Nepal Earthquake Summit

The 2016 Straus Symposium focused on the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal. 

These photos were taken by Austin Lord (D'06) in the Langtang Valley of Nepal following the earthquake. His photos were exhibited in the Russo Gallery and can be viewed on Flickr.

The Nepal Earthquake Summit spanned three days (Feb. 18-20, 2016). A majority of the Summit sessions can be viewed on our YouTube channel. Click here for a PDF version of the agenda. The Summit also included a photographic exhibition on the Langtang Valley of Nepal, featuring photographs from Austin Lord '06, Athena Zelandonii, and Prasiit Sthapit. These photos were exhibited in the Russo Gallery and can be viewed on Flickr. Photos from the summit also can be viewed on Flickr.

Learn more about the Leila and Melville Straus 1960 Family Symposium.


February 18

Exhibit and Public Conversation
Hood Museum of Art

  • 5:00-6:00pm, "Discussion with Photographers James Nachtwey and Kevin Bubriski." A public conversation moderated by Kathy Hart, Senior Curator of Collections and Barbara C. and Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming, the Hood Museum of Art.
  • 6:00-7:00pm, "Opening Reception and Exhibition."  With images from James Nachtwey and Kevin Bubriski.

Film Screening and Q&A

  • 8:00-10:00pm, Screening of "Himalayan Megaquake," followed by a Skype Q&A with Director Liesl Clark

February 19

Panel Discussions

Government Response
Keynote Address

  • 4:30-6:00pm, Keynote Address by Swarnim Waglé, former Member of Nepal's National Planning Commission. In the aftermath of the Nepal Earthquake, Waglé helped prepare the national Post Disaster Needs Assessment and led the official Nepali delegation to the Third UN Conference on Financing for Development.
  • 6:00-6:45pm, Reception

Film Screening and Q&A

February 20

Panel Discussion

  • 10:00-11:30am, "Disaster Response On and Off Campus: Current Status and Future Needs"
    • Panelists: 
    • Discussant:
      • Laurel Stavis, Assistant Provost for International Initiatives, Dartmouth

Town Hall

  • 2:00-3:00pm, Swarnim Waglé and Mahendra Shrestha. Mahendra Shrestha is the Chief of Policy, Planning and International Cooperation Division, Health Ministry, Government of Nepal. 


Panel Descriptions

"Narrating Disaster" Panel

This panel will describe a National Science Foundation-funded project, "Narrating Disaster: Calibrating Causality and Response to the 2015 Earthquakes in Nepal.” This project combines ethnographic and linguistic field methods to study the lived experiences of the 2015 earthquakes in three contiguous but differently impacted districts: Mustang, Manang, and Gorkha. Our research asks: 1) What do survivors and responders know about earthquakes based on their lifelong cultural and environmental experiences, and how can they explain them based on their cultural and linguistic resources? 2) How do survivors and responders view their world through these earthquakes and their aftermath, particularly in terms of cause and consequence? Results of research will be compiled and made publicly available through the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library ( At a global level, these materials will also reveal nuances about the relationship between humans and their social and physical environment, providing valuable perspectives on why and how people create and maintain their livelihoods in places and in ways where extreme environmental conditions are a constant and powerful presence.

"Public Health Responses" Panel

This panel brings together clinicians, policy makers, global health workers, and students to explore the initial public health response to the Spring 2015 earthquakes as well as the longer-term consequences of these events for the health and well-being of Nepalis. The form and structure of disaster preparedness in Nepal will be put into conversation with stories of what happened on the ground in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, as well as the implications of initial response in relation to the need to rebuild – hopefully better and in more durable ways – the health care systems in heavily affected areas. 


About the Leila and Melville Straus 1960 Family Symposium

In the winter of 2014, Leila and Melville Straus established the Straus 1960 Family Symposium at Dartmouth’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. The gift is intended to support efforts “to produce the best understanding and analysis of central international issues with collaborative research on complex problems, with a preference for topics that include war and peace studies, conflict resolution, international governments, and human rights.”

In addition to the Dickey Center, which oversees the Straus 1960 Family Symposium, the Department of AnthropologyAsian and Middle Eastern Studies Program (AMES), Linguistics Program, and the Office of the Provost contributed to the Summit. 

The John Sloan Dickey Center