Friends Of NepalLos Angeles

September 11, 2016

Meeting Minutes



In Attendance:  Hem Raj Bhatta, JoAnne Pandey, Deven Pandey, Jeet Joshee, Sandra Hunnicutt, Tulasi Gyawali, Shailendra Gyawali, Bakhan Thapa, Mukunda Dhungana, Shambhu Dhungana, Arvind Shrestha, Bijaya Eaton, Neera Pandey


Meeting Location:  Tara’s Himalayan Cuisine, Artesia


Purpose:  This meeting was assembled mainly to discuss the outcome of, and the issues raised by, the Nepathya concert. Other agenda items were also covered toward the end.


Start time: Meeting started at 12:55 pm by President Dhungana.  Meeting time had been set to be 11:30, but due to late arrival of members from Thousand Oaks, it started later. Board member Neera Pandey was present for an hour, but needed to leave before the start of the meeting.


Meeting adjourned: 3:08 pm by President Dhungana.



Discussion on the planning and execution of Nepathya concert:


The planning and execution of the concert was discussed at great length.


Several members expressed grave concerns that transparency, accountability, and the democratic process may have been compromised along the way and that bad publicity may have resulted for FON due to glitches in the sound and lighting systems during the concert. JoAnne Pandey felt that FON had digressed from the rules and foundations laid out in its bylaws and brought a copy of it to the meeting for reference.


Other members pointed out that it was a major effort putting on such a big concert at such short notice. They pointed to the massive amount of work that was done by just a few members, especially President Mukunda Dhungana. Large amounts of personal resources were donated by sponsors and volunteers and, all in all, these members felt the show was a success. They cited that FON was able to bring a great band for the enjoyment of the Nepali community and was able to donate $5000 to the Pashupati Nath Foundation as promised. A detailed expense report was handed out which showed a total balance of $0.00 for the Nepathya concert. As for publicity, these members felt it was positive. They felt the press was saying that despite the glitches, a great show was pulled off.


All members agreed that the fact we were having this discussion showed that FON is a healthy, functioning organization where members’ voices are heard, and that all of the members’ interests lie toward the advancement of the Nepali community and the betterment of FON as an organization.


It was stressed that FON is a different type of Nepali organization, not necessarily concerned with doing the same types of things that other Nepali organizations are doing. Past president Jeet Joshee, toward the end of whose term the Nepathya concert was approved, requested that current president Dhungana not make it a priority that FON hold events for all the major Nepali holidays because many others already do that.


It was recognized that things could have been done differently for the Nepathya concert and acknowledged that FON would not again undertake such a massive project in such short time. The hard work and the immense effort provided by the few members who were in the trenches to pull this project off was also recognized and heartily applauded.


So that we have a record of the trials and successes of this event, and to insure that in the future, trials are not duplicated while successes are replicated, members who were most involved in the Nepathya concert agreed to write a report detailing their experiences. A bullet list of all the things that went right and all the things that went wrong was requested to be made and distributed.



By-laws and number of board members:


It was cited that there’s a discrepancy between the number of board members the by-laws allow (7) vs. the number of board members we currently have (11). Also, the by-laws do not list general secretary as an official position. Currently we have both a general secretary and a secretary, which has resulted in some duplication of effort.


A concern was raised that seven board members didn’t seem to be enough. A drafting committee made up of Deven Pandey, Jeet Joshee, Shambhu Dhungana, Shailendra Gyawali, and Tulasi Gyawali was formed to look into the issue and to make recommendations for changing the by-laws.


In the meanwhile, JoAnne Pandey suggested that members who aren’t familiar with the by-laws go to the website to read them.


The board members listed on the FON website is incorrect.  Bijaya Eaton was charged with fixing the list.


The by-laws talk about the board members’ decision process and about coming to agreement on issues. JoAnne Pandey suggested that we discuss what those terms actually mean so that everyone understands them and can make decisions accordingly.


When the by-laws were first established, social media was not as prevalent as it is now. JoAnne Pandey suggested that we now look into creating the position of Social Media Director as an officer of the board.



Position of Vice President:


President Dhungana brought up the resignation of Sunita Choudhary for personal reasons as vice president of FON. Sunita’s resignation was accepted by the board. President Dhungana nominated Bakhan Thapa for the open position. Members unanimously voted for Thapa Ji as the new vice president.



New Projects and proposals:


Several possible new projects were brought up at the meeting:


-          Screening of Nepali film Chhakka Panja (brought up by Mukunda Dhungana)

-          Sales of lapel pins (brought up by Mukunda Dhungana)

-          Screening of the movie Sold (Initially brought up by Bijaya Eaton)

-          Screening of a movie on the earthquake (brought up by JoAnne Pandey)


Of all the new projects proposed, there was most interest in exploring the possibility of a Chhakka Panja screening.



Spending of remaining earthquake relief funds:


1) Past president Joshee mentioned that there’s still $4,000 - $5,000 left in the money raised by FON for earthquake relief. He proposed that we explore funding a group called Conscious Impact, with which he’s familiar. The group has been active in rebuilding schools and other structures with a certain type of brick called Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks.


JoAnne Pandey brought up the concern that schools need to be rebuilt in seismically safe zones and have amenities that the government has outlined such as separate bathrooms for boys and girls. The group consensus was that we do more research on Conscious Impact and their work before we decide whether to fund them.


2) President Dhungana shared his vision for building an entire school in Nepal using FON funds and allowing sponsors to donate toward the project in return for having their names displayed somewhere on the site. One concern raised for this idea was that schools are needed everywhere in Nepal and how are we going to decide which area or village gets one.



Holding in-person FON meetings:


It was decided that we should hold in-person meetings once every three months, except for the case of events and emergencies, for which we’ll need to meet more often.



Action Items:


-          Nepathya Concert organizers: Make and distribute a bullet list of all the things that went right and that went wrong in the process of Nepathya concert planning and execution.

-          By-laws drafting committee: Come up with suggestions for amendments/changes to the current by-laws.

-          Bijaya Eaton: Correct the list of board members on the website.

-          President Dhungana: Look into feasibility of screening Chhakka Panja.

-          Jeet Joshee: Get more information on the group Conscious Impact for possible funding through earthquake relief fund.

-          JoAnne Pandey: Make a list of items/concerns that the government is trying to standardize in the building of new schools.

-          Tulasi Gyawali: Set next meeting.



Next Meeting:


To be set for December in the Valley.