Bioversity International: research for development in agricultural and tree biodiversity

Mourning the loss of an esteemed colleague and friend, Dr Bhuwon Sthapit

29 Aug 2017

With great sadness, we announce the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Dr Bhuwon Sthapit.

Bhuwon has been an esteemed colleague at Bioversity International for 20 years, since he started in 1997. His contributions to the conservation of agricultural biodiversity in situ and to participatory crop improvement have been world-leading, always putting farmers at the centre of his work.

Bhuwon leaves a legacy of participatory methods to assess and use agricultural biodiversity, participatory crop improvement, in situ and on-farm conservation, community-based biodiversity management, and community seedbanks. He has brought new insights and fresh ideas to our work and has been actively involved in training young researchers from around the world. In particular, Bhuwon worked continuously to strengthen and support the capacity and commitment of researchers in national programmes in support of the maintenance and use of agricultural biodiversity. On a personal level, Bhuwon has been a special colleague, mentor, and friend over the many years he worked for Bioversity International.

We will never forget his indomitable spirit, kindness, and intelligence and we join with many of his friends and colleagues from around the world and particularly those from Nepal and Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research, and Development (LI-BIRD) in mourning his loss.

Below we have collected messages from his friends and colleagues who will miss him dearly:

Bhuwon's passing hits us all hard. Not only was he a wonderful human being - warm and caring - he was a tremendously effective scientist and change-maker. The respect awarded to him by his colleagues in Nepal both in the NGO community and in government was a tribute to his ethics, his passion and his commitment. Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International

He has been a colleague, mentor, and friend over the many years he worked for Bioversity. We will never forget his indomitable spirit, kindness, and intelligence. In this moment of loss, we are with his family and wish them strength. Stephan Weise, Deputy Director General, Research, Bioversity International

Bhuwon was unparalleled in his commitment to agricultural biodiversity, community engagement and ownership. My thoughts and prayers to his family. We will miss you Bhuwon. Fabrice DeClerck, Programme Leader, Agrobiodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Bioversity International

He has been a great ambassador for Bioversity International. Farmers in the developing countries have very much benefited by his contribution in the area of in situ conservation of plant genetic resources in the form of farmers’ varieties, the establishment of community seedbanks and thus the strengthening of informal seed systems. Hanchinal RR, Consultant, Bioversity International

It is with a heavy heart we learned the sad demise of a friend, a guide, a gentleman and above all human being par excellence. His aura has left a lasting impact on biodiversity and its conservation. It was just amazing that he was active and interacting till a day or two ago, was in touch with friends on Facebook, encouraging every development in biodiversity and conservation. We in India, Nepal and South Asia needed him more than anyone but I am wrong, he was sought by all and with a smiling face he answered all sharing knowledge but keeping the pain to himself. Krishna Kumar Nallur, Regional Representative for South and Central Asia, Bioversity International

We have indeed lost a very dear colleague who has been a great ambassador for Bioversity International and has raised its reputation in the area of on-farm conservation and community base management of genetic resources. My thoughts are especially with his family and our team in Nepal. Ehsan Dulloo, Programme Leader, Conservation and Availability of Genetic Resources, Bioversity International