Bikalpa Baniya ’19 and Gaurab Pokharel ’21 Receive Davis Projects for Peace Award

May 30, 2019
Erin Ulrich ’18
Gaurab Pokharel posing in a busy hallway in King, leaning against a bulletin board.
Gaurab Pokharel ’21 Photo credit: Chris Schmucki ’22

Through funding from the Davis Projects for Peace Award, Bikalpa Baniya ’19 and Gaurab Pokharel ’21, both of whom are from Nepal, will expand the efforts and longevity of Nepali Dreamers, a college success program.

Economics and mathematics major Bikalpa Baniya ’19 and computer science major Gaurab Pokharel ’21 have been recognized with the Davis Projects for Peace Award. Named in honor of the late philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis, the award is granted annually to undergraduate students whose self-designed projects promote peacemaking initiatives. Now in its 12th year, the award grants $10,000 to selected students whose projects are based throughout the world.

Baniya is the CEO and cofounder of Nepali Dreamers, a college counseling and success program based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Nepali Dreamers provides services to Nepali high school students applying to foreign universities, including reflection-guided college counseling, SAT prep classes, and an online tool that allows students to track the progress of their college applications. The program addresses the needs of the more than 13,000 Nepali students who enroll in foreign universities each year, yet lack adequate support during the application process.

Headshot of Bikalpa Baniya, wearing a suit
Bikalpa Baniya ’19
Photo by Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

The program focuses on two main areas—college counseling and reflection. Nepali Dreamers encourages students to reflect on their Nepali identities and consider how they can use their foreign education to serve as leaders in Nepal.

Baniya and Pokharel will use the award funding to create an online platform for Nepali Dreamers and to connect with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that will provide students in the program with service-learning opportunities.

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