In December 2020, Fudan alumnus Dr. Kalyan Raj Sharma won the "Silk Road Friendship Award" held by China International Cultural Exchange Center and Global People magazine. The awardees, 10 individuals and 1 group from 10 countries, were selected from more than 100 candidates in the fields of agriculture, industry, shipping, business, education, art, health, etc.
Sharma graduated from Fudan University with a doctoral degree in economics in 2011. He is now the chair of Nepal China Friendship Forum, visiting lecturer at Kathmandu University and president of Nepal AOE Tourism Company.
During his doctoral studies at Fudan, Sharma published a number of academic papers in both Chinese and English on the economy and tourism of China and Nepal.
"I started to get involved in the tourism industry when I was at Fudan, and after I came back to my country, I devoted myself to this industry," said Sharma who has been studying modern tourism economics for years and now runs the AOE Tourism Company, an influential tourism company in Nepal. He is among the first to start the business of travel to the Himalayas within Nepal, which was later expanded to India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
With a strong sense of social responsibility, Sharma and his colleagues founded an orphanage “Happy Bottle House” made from discarded bottles. The orphanage has so far housed more than 50 children and provided meals and education for them. Sharma has also set up a school in Gorkha, 140km west of Kathmandu, with the help of Hong Kong INVISION Charity.
In 2013, Sharma founded the Nepal China Friendship Forum after returning to Nepal from China. The forum brings together governments, diplomats, academia, private sectors, media and other relevant organizations and individuals, which provides a platform for academic exchange in the fields of Chinese and Nepalese literature, medicine, social work, etc.
Since 2015, every year, NCFF has been organizing a series of conferences on BRI with the objective to discuss the benefits of BRI for Nepal and South Asian countries, which has attracted wide attention from the two countries and was reported by China's and Nepal mainstream media. NCFF under the leadership of Sharma, has initiated many projects, one of them named as, Panda Book Corner, a library project with the aim to promote Chinese language, history and culture in Nepal. The program focuses on providing equal opportunities to all the students. Under this initiative, a book corner was established and 5000 books were provided to five schools. Furthermore, Saana Haatharu (Little Hands), also a project under NCFF, aims to promote Chinese culture and additional curriculum activities in secondary school students. There is another similar project entitled “Knowing China Better”, a collaboration of NCFF and Nepalese schools and universities. For university students, the knowledge they gain from participating in the project has helped them discover in depth the trade, business and cultural exchange between the two countries.
As a regular visiting lecturer at Kathmandu University School of Management, Sharma introduces China's development experience to Nepalese students. To better promote Chinese culture and language among Nepalese students, Sharma arranges excursions to China for students, which allows them to have first-hand experiences of China.
In the Nepal earthquake of 2015, Sharma arranged for helicopters to rescue stranded Chinese climbers. As a Nepalese song goes, “In this Himalayas we shared, I am on the left and you are on the right. The Roof of the World is our common pride.”
When being interviewed by China's CCTV in 2019, Sharma said that he hoped China could speak up in support of multilateralism and win-win cooperation on behalf of developing countries. In addition, the concept of "extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits" advocated and practiced by China has helped people around the world eliminate poverty, which he believes is a remarkable contribution.
Not only has improved transportation infrastructure brought China and Nepal closer, but also smart phones, online payment and online shopping brought to Nepal by Chinese enterprises have made Nepalese people's life more convenient and comfortable. Behind such endeavors are the relentless efforts of devoted people like Fudan’s alumnus Sharma.