Proposal for Reform of NRNA
Background and Justification: The undesirable criticism of NRNA’s global convention held in Kathmandu this year, widespread negative media coverage and public uproar emanating from NRNA election process was shameful and inexplicable which requires urgent attention of diaspora at large and reform action by NRNA. This event has tarnished reputation of the entire Nepali community everywhere. It will be unfortunate and dumb-founded if NRNAs do not take this as an opportunity for carrying out meaningful reform in the associations’ structure, membership and election process.
In this process one must be guided by the fact that NRNA is not a political movement because “movement”, in its current interpretation, generally refers to ‘a mass movement for a change with collusion with or association at politics.”
NRNAs structure and processes need re-organization through decentralization and election reform through introduction of simplified procedures while also aiming to encourage participation of large numbers of members at the base level.
This note briefly describes proposal for restructuring, decentralization and simplification of selection of member delegation processes at the Country, Regional and International Coordination Council level. Reform objective aims at making the association an attractive and inclusive social organization of diaspora, encourage active engagement of registered as well as unregistered members. At present, number of registered NRNAs members are low and unsatisfactory – according to one estimate it is no more than three percent of the estimated population of eligible diaspora members globally. Such a low participation by eligible members undermines the legitimacy of association and makes it less representative. This should be a serious concern to NRNA leaderships. Meaningful reform addressing the major concerns facing the association must be reformed URGENTLY. These concerns largely emanate from the structure, membership and election processes.
Guiding Principles: NRNA Country Chapter is to provide friendly platform for all individual’s participation in exchanging information through assembly of association, and fostering unity among diverse community members, creating conducive environment for sharing experiences, knowledge, skills and building community support for general welfare of population of concerned. NRNA should also create and promote social interactions platforms for integration of the next generation of diaspora through positive engagement in literature, culture and tradition within communities and beyond. NRNA is to be reformed with these objectives on its focus.
At global level, structure of NRNA Country Chapters, like a federation of country chapters. In effect, it is an international federation of NRNAs (at the central level), registered and headquartered in Kathmandu (Nepal). Operationally, this could be just like International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) - a worldwide organization of 190-member national Societies headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
The fundamental Principle will be One Country One Association - One Association One Vote. Each country will elect one association structure through the participation of registered members. Similarly, one ICC representative per country also will be elected at the country level. No country can have more than one vote at any levels of NRNA structure. This is like the United Nations General Assembly membership where one country one vote right is exercised. This principle is fundamental to the success of the association and maintaining equity in building structural equilibrium within the association’s hierarchy.
The crux of one the major problems: The current system of selecting country delegates for Global Convention and election of central executive committee, based on numbers/size of members, should be immediately abolished. This system has undermined the representational equity between the countries with large number of registered delegates/members and the countries with smaller number of delegates/members participating at the global convention and election process. This system of disproportional delegates is undesirable for it gave disproportional importance to countries with large number of members and compromised the significance of countries with smaller number of members. This has eroded the fundamental rights of members participating from smaller countries. This is unhealthy in building a cohesive relationships and maintaining community spirit as well as unity.
NRNA is a social association. It should remain so to be united and focused on social issues and community harmony. NRNA should not be rallying like a political party and allowed increased number of delegates for voting prowess. This delegate system is used by political parties in USA for nominating presidential party candidates. It is unconceivable it is being used by a social organization and, never obvious why? This is a political act and should not be part of NRNAs structural setting.
NRNA’s membership is voluntary and activities must remain non-political to attract more members. NRNAs should not be modelled with any political party system of any design that may reflect political ideologies at any levels of association’s assembly. Otherwise, it will seriously undermine the very essence of NRNAs objective and compromise the very purpose of association’s raison d'être.
International Coordination Council of NRNAs(at the central level) will be constituted through representation from each Country Chapter of NRNAs. It will be responsible for coordination, program development, policy strategies, and articulation of global vision and support to NRNAs global activities. More importantly, it should demonstrate global leadership and liaise between the diaspora, local community and government of Nepal.
Given the reasons describes in preceding paragraphs NRNA Constitution of 2003, as revised in 2017, should be reviewed thoroughly and the articles 13,17,21 and 25 should be abolished and rewritten reflecting the reform spirit as described in this note.It is, therefore, proposed that:
Elect one ICC member from each country where there is a NRNA Country Chapter.
Elect ICC member, Regional Coordinator and Deputy and Executive Body of ICC of NRNAs (at the central level) for every three years. NRNAs ICC will be registered and headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal
Regional Coordinators and Deputies for each geographical region (for Women Affairs, Culture and Literature, Youths and Sports, etc.) to be organized in following six geographical regions. The six NRNA regions for this purpose are:
(1) North-East Asia, Oceania and Pacific Islands (Australia, Japan, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and all nations of Pacific Islands);
(2) ASEAN (Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei);
(3) USA, Central and South America; (USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, all Central and South American countries and Island nations of the region);
(4) North-Africa, the Middle-East and Gulf Countries; (all Arab states of North-Africa like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Djibouti and the all countries of the Middle-East);
(5) Africa (all countries of Africa including Madagascar and Zanzibar but excluding Arab states of North-Africa);
(6) Europe (all countries of EU, East European Countries, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland).
Each geographic region will elect one Regional Coordinator and one Deputy Coordinator each for Women Affairs, Youths and Sports, Culture and Literature, and will be responsible for activities in the region and accountable to respective NRNAs country chapters. Regional Coordinator will prepare, in collaboration with Country Chapters, its work program focusing on activities with cross cutting issues and liaise with ICC on issues of community interest. Election of all regional positions to be organized at a regional meet of geographic region by Regional Coordinator.
ICC members will elect one international coordinating executive body at the central level which will be the lead unit of the association and to maintain liaison with government of Nepal. The Executive Body election to be organized at a convenient date and location. It does not necessarily have to be in Nepal. However, oath taking and baton hand-overs ceremony should preferably be held in Nepal.
Guiding Principle for Establishing Hierarchical Organizational Structure
Country Chapter of Non-Resident Nepali Association per country is established and registered under the law of the country. Just like (National) Red Cross Society/ Red Crescent. One country one Red Cross/ Red Crescent Society.
Country Chapter of NRNA will elect one representative per country to represent it at the NRNA’s International Coordination Council (ICC). This principle is based on “One country one representative”. Non-Resident Nepali Association country chapter can be set-up where there are at least ten or more Nepali diaspora members.
NRNA Country Chapter will elect one ICC representative by voting from among its registered members. Total number of International Coordination Council members of NRNA will be limited to one representative one country formula without exception.
At global level one federation of International Coordination Council (ICC) of Non-Resident Nepali Association is established and registered in Nepal. NRNAs structure then becomes like International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Election of representation for ICC and Executive Body of ICC will be on the basis of principle of United Nations General Assembly where one country has one representation with single voting right, irrespective of country size and population.
The Executive Body of the International Coordinating Council of NRNAs will be elected by ICC members, Regional Coordinators and Deputies and President of Country Chapters. ICC members, Regional Coordinators and Deputies and Presidents of Country Chapters will select by voting all office bearers of the Executive Body at the ICC central level. No other position holders can cast votes for the selection of ICC Executive Body at the central level. The voting will be held by secret ballot and/or e-voting at a date and location determined by the ICC.
Regional Coordinators, Deputy Regional Coordinators (Women affairs, Youths and Sports, Culture and Literature, etc.) will be elected from within the geographic region by registered members of the region. Office bearers will be responsible for regional responsibilities and accountable to the country chapters of the region they represent.
Eligibility and Election Process
One Country Association with One Vote is the motto for selection of office bearers at all level of NRNAs. This will ensure fair participation, irrespective of size of country and registered or unregistered numbers of population. NRNA Country Chapter must ensure fair participation and focus on interests of the association’s primary goal of maintaining harmonious relationships within communities with high integrity. It will encourage more eligible members in joining the association.
NRNA registered members at the country level will be eligible for participation in office bearers’ positions at the Country and Regional level of NRNAs, and he/she will be elected by participating registered members.
All positions for the office bearers of the ICC‘s Executive Body will be organized by a polling board established by the ICC.
It will be mandatory for eligible candidate to present his/her personal profile with a photo and mission statement with clearly stated objectives and expected delivery of performance output. This information will be shared by each aspiring individual for NRNAs office bearer’s positions at all levels.
For Regional positions NRNA’s Country Chapter’s Polling Board (to be set up by Country Chapter) will use secret paper and/or e-voting for election or both. Once ballots are received by Country Chapter Polling Board results will be compiled and report forwarded to NRNA’s Regional Polling Board (to be set-up by NRNA’s Regional Coordinator.) Regional Polling Board will receive the results from Country Chapter Polling Board for final tally and declaration of regional results. Regional Coordinator will appoint a Polling Board which will organize election in coordination with Country Chapters.
An individual who meets the criteria for a Non-Resident Nepali as per NRNA’s revised Constitution of 2017 he/she will be eligible for NRNA membership and can participate in all activities but without voting right. However, in order to be an active member candidate for holding a position with NRNAs structure and representation at NRNA’s Country Chapter and Regional position such aspiring individual must be a registered member as per established registration procedures.
Any registered member can run for office bearer’s position and cast vote for selection of NRNA Country Chapter, Regional Coordinator, Deputy Regional Coordinator Position and International Coordination Council of NRNAs.
Any registered member who has served at least one full term as a member of International Coordination Council, or Regional Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator of a geographical region or President of a Country Chapter he/she will be eligible for office bearer’s positions at the Executive Body of International Coordination Council of NRNAs at the central level.
The selection of the Executive Body members of International Coordination Council of NRNAs (at the central level) will be through secret ballot and/or e-voting or a combination of both. ICC will establish a Polling Board which will determine the procedures for conducting election process. This election process must be completed within three months period prior to the expiration of the tenure of the Executive Body of ICC.