Student Attends Clinton Global Initiative University Conference

Seton Hill University student Dipeeka Bastola believes she has an idea that will assist students in her native Nepal living in poverty.

And that idea was recently recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative University conference as one of two featured commitments in financial education.

Bastola, a junior accounting and international organizations major and Spanish minor from Kathmandu, and two friends from Nepal developed a project called “Artha: Finance for Young Minds,” a financial educational program for training public school students in Kathmandu.

The project earned Bastola and her friends, Binju Gaire and Shirshak Aryal, both students at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, an invitation to the recent Clinton Global Initiative University event in Miami, Fla, where their project was recognized as one of two outstanding commitments during a session on financial education.

Bastola was among 1,200 other young leaders from all 50 states and 80 countries who discussed concrete actions to solve major global challenges during the conference.

“Dipeeka Bastola is a wonderful example of a Seton Hill student leader who is looking beyond herself to help others,” said Seton Hill University President Mary C. Finger, Ed.D. “Her participation at the Clinton Global Initiative University event will serve to inspire her as she works to better the lives of young people in her community.”

Bastola said because the majority of public school students in Kathmandu come from low-income households, they are often charged with working outside of the home to generate additional family income from a very young age.

“Through a week-long training, we hope to educate the students in financial management, budgeting, bookkeeping, savings and banking options,” Bastola said.

Based on their plan – called a Commitment to Action – Bastola and her friends were selected to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University program, held in Miami earlier this month.

Clinton Global Initiative University is a platform for young leaders who take concrete actions to solve major global challenges. University students can submit Commitments to Action in five major areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health.

“We met with a lot of amazing people, and I think it was very inspiring,” Bastola said of the event. “Where else would you meet 1,200 leaders who want to do something for the betterment of society?”

During several keynote events during the conference, Bastola heard messages from former President Bill Clinton, former Senator and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and their daughter Chelsea Clinton.

“We talked about a number of issues during the conference from reaching out to people that are neglected by policies and creating policies that can help everyone, to using data and technology to scale our ideas to have the greatest impact, to finding passionate volunteers to grow your project,” Bastola said.

During a breakout session on financial projects, Bastola’s plan was selected as one of two featured commitments. She and her group were presented with a certificate by Susan Davis, CEO of Brac USA, a nonprofit that serves to offer ways to bring citizens around the world out of poverty.

“It was an honor to have our initiative selected as a featured commitment, and it certainly gave us the confidence to carry our idea forward,” Bastola said. “We met so many young people who were already implementing their ideas with great success as well as mentors who can serve as a resource as we implement our project in Nepal.”

“We are going to take what we learned through this process and start a pilot program for financial education in Nepal,” Bastola added. “Once we see how it comes together, we will assess how to advance the initiative. We learned at the conference that you can start small and see how you can make a difference from where you are.”