Tassos Coulaloglou

Tassos Coulaloglou (Collective Campaign for Peace – COCAP): Tassos was born and raised in New Jersey. He attended the University of Wisconsin (UW) and graduated with his BS in Political Science in 2001. Tassos spent one year studying abroad at Utrecht University in Holland while in his final year at UW, After graduation, Tassos moved to Lithuania to become a freelance journalist and teach high-school history and English as a second language. In 2004, he returned to the States to work as a team leader with the League of Conservation's Envirovictory political campaign in Milwaukee. He returned to Eastern Europe the following year and resumed writing before starting graduate school. At the time of his fellowship, Tassos was studying for a Master's degree in International Relations and Diplomacy offered jointly by Leiden University and the Clingendael in Holland. After his fellowship, Tassos wrote: “...now in class, I try to break the Euro/America-centric positions that seem to dominate and ask what the Nepali view would be…this fellowship pushed me to understand a people, to think in their terms."

Himal Ethnicity

31 Jul


On this last trip back to Kathmandu for meetings, I took a less direct route and traveled first into the mountain region north of some of Nepal’s most famous peaks, the Annapurna range. I hopped on a 25 minute flight from Pokhara, landing in Jomsom. Nepal is split horizontally into three distinct geographical bands. The terai on the porous border with India is flat, tropical (HOT!), and tense.

North of the terai, where Baglung is located and where I’ve spent most of my time, are the verdant, impressively undulating hills. This region is more remote, underdeveloped and where most landslides occur (while I was away, more than 25 people were killed when a mudslide nearly wiped out an entire village in Baglung district).

A group of workers constructed a small bridge over a part of the trail destroyed by a fresh landslide in the hills region. About an hour later, I just missed being another casualty. After a full day of trekking, I was looking forward to the bed awaiting me in the village within sight. Suddenly, I heard stones falling and turned to see rocks bigger than my head plummeting from 30 meters above onto the trail. After sprinting like my life depended on it (I thought it did at the time!!), I realized that if I had been 10 seconds slower in passing that spot, you wouldn’t be reading this post. My second birthday is July 21, 2007.


Finally, one more step up, both geographically and topographically, is the mountains region. This is where 10 of the 14 tallest mountains are located. The region is sparsely populated, with little vegetation, a cooler climate, and while the hills and terai are predominantly Hindu, the northern belt of Nepal is mostly Buddhist.

While not the highest of the Annapurna range, Machhupuchhare Himal is legendary for its pyramidal shape.


What is common to all the regions is the ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity. I was amazed to reach Jomsom and find how different it was. Upon disembarking from the plane, you can feel the thinness of the cool mountain air.

Next you notice how barren the landscape is. From the myriad shades of green in the hills, once you reach Jomsom you feel more in the desert than mountains.

Geographically speaking when you go north of the Annapurna range you sit on the border of the Tibetan plateau.


Posted By Tassos Coulaloglou

Posted Jul 31st, 2007

1 Comment

  • vincent

    August 1, 2007


    still a great read man.. My sister just returned from northern India and its fun to see your reports from just over the border. Very interesting region indeed.

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