The UBC Himalaya Program is collaborating with the Nepal Cultural Society of BC (NCSBC) to present White Sun, a Nepalese film directed by Deepak Rauniyar about the Nepalese civil war's aftermath. The film, which will be presented at the Rio Theatre on November 13, is a part of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival.
The Himalaya Program co-founder, Sara Shneiderman, explained the program was designed to be interdisciplinary with “faculty in several different departments who have research interests in the Himalayan region.” Their goal was to create a platform for these shared interests by drawing upon faculty expertise, student engagement and community partnerships.
Based in the Institute of Asian Research within UBC’s new School of Public Policy & Global Affairs, the program does not operate as its own teaching unit. Instead, different faculty members teach their own courses in different departments — such as anthropology, Asian studies as well as art history and visual art — all united through a common theme of the Himalayan region.
Shneiderman hopes that these courses, like “Ethnography of South Asia” or “Tibetan and Himalayan Culture and Society,” can come together to build an area of focus within a UBC student’s degree.
The program also runs two-week, three-credit intensive language courses in the summer for Nepali and Tibetan. Shneiderman described them as having “an innovative framework for community engaged language learning,” where students participating in the courses have the opportunity to engage with Nepali and Tibetan speakers in the Vancouver area. This allows them to gain cultural knowledge while immersed in the local communities.
The Tibetan language course is coordinated in collaboration with the Tibetan Cultural Society of BC and the Nepali language course is offered in collaboration with the NCSBC. NCSBC VP Alok Dhungana explained the organization’s main focus is to bring the Nepali community together, “maintain contact within the community” and “do good in society.”
The NCSBC and Himalaya Program have now expanded their collaboration into events, including the upcoming showing of White Sun. In the film, anti-regime partisan Chandra travels to his remote mountain village after nearly a decade away and must face his brother Suraj, who was on the opposing side during the Nepalese civil war.
Both Shneiderman and Dhungana agree that they hope White Sun will provide visibility for a part of South Asia that is often overlooked.
Tickets for White Sun are available at vimff.org/white-sun and with the promo code VIMFF-HIMAL, you have the option to either get a $2 discount or donate the $2 to the Nepal Cultural Society of BC.