Our Team

Words of Appreciation:

DAS of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Dr Joe Felter — “welcome to the community of think tanks in the US!”

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Nepal Dr. Arjun Karki — “doing a great help for us.”

US Peace Corps Volunteers to Nepal — “wonderful”

Congressman Jared Polis — “will do expertise building for Nepal Congressional caucus”

And many more…


We are a team of experienced academics, commentators and researchers, including university level interns, from both US and Nepal.

Dr. Anil Sigdel, Founder Director, Nepal Matters for America, Washington DC 

Prof. Bob McDonnell- Professor and Chair (retd.), English Department, California Polytechnic State University & West Washington University 

Purushottam Sigdel, Executive Director, Washington DC

Former Associates:

Saurav Raj Panta, Research Associate, Columnist at The Kathmandu Post, Kathmandu, Nepal

Ms Rajani Thapa, Research Associate, PhD Student at TU, former vice mayor candidate Kathmandu’s Tokha Municipality

Dr. Janja R Avgustin, Research Consultant, Hawaii Pacific University

David Buggs, Strategic Planner, Washington DC

Research Intern:

Ms. Maneesha Kaur Khalae, Boston University, USA

Past team members:

Ms. Margaret Mainguy, North Carolina State University

Ms. Natalie Cox, Washington DC

Ms. Jennifer Loy, Research Associate, Boston, Massachusetts

Ms. Ipshita Bhattacharya, India (contributor)

Pranav Panta, Youth Coordinator and Contributor, Virginia Commonwealth University 

Former advisors, prominent scholars, from Nepal:

Dr. Nischal Nath Pandey

Prof. Surendra KC


Anil Sigdel,  Founder Director 


(@Benjamin Franklin Room, State Department, Washington DC)

Anil Sigdel holds a PhD in political science/international relations from the Institute of Political Science, University of Vienna, Austria. He holds a Master degree in International Studies from the Diplomatic School of Madrid where he was  merit scholar under the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation and Development, Ministry of External Affairs, Spain. Dr. Sigdel is a native Nepali. He  speaks native level Hindi. He is also fluent in English, Spanish and German, and speaks some French and Mandarin Chinese. His views, commentaries and quotes have appeared in Foreign Policy, Atlantic Council, National Interest, Real Clear, Hudson Institute and East West Center in Washington; South China Morning Post-Hong Kong, East Asia Forum-Australia, Observer Research Foundation-New Delhi, People’s Daily China, The Kathmandu Post, Kantipur, Online Khabar in Nepal and TRT World- Istanbul, Buenos Aires Radio, Argentina, Bosnian TV and many more.  He was contributor at Hudson Institute’s South Asia Program in Washington (2016-19), a highly influential policy think tank on international security in the United States. He is author of the book India in the Era of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (October 2020), Rowman and Littlefield’s Lexington imprint, Washington DC. He is also founding member of the prestigious Nepal Policy Institute, (ranked as World new best think tanks 2020 by University of Pennsylvania ranking) based in Hague and Kathmandu, a border-less policy think tank comprising of outstanding international academics and practitioners of Nepali heritage. Anil is also associated with some strategic groups and academic institutions in Europe – he has recently been appointed as an Associate Professor of International Relations at SNSPA, Bucharest. He is also an independent consultant on international relations and geopolitics with focus on Asia and has given lectures and talks at different institutions including State department in Washington to National Planning Commission of Nepal and so on. Sigdel is often travelling and living in between US, Europe and Nepal.

Prof. Bob McDonnell, Member of the Founding Tea


Prof. McDonnell ret. holds a BA in philosophy from Saint John’s University (small Catholic college in Minnesota) and a MA in English from University of Minnesota. He has a PhD in English from University of Minnesota. He was a member of English Department at Ohio University (Athens, Ohio) and Chairman and Professor of English Department, Western Washington University. He was then Chair of English Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, and then just a Professor until he retired. He is a co-author of 5 textbooks and is listed in Directory of American Scholars and in Contemporary Authors. He was a member of the Washington (state) Commission for the Humanities, and also had MA in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.  He also was a     licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California and Washington, now retired.

Purushottam Sigdel, Executive Director (Interim)


Purushottam Sigdel is the Interim Executive Director at Nepal Matters for America – he joined in August 2020. Mr Sigdel brings invaluable story and experience from Nepal to the United States with long experience in diplomacy and public administration. He is a naturalized American of Nepalese heritage and also speaks fluent French and Spanish. He lives in Washington DC area with his family.

Research Intern (2020-21):  Ms. Maneesha Kaur Khalae, Boston University, USA

Maneesha_02212021_-4 (1)

Maneesha Khalae is a senior studying International Relations and Economics, focusing on Asia and International Business, Economics, and Politics. She is deeply interested in the nexus between politics, institutions, South Asia and the environment. She is currently writing a thesis on India’s water related conflicts with its neighbours and hopes to work in a think tank and eventually academia. When she’s not studying international trade, she can be found reading anything by Kiran Desai and Elif Shafak or trying new food from around the world. 

Dr. Janja R. Avgustin, Research Consultant

Janja R. Avgustin holds a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy and Military Studies from the Hawai’i Pacific University and has obtained her PhD in International Relations at the University of Ljubljana. Her research focuses on the use of force in international relations, especially in cases where the use of force has been authorised by the UN Security Council and is being executed by a group of states (and not under the auspices of the UN or another international organisation). Her research page www.unscramblethesc.org focuses on all aspects of UN SC resolutions; she hopes to influence the debate on how we understand and study conflict by providing detailed analysis of UN SC processes. Her other research interests include military studies, historiography, conflict management, diplomacy and ceremony, quantitative methods, and computational models. Janja has experience as a lecturer and supervisor, and she also works as a trainer at international debate academies. Currently, Janja is employed at University of East Anglia where she contributes to Global Politics modules. She also continues to work as an Editor-at-large at E-International Relations where she is at the present co-editing a collection on Realism which will be published later this year. (all team members do voluntary contributions to NMA)

Photo feature: Nepal Matters in Washington:

Dr Sigdel with HE Ambassador Dr Arjun Karki

With His Excellency Ambassador Dr, Arjun Karki at Nepal Embassy, Washington

With Prez Trump’s China advisor Pillsbury and Prez Bush’s advisor and VP at Carnegie Endowment Evan Feigenbaum at Embassy of Singapore, Washington DC


With Prof Steve Cohen (second from the left) at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC


With His Excellency Indian Ambassador to the USA Harsh V Shringla

With Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and South East Asia Dr Felter


With Her Excellency US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina Teplitz at US Congress, Capitol Hill


With Japanese Senator Yukihisa Fujita at East West Center, Washington


With Indian Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar at Wilson Center, Washington


With Former Ambassadors to Nepal HE Scott DeLisi and HE Peter Bodde and at the State Department