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Anup Kaphle Speaks at University of Chicago on the Promise and Peril of Migrant Labor

Event Date:

October 20, 2015 | 5:00 PM EDT
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A special election in Nepal fuels hope for an end to years of gridlock but thousands of Nepalis are...


During his two-day visit to the University of Chicago, Pulitzer Center grantee Anup Kaphle gives his account of the promise and peril of migrant laborers who leave Nepal in search of better jobs around the world. Kaphle also examines life in Nepal before and after the April 2015 massive earthquake.

His main talk, "The Pipeline of Dreams: Workers from Nepal and the Promise & Peril of Migrant Labor", is set for Tuesday, October 20.

When the central passport office in Kathmandu could not handle the numbers of young Nepalis coming to apply for their passports, administrators decided to do something that had never happened before: run the passport counter 24 hours a day. Every day, hundreds of Nepalis line up outside this office, one of the first steps for them to start a grueling journey, leaving their home and family to work as migrant laborers abroad.

Nepal is now one of the leading exporters of migrant labor, supplying young men and women to the oil-rich Gulf nations and as far as Malaysia and South Korea, where they sign up for multi-year contracts to work for employers. While this has become one of the major sources of national revenue — remittances account for a quarter of the country's GDP — it has also brought tremendous pain. Stories of success are often overshadowed by the grim visuals of coffins flown in from Malaysia and Qatar almost on a daily basis.

Why is a significant segment of any country set on going abroad to work despite risks? How do they get themselves in a trap before they even set foot on the plane? And why have the migrant laborers just become numbers with little done to change their fate? Kaphle seeks to answer these questions in his Pulitzer Center-supported reporting project, "Nepali Lives, Foreign Dreams."

RSVP for Kaphle's main talk at the University of Chicago at

"The Pipeline of Dreams"
Tuesday, October 20
5:00 pm
University of Chicago
Classics 110
1010 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Kaphle's visit is made possible by the Campus Consortium partnership between the University of Chicago and the Pulitzer Center.





teal halftone illustration of a family carrying luggage and walking


Migration and Refugees

Migration and Refugees