By Deepa Rai, Melbourne
7 October 2017
As the NRNA Global Conference 2017 and NRNA ICC elections draw closer, we are inundated with social media posts and media articles about the possible candidacy of Jamuna Gurung and current ICC President Shesh Ghale’s NRNA Vision 2020 and Beyond agendas.
This article presents my personal opinion on the two much-discussed issues (I am not associated with any media outlets, neither do I have any interest in upcoming elections as I am unable to participate due to health reasons). The credibility of Nepalese media is often questionable (I have had first-hand experience) where they seem to be serving their own interest whilst they “appear” to serve us information (or, misinformation) in order to create a certain image of someone or toe a certain line.
NRNA Vision 2020 and Beyond framework were originally floated in mid-2016 to NCC and ICC members and then subsequently presented in the 9th Regional Conference in the US in August the same year. Why has it resurfaced now (after 18 months) so close to the NRNA global elections? Why has it become a sticking point for many election candidates? Were they in deep slumber for a year and half and now suddenly realised that NRNA Vision 2020 and Beyond is a point of their “interest”? Clearly, from what I can understand, the underlying reason for this sudden surge of interest in Vision 2020 and Beyond by media and many aspiring candidates is being used as a campaign tool to serve their vested interests.
I first came across Vision 2020 when BRW Rich Lister Shesh Ghale did a similar presentation in Melbourne last year (following the US Regional Conference mentioned earlier). In my understanding, the agendas are nothing but the findings of an INDEPENDENT RESEARCH COMPANY (and not of Shesh Ghale) about NRNA, its members, present and past executive teams and most importantly developing a sustainable vision in making the global body a role model organisation for future generations. In other words, a STRATEGIC PLANNING! I could not have expected anything less from Mr Ghale who once again (both during his first and second terms) demonstrated that capable leadership will not only engage in mobilising current projects but also will make time to PLAN for a future direction of the organisation. He will leave a legacy of a BLUEPRINT-planning (presented, consulted widely and providing time for implementation) rather than the old NEPALI style of working where we seek for direction from seniors on an ad hoc basis and agree to their “visions” when and how it suits them.
Why Vision 2020?
A lot has changed since NRNA was first established.
Expectation from NRNA is like never before, both in and outside of Nepal. We also have seen an increase in Nepalese people residing overseas and hence, an increase in NRNA membership. The organisation is present in more countries today than few years earlier.
These changes make it necessary for NRNA to undergo certain organisational changes so that it can stay relevant and effective. This is where the objectives of Vision 2020 kick in:
- To make NRNA inclusive and also give equal opportunities to all members to be part of the leadership team.
- Bring positive changes in the organisation by allowing competition to develop leaders.
- To create Inclusive culture by giving opportunity to everyone who has knowledge, skills and time to be actively involved irrespective of their financial position.
- To make the best use of resources, individual skills, knowledge, creativity and diversity
- To remove the label of Rich People’s Club
- To decentralise power
Currently, positions of VPs, Secretary, ICC members are tokenistic (half of them are in hibernation and emerge only during elections – this is from my personal experience during my tenure in 2013-2015). We need to give everyone an pportunity to contribute in their areas of expertise and interest by giving them appropriate portfolios. Secretariat will have one director general with employees to look after various departments.
The fact as it stands currently is that the President has to do everything and be everywhere. If President puts his energy, things get done otherwise nothing moves. This is not healthy for any organisation. If organisation wants to fulfil its potential, it must allow for shared leadership.
As we move forward, to achieve NRNA’s main objectives, the organisation must change its working style and strategy and that in course of time will shake up the cosy set-up for a few individuals who consider NRNA as their playground for them to play their games for lifetime.
The SECOND POINT of interest for many NRNs currently is the possible candidacy of Jamuna Gurung for NRNA ICC President. She has not categorically denied such a possibility but at the same time has not publicly announced her interest either. If she does come out as a contender then she no doubt is a worthy candidate. I say so because she has long proven her capacity as a leader.Please note that Mrs Gurung is not a shadow of the success of current ICC President Shesh Ghale, her husband. Those who know her can understand that she is her own individual self, a lady of substance who runs one of the most successful businesses houses in Australia. No one questioned the past NRNA presidents about putting their hands up for this post (in reference to comments like no experience and have not been in NRNA long enough to prove their worthiness) is irrelevant and makes me wonder, if the fact that she is a woman is a factor playing up to discourage her from going for this topmost role. I have personally known and closely worked with Mrs Gurung in Laprak Project, Nepal Earthquake relief activities, blockade by India and more recently during Terai Flood relief. From these activities, I have grown to know her to be a hardworking, tenacious, intelligent, confident, creative, committed and most of all, NO-BULLSHIT attitude.
She will bring into this organisation a historical movement by not only being the first female President of NRNA but also an opportunity that will open up doors for future women leaders to go for the topmost role in NRNA without playing second fiddle to men. There is no question about her eligibility for the top role given her commitment, personal contribution and professionalism that she exhibited within NRNA in the last two terms which, if compared to other individuals, will certainly tick her as being one of the role models for all of us to aspire to be in a voluntary role.
I wish her all the best and will fully support her decision if she will stand up for the NRNA President role in the upcoming election.
Systems don’t change easily and maintain themselves and seek equilibrium. To change a system, you need to shake it up, disrupt the equilibrium. That often requires conflict and that is what I see happening currently.
Writer is solely responsible for opinions expressed in this article.
Platform section of southasia.com.au provides an open space to express your thoughts on any subject under the sun. Readers are encouraged to submit their articles by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.