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David Bricker
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009

Ambassador to invite Ostrom to visit Nepal

Note to media: Shankar Sharma, Nepal's ambassador to the United States, will be available to speak to news media at 11 a.m. on Dec. 28, prior to meeting with IU faculty. To make arrangements, contact David Bricker at 812-856-9035 or

Dec. 21, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The ambassador of Nepal to the United States is expected to visit Indiana University this month to formally invite IU Professor and Nobel Prize laureate Elinor Ostrom to visit Nepal in 2010.

Ambassador Shankar Sharma is scheduled to meet Dec. 28 with Ostrom, IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson, and Samrat Upadhyay, a Nepali fiction writer and director of IU's Creative Writing Program, and his wife, Babita Upadhyay. Sharma will be accompanied by George Varughese, Nepal country representative for the Asia Foundation and a former doctoral student of Ostrom at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis.

Shankar P. Sharma

Photo courtesy of Embassy of Nepal

Shankar P. Sharma

Sharma, who has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Hawaii, has extensive experience in government, international institutions and economic research, including a distinguished career with the government of Nepal. He was vice chairman of the National Planning Commission, Nepal, from 2002-06 and worked as a consultant on distribution of natural resources, economic rights and public revenue in helping draft a new Constitution of Nepal.

Ostrom, the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science at IU Bloomington, shared the 2009 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. She is the first woman to win the prize.

Ostrom and colleagues at IU's Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis have conducted extensive research on the governance of common-pool resources in Nepal. Her research on irrigation systems found that user-managed dams in Nepal, despite "primitive" construction from stone, mud and trees, often were more effective in allocating water resources than multi-million-dollar concrete dams built by government agencies.

Also, the International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) program, which Ostrom co-founded at IU in 1992, includes Nepal in its network of research projects to help policy makers and forest users design and implement evidence-based policies. It partners with the Natural Resource Research and Development Center, a nonprofit organization located in Pulchok, Kathmandu, which has conducted research in more than 40 sites in Nepal.

Ostrom is expected to visit Nepal in December 2010. Her trip will be facilitated by The Asia Foundation, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization committed to the development of a prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region.