Sixteen years ago, Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was a student at Harvard, where he lived in Quincy House, joined the Fox Club, and studied economics and American government.
Today, he is King of Nepal, and next week he will return to his alma mater for the first time since assuming the Himalayan nation's throne.
The monarch and his entourage of 20 will spend next Monday as a guest of the University, attending a special exhibition on Nepalese urban restoration at the Carpenter Center and a dinner in his honor hosted by President Bok.
The visit is the fourth stop on an eight-city tour for Birendra and Nepal's queen, Aishwarya Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah. The royal couple will also meet President Reagan and other government officials in Washington, tour Epcot Center in Orlando, attend a Cowboy-Redskins game in Dallas, and visit Mayor Andrew Young in Atlanta.
Zone of Peace
The principal reason for Birendra's trip is to propose that the United States recognize Nepal as a "zone of peace" and pledge not to establish any military bases in the nation. More than 30 countries, including England, China, Israel, and Egypt, have endorsed the proposal.
The Carpenter Center show is based on a study of a historic square in the ancient Nepalese city of Patan, conducted by Hooker Professor of Visual Arts Eduard F. Sekler. Sponsored in part by the United Nations and Birendra's government, the project examines ways to keep traffic and construction from destroying the square.
Birendra became king in 1972. Six years earlier, in order to prepare himself for the throne, he wandered Incognito through Nepal, "sleeping in huts, cottages, dusty school buildings, and the open air," according to the Nepalese Embassy.