CMDN organized a talk program on Newar and the Trans-Himalayan Phylum: Unraveling Newar Linguistic and Genetic Ancestries on January 31, 2012, held at Martin Chautari, Thapathali, Kathmandu. The Guest speaker for the program was Prof. Dr. George van Driem.
Dr. Driem is a linguist at Bern University, where he holds the chair of Historical Linguistics and directs the Linguistics Institute. He has conducted field research in Nepal, Bhutan, Northeastern India and the western Indian Himalayas since 1983 and produced several in-depth grammars, a number of grammatical sketches and coordinated the endangered language documentation of the research team of the Himalayan Languages Project since 1993. His two-volume compendium Languages of the Himalayas is an ethnolinguistic handbook for South and Central Asia and adjacent regions.
The event had participants from various academic institutions of Nepal, including some prominent Newar linguistic and cultural experts. Prominent among others present at the event include Prof. Dr. Tri Ratna Manandhar (Vice Chancellor, Lumbini Buddhist University), Prof. Dr. Bhadara Ratna Bajrachraya, Mr. Satya Mohan Joshi (Chancellor, Nepal Bhasa Academy), Dr. Milan Ratna Shakya (Associate Professor and Head, Central Department of Buddhist Studies, Tribhuwan University), Dr. Keshav Man Shakya (Former Chairman, Lumbini Development Committee) and Mr. Naresh Bir Shakya (Newar Language Activist).
This event has succeeded in generating interest in performing genetics based linguistic research in Nepal.