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Rai, second from right, with members of the Group

Rai, second from right, with members of the Group

The Harvard Alumni Group of Nepal hosted its monthly meeting on May 10, 2016 in Kathmandu, which featured a talk by Milan Rai, a young artist from Nepal who participated in the South Asia Institute’s Visiting Artist Program in 2016. He discussed his “White Butterfly” project.

Rai is an accomplished artist, who found his gift for painting and sketching following a painful stint with drugs and gang fighting when he was young. He dropped out of school, but kept moving forward. He began to seek out professional opportunities to improve his skills. He worked on figurative and landscape painting, and then abstract paintings utilizing a myriad of disciplines and media. His first solo exhibition was in 2007 at Park Gallery. He then moved beyond the gallery system and became a self-representing artist.

Once while he was working in 2013, a butterfly fluttered into his studio and sat on the paintbrush he was holding. He was so impressed by the butterfly that he stopped paintings and started a campaign called “The White Butterfly.” His simple mission was to paste paper cutouts of white butterflies in public places.  Within three years the white butterfly cutouts have spread all over the world – 40 countries and counting. Mr. Rai said that he feels blessed to see millions of people across the globe using the white butterfly campaign for peace and harmony: from young children to old, from peaceful lands to the countries with conflicts, and including many races and ethnic groups.

Through these millions of white butterflies, Mr. Rai wants to convey a very simple message: “It is just an expression of love.” Love for humanity and human lives.

The talk was followed by an interactive session with comments and questions from the distinguished participants. Bhojraj Pokhrel, coordinator of the Group, thanked Mr. Rai for the talk. Mr. Pokharel then praised Mr. Rai’s contribution in creating sense of peace and hope in a depressing world.

The Harvard Alumni Group in Nepal, with more than 35 active members, has recently been reactivated. The group’s goal is to serve as an interactive platform for proactive discussions on topical issues of national and global importance, as well as to promote professional networking among the alumni community in Nepal.

For questions about the group, please contact Bhojraj Pokharel,


Learn more about the White Butterfly project: