Nepali Academics in America

Conference Program

Conference will take place in the Arizona Center (7th Floor) of the ASU Downtown Campus (400 E Van Buren Street, Phoenix AZ 85004)

Zoom Links (Registrants Only)

Keynote Speakers

Kumud Acharya, PhD 

President, Desert Research Institute, Nevada

As the ninth President of the DRI, Dr. Acharya leads over 400 scientists, engineers, and research support staff who rank among the top in the world in their specialties. Prior to his appointment as President, he was a research professor of ecological engineering at the DRI, and led pioneering work in Nevada to help local and state water managers address aquatic invasive species threatening both Lake Mead and Lake Tahoe. During his over two decades of career, he has blended traditional research on the health of rivers, lakes and wetlands with applied research to better understand the impact of climate change on aquatic ecosystems across Nevada and throughout the world. During his tenure at DRI, he has secured over $18 million in external research grants and contracts and helped spearhead some of Institute’s largest international collaborations focused on water quality and management in China, Nepal, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand. Dr. Acharya has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and served as first-author on many publications focused on water and ecosystem health. In addition to his research, he has also served as associate editor of the Journal of Water Resources Research and associate editor of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.

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Jeremy Spoon, PhD

Professor of Anthropology, Portland State University, Oregon

Dr. Jeremy Spoon is Professor of Anthropology at Portland State University . He has 25 years of experience collaborating with Indigenous peoples and government agencies on applied research related to environmental conservation and social equity in Nepal, the western United States, Kenya, and Hawai‘i. At Portland State, Dr. Spoon served as the founding Director of the Emergency Management and Community Resilience graduate program. In 2021, he was awarded the prestigious Early Career Research Award. Since 2004, he has secured three research grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation focusing on the influence of tourism and development on indigenous knowledge inside and around Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park and Buffer Zone, and more recently, on the factors that shape rural and indigenous short and long-term disaster recovery following the catastrophic 2015 Nepal earthquakes. He has authored or co-authored 15 academic articles and book chapters related to this research in Nepal. His team has recently finished collecting and analyzing data on long-term post-disaster recovery from the 2015 earthquake in Gorkha and Rasuwa Districts. Dr. Spoon has a BA in Ethnic Studies from the University of Michigan and MA and PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

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