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Ambassadors for Peace

In Memoriam: Girija Prasad Koirala

Kathmandu, Nepal - Nepal’s senior statesman, five-time Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, died March 20, 2010 at the age of 86 and was cremated the following day with full state honors in Kathmandu.

Koirala helped bring democracy to the former Hindu kingdom by brokering a peace deal that ended Nepal's decade-long civil war in 2005. At the time the move was unpopular and risky, but for the sake of healing the nation and coupled with his belief in individual responsibility based on democratic values, he felt compelled to cross unchartered territory.

Girijababu, as he is affectionately called, was a key figure in brokering the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, writing an interim constitution, forming an interim government, and holding Constituent Assembly elections nationwide. During the same time, the 240-year-old monarchy was toppled and Nepal emerged as a federal democratic republic.

On the same day that the peace accord was signed in New Delhi, India, November 22, 2005, UPF Founder Dr. Sun Myung Moon spoke in Kathmandu as part of a 100-city tour launching the Universal Peace Federation.

Three years ago on March 17, 2007 Koirala received the highest honor of the Universal Peace Federation—the Leadership and Good Governance Award.

At the award ceremony in the Nepalese capital, similarities between Koirala and Father Moon were highlighted. They are both willing to make great personal sacrifices for the dream of peace. Prime Minister Koirala was imprisoned, exiled, or detained on numerous occasions and spent more than 19 years of his life under arrest. Father Moon has been unjustly imprisoned six times in four different nations.

It would honor his memory if Nepalese leaders from all persuasions put the interests of the nation above party politics and redouble their efforts to bring the peace process, now at a critical juncture, to a dignified and prompt conclusion.

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