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Annual List Of 100 People To Watch: PROFESSIONALS

VENERABLE METTEYYA SAKYAPUTTA

Venerable Metteyya Sakyaputta, previously known as Awadhesh Kumar Tripathi, is a Buddhist monk who has been involved in spreading the Buddha’s teachings. He is the Vice Chairman of Lumbini Development Trust since 2017. He has founded many schools in the Lumbini area, provided education to nearly a thousand students and has been encouraging young volunteers to spread education among the children of Lumbini. A loved Buddhist teacher in both Nepal and in the West, Ven. Metteyya is the spiritual guide of CEBA in Edmonton, Canada and is a strong advocate for women’s education, equality and excellence in Nepal. He also works extensively on environment management and education and is passionately working on saving the endangered sarus cranes in Lumbini.

He has also been featured as one of the scholars in the 2010 PBS film ‘The Buddha’ by David Grubin.

Capt. PRIYA ADHIKARI

Captain Priya Adhikari is the first and only female helicopter pilot in Nepal. She worked as a helicopter captain with Air Dynasty for seven years, and is now associated with Shree Airlines. She is one of the world’s most capable helicopter pilots who has flown to 6,200 metres above sea level to rescue a climber and is a trailblazer who has inspired other women to be a part of the aviation world. Her story has been featured in many international papers and news portals as well.

Capt. Adhikari always wanted to save lives and had aspirations to do something in the medical field. This way she landed in rescue missions and fell in love with aviation in 2006. Though her journey to become a rescue helicopter pilot was filled with challenges, another reason she chose this profession was because there were no female helicopter pilots in the country and she wanted to be that change. Capt. Adhikari hopes to pave the way for future female captains in Nepal.

Dr. SUBARNA DAS SHRESTHA

Decorated with a Doctorate in Technical Sciences (Hydro-technical and Land Reclamation), Dr. Subarna Das Shrestha is the man who returned to Nepal in 1999 with a vision to develop the hydropower sector and is still actively involved in proliferating the hydro energy sector in Nepal. CEO of Sanima Mai Hydropower, he has been with Sanima Hydro Group since its inception and has been involved in the field of hydropower development and environmental assessment for over two decades.

Being a responsible and visionary hydropower developer, Dr. Shrestha is recognised for his work with immense respect and admiration. He has held the post of President in the Independent Power Producers’ Association Nepal (IPPAN) and under his guidance IPPAN successfully conducted the Power Summit in 2013. He has been actively participating in policy reforms as well as lobbing for private sector friendly policies, regulations and their prompt and effective implementation. Dr. Shrestha was a member of the Electricity Tariff Fixation Committee, Government of Nepal, and is currently serving as a member of EIA Review Committee of the Ministry of Forest and Environment.

DR. BISHESH POUDYAL

Dr. Bishesh Poudyal is an Associate Professor and Chief of Clinical Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at the Civil Service Hospital. He has been practicing clinical haematology for more than 12 years. Known for pioneering the clinical haematology and bone marrow transplant service in Nepal, he has successfully completed several autologous, allogenic and haploidentical bone marrow transplants. Dr. Poudyal has also established haematology-related laboratories, post graduate programs in government-run hospital, and played a major role in establishing the first bone marrow program – GlobalBMT – in Nepal at Civil Service Hospital by collaborating with University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) in 2012. In addition to his robust clinical activities, his recent efforts include an enterprise to use genomics and transcriptomics in the diagnosis of haematological malignancies and associated diseases in Nepal.

ANUPAMA KHUNJELI

CEO of Mega Bank, Anupama Khunjeli has earned the distinction of being the first woman to head a commercial bank in Nepal. She has been involved in Nepal’s banking sector for three decades; started her career as a teller in ANZ Grindlays Bank – now Standard Chartered Bank – where she spent almost 13 years, and then with Nabil Bank for six years. Khunjeli joined Mega Bank since its inception in 2010 and was ultimately appointed its CEO in April 2018.

Under Khunjeli’s leadership, Mega Bank is now one of the best capitalised lenders in the country, and one of the largest with 102 branches. The bank was awarded Best Bank for Microfinance in Nepal in June 2019 by Asia Money, and was also awarded the internationally prestigious The Banker’s Bank of the Year 2019 for Nepal in November 2019 becoming the youngest bank in Nepal to receive the award.

SANTOSH SHAH

The 35 year old Santosh Shah started his journey from Karjanha, Siraha. The youngest among seven siblings, Santosh travelled to India and then London creating and making the most of the opportunities life threw at him. With 18 years of working his way up through the kitchen ranks, Santosh experimented with Nepali cuisines in MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 and became a household name in his native country. His innovative approach placed Nepali food firmly on the global map and he was announced first runner up in the MasterChef celebrated worldwide for his creativity and personality.

The inspirational Shah is currently working on opening a Nepali fine dining restaurant in London, and has a cook book, cooking show and TV documentary in the pipeline.

Dr. GEETA SHRESTHA VAIDYA

Dr. Geeta Shrestha Vaidya is one of those silent achievers in the country with a strong profile who never got the spotlight she deserved. She is a retired Chief Senior Scientific Officer at Nepal Academy of Science and Technology. In a career of over three decades, Dr. Vaidya has worked in NAST for 25 years; started off as a scientist, worked in the Department of Plant Resources for seven years as the Medicinal Plants Museum Head and was later promoted to Chief Senior Scientific Officer. She has a Masters degree in plant pathology, a PhD in botany, is currently teaching in various colleges and has joined Aji’s community as an Ayurveda skin care products maker.

In 1991, Dr. Vaidya received the Young Scientist Award from Sweden-based International Foundation for Science for her research on “Ecto Mycorrhizal fungi of mid hill pine forests of Nepal” which claimed that the findings of the research can be used as a bio fertilizer. During one of the international seminars in the capital, she presented research work on mushrooms which resulted in a collaboration with a Japanese scientist who was working towards medicinal mushroom extract for anti cancer purposes. In collaboration with Lund University, Sweden, Dr. Vaidya did her PhD research on “Influence of Mycorrhizal Fungi in Stabilising Soils Subjected to Erosion in Nepal using Lantana Camara (Kandhejhar) and Eupatorium Adenophorum (Banmara) as bio-fertiliser” which proved that lantana camarais better than chemical fertilisers or compost. She has worked on anti microbial properties of different medicinal plants, anti cancer and anti diabetic plants as well.

PUNYA PRABHA DEVKOTA

Born in Jumla, Punya Prabha Devkota decided at a young age that she would become a heath worker to serve the people in her community. She lost her father tragically being unable to access basic treatment in time.

Devkota has been serving as a Senior Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery in the district hospital of Mugu in Karnali for two decades. She puts effort and emphasis on generating awareness among villagers to seek medical help in the hospital rather than resorting to primitive practices. Such has been Devkota’s influence in Mugu and surrounding districts that many patients who are unfamiliar with medical officers seek her out knowing that they can trust her. A 2019 Integrity Icon Nepal nominee, an annual event organised by Accountability Lab to honour honest government employees, she has also played a significant role in creating a safe and comfortable environment for women seeking abortion procedures in Mugu and its surrounding districts in Karnali.

KULMAN GHISING

Former Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), Kulman Ghising is widely recognised as the man who solved the problem of regular power outages that Nepalis had to suffer from for over a decade even as he turned NEA into a profitable body. Prior to his appointment as Managing Director, he was associated with NEA for over two decades serving as the Project Chief of Rahughat Hydroelectricity Project and before that as the Managing Director of Chilime Hydropower Company. He has extensive knowledge and experience of power trade, distribution and related field and led NEA to a financial benefit of around Rs eight billion by reducing power leakage by about 11% in four years while also providing electricity access through the national transmission to 86% of the population; an approximate 42% increase in the number of customers in four years.

YOGESH OJHA

A research software engineer by profession and an ethical hacker by passion, Yogesh Ojha is a person who has dedicated a large portion of his life to studying and innovating in the field of digital security. After finishing his computer engineering in Bangalore, he worked as a Cyber Security Analyst for Tata Consultancy Services for a little over two years and is currently working as Research Software Engineer at TRG Research and Development, a Cyprus based tech company that focuses on collecting data to create better solutions for the civilian cyberspace. He professionally utilises a number of digital tools at his disposal to fight social problems ranging from cyber threats all the way to terrorism, extortion and organised crime.
Ojha also runs an open-source project, reNgine, which stimulates attacks on the website to find out its flaws and also work for ‘bug bounty’, a process where coders can find chinks in long stretches of code. It is a game changing digital tool that allows users to process years’ worth of data in mere hours.

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