Creating and Sustaining a Free Society

Why is it important to sustain a free society?

Since the adoption of a new constitution in 2015, Nepal has witnessed the change of the unitary structure of governance into federalism, a government with two-third majority in the Parliament. The country ventured into a new era of political stability. However, in a bid to set up the right policy and legal frameworks, the government has imposed arbitrary rules on its citizens’ challenging freedom at all fronts. Recent bills on press freedom, information technology, and the arrests of popular singers and comedians for promoting ‘anti-social values’  through their work have threatened the civil society space. Recently, the measures taken by the government to contain the spread of Covid-19 has resulted in many people unable to work and travel to their hometowns and villages. The lockdown measures not only put the livelihoods of many citizens at risk but also curtailed people’s right to free mobility.

All of these instances substantiate the fact that the economic, political, and civil space in Nepal is not just shrinking, but the ideals of democracy – personal autonomy and individual rights, freedom of expression, rule of law – are facing the hammer of draconian laws and rules. This absence of a free society and space to creatively project and test ideas will eventually hinder the prosperity of the nation. Therefore,  it is important more than ever to examine the values of our democracy and our role in preserving these values.

What is Creating and Sustaining a Free Society?

Creating and Sustaining a Free Society is a nine-day online workshop on the ideas of liberty. If you are a young professional and interested in learning about individual liberty, social and economic freedom, this workshop is for you. You will engage in deliberations covering the principles of liberal democracy, Nepal’s fight for democracy, and the importance of protecting liberal values in the society. The workshop will equip participants with the knowledge and skills required to become an ambassador for defending Nepali people’s liberties.

Participants will engage with conceptual texts on core principles of liberty, economic freedom, and public policy. It will help participants explore alternative ideas for Nepal’s existing problems and inject new ideas into the public discourse for promoting liberal values in society. After the workshop, we hope that they can contribute to promoting economic freedom in Nepal and work to remove regulatory bottlenecks in the system.

Come learn with us over nine days. The workshop will be a combination of guest lectures, working sessions, case studies, interactions, skill-building sessions, and documentary screening. In addition to getting familiar with conceptual texts on these topics, participants will also have the opportunity to interact with leading experts on political economy, public policies, democracy, and civil society in Nepal.

Who will benefit from the workshop?

  • Young professionals with an interest in economics, political science, and social sciences
  • Early career public policy researchers

What will you learn at the workshop?

Here’s a list of few lessons that you will take at the workshop:

  • The state of democracy and political-economic liberty in Nepal
  • The philosophy and values of a liberal society
  • Essentials of public policy making
  • Leveraging journalism and research and publication for freedom
  • How to design and implement an advocacy strategy to achieve policy change

What will you leave the workshop with?

  • You will have a plan of action on how you can defend liberal values in your community.
  • You will have access to works of a wide array of classical liberal thinkers.
  • You will have a platform to learn about alternative ideas to common development narratives.
  • You will have a platform for intellectual engagements to defend the space of liberal democracy in Nepal.
  • You will be equipped with ideas to contribute to contemporary policy discourses through an alternative lens.

When is the workshop happening?

The nine-day workshop will start on June 28 and end on July 06.

What virtual platform will the workshop be hosted on?

The workshop will take place online on Zoom. Other online platforms will be used to facilitate different activities of the workshop as well as for communication among the participants and facilitators.

When is the application deadline?

The application for the workshop will close at 5:00 PM, Thursday, 25 June 2020. Please note that applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until this date.

I have a question about the workshop, who do I reach out to?

For any queries, write to us at [email protected].

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