwa… Read more


New Book Examines Global Democratization

June 22, 2011


The idea of “rule by the people” or democracy is widely accepted as a good and desirable thing these days. Almost half of all governments worldwide are considered democratic in one way or another. But the many paradoxes and problems that afflict democratic experiments…


The UK Turns High-Level Attention to Nepal’s Fight Against Gender-Based Violence

June 22, 2011


On June 12, the UK’s Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, arrived in Kathmandu on a three-day visit to share her experiences in combating violence against women and to learn how Nepal is tackling the issue.


Nepal Averts Constitutional Crisis: Hope for Democratic Future Kept Alive

June 2, 2010


Around midnight on May 28, 2010, Nepali lawmakers took a stunning last-minute emergency action that served to keep hopes for a democratic constitutional republic and a stable nation alive in Nepal: by an overwhelming majority the Eighth Amendment Bill to the interim constitution to extend the Constituent Assembly’s tenure by one year was passed. Of… Read more