George Santayana, an eminent western writer, once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The statement shows the importance of remembering the past not repeating the mistake and for the betterment of the future.
Different organizations observe their annual day to remember their glorious past to be better prepared for the future. This practice prevails all over. Army observes Army Day remember its past, Police Day is for police, Nursing Day is for nurses and Civil Service Day is for civil servants.
The Foreign Ministry of Nepal has also chosen the establishment of Foreign Service, as a separate service within Civil Service, as a day to observe Foreign Service Day. On Jestha 2018 BS, Nepal Government set up a specialized foreign service.
Although Nepal’s Foreign Service has also made immense and important contributions to nation-building by taking part in bilateral negotiations, meetings and state-level engagements, there was no practice to observe such a day till now.
Thanks to foreign minister Dr. Narayan Khadka, foreign secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal and senior joint secretary Prakash Subedi and the team with them, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has started to observe Nepal Foreign Service Day this year.
Despite being a highly important service in any independent and sovereign country, Nepal started observing its Foreign Service Day by felicitating those who served in different missions abroad to serve Nepal.
As one of the oldest countries in the world having a long history of independence and sovereignty, Nepal’s foreign service has also developed with it hand in hand.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the program to mark the first Nepal Foreign Service Day. Foreign minister Dr. Narayan Khadka conferred a dozen retired officials, including career diplomats of Nepal’s Foreign Ministry, for their contribution to the nation serving as foreign ministry cadres.
On the occasion, Minister Dr. Khadka also felicitated 11 living retired civil servants who served in Nepal’s Foreign Service after 2018 and before 2018. Those civil servants felicitated by the minister include Hari Prasad Pokharel, Yogendra Nath Ojha, Narayan Prasad Rajbhandary and Narsingh Man Sigh Pradhan.
Out of 36 persons who started the foreign service in its inception, five individuals were felicitated. These include Narayan Prasad Arjyal, Bishwo Pradhan, Yadav Kanta Silwal, Bhinda S. Shah and Gobhardhan Bikram Shah, Ganesh Man Shrestha and Shiva Ram Shrestha.
Addressing the program, foreign minister Dr. Khadka described the day as an important day for the nation. He said that Nepal’s foreign ministry officials have been doing their best to serve the nation.
Foreign secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal described that there are practices all over the world to celebrate National Foreign Service Day. He said that Nepal has also started this. He said that former secretary and colleague Madan Kumar Bhattarai helped them to find the history of foreign service in Nepal.
Attended by a large number of retired employees of the Foreign Ministry, retired career diplomats and current employees, joint secretary Prakash Subedi introduced those senior retired career diplomats who were honored.
“Foreign service has a long history in Nepal. Since the launching of the national unification move by Prithvi Narayan Shah, Nepal’s foreign service came side by side with it. Foreign service carried different names in different times but it has been there all the time. As all state institutions, the service was professionalized and modernized following the establishment of democracy in Nepal,” said Minister Khadka. “ It is a great occasion to see all senior civil servants who had served in foreign service before me.”
“Different countries have been observing foreign service day recognizing its importance. I am happy to say that we have also started observing the day from this year,” said secretary Paudyal.
Although they served different missions around the world representing Nepal and retired a long time back from the service, retired civil servants, who served in foreign service during their tenure, found sudden happiness and pleasure when they received the letter for felicitation sent by the ministry.
“Whoever may have come up with the idea, what I can say is that this is a good beginning. I retired a long time back. I felt the pride to receive the letter for felicitation,” said historian Narayan Prasad Rajbhandari (Chittarajnaj Nepali) who was retired from the civil service serving up to the commissioner of Election Commission.
“From the days of Prithvi Narayan Shah the great, Nepal’s foreign service evolved in different names in different times. Institutionalizations of Nepal’s foreign service began in 2018,” said Rajbhandary who served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2013-to 2018.
Although many Nepalese civil servants served in Nepal’s Foreign Service since 1962 and before, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs felicitated 11 living retired employees to mark the first Nepal Foreign Service Day