Behind the Scenes: Fusemachines Head of Strategy & MD- South Asia Parag Shrestha on AI Empowerment in Nepal through AI fellowship

Safal Thapa
Fellowship program 2024

Welcome to the exciting world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Nepal! As AI opportunities grow across healthcare, agriculture, finance and more, the potential for AI to transform lives is undeniable. How can AI enthusiasts in Nepal tap into this potential?

The Fusemachines AI Fellowship Program is a transformative initiative designed to empower Nepalese youth. Today, we chat with Parag Shrestha, Head of Strategy & MD- South Asia at Fusemachines. Parag understands the aspirations and challenges faced by young minds in Nepal and envisions this program as a vehicle for fostering a vibrant AI ecosystem that drives progress and empowers Nepal’s future.

Let’s get started!

Q. How do you perceive the current AI landscape in Nepal, and what potential career opportunities do you see for individuals with AI expertise?

In recent years, AI adoption has surged across sectors, from healthcare to finance, despite infrastructure limitations and awareness gaps.

For AI professionals, opportunities abound. Imagine crafting AI solutions that diagnose diseases in remote villages, optimize crop yields for small farmers, or personalize learning experiences for students across Nepal. Startups are growing, multinationals are establishing R&D centers, and the government is promoting AI adoption.

Challenges persist, such as limited access to computing resources and specialized training. Nevertheless, initiatives like our AI Fellowship Program are addressing these gaps, equipping talented individuals with the skills to excel. I see a future where Nepalese AI experts are sought-after, driving innovation to address local challenges and propel Nepal forward. It’s an exciting time to be part of Nepal’s AI journey, and with passion and dedication, your career could be transformative.

Q. From your perspective, what are the biggest opportunities and challenges of AI adoption in Nepal?

Nepal’s AI journey is exciting, but it’s not without its hurdles. Let’s look at the key areas:


  • Untapped potential: Nepal has a young, eager population enthusiastic about AI. Government support and industries such as healthcare and finance offer fertile ground for AI applications.
  • Real-world impact: AI can directly address Nepal’s challenges in healthcare, education, and resource management. Imagine early disease detection, personalized learning, and data-driven resource allocation.
  • Global talent: Nepalese with AI expertise will be in high demand globally. Programs like our AI Fellowship equip them with the skills to contribute to both Nepal’s progress and the rest of the world. 


  • Limited infrastructure: Access to high-performance computing and reliable internet can be limited. This needs to be addressed for widespread AI adoption.
  • Skill gap: While talent exists, specialized AI training is scarce. The AI Fellowship Program plays a crucial role in equipping individuals with the necessary skills to excel.
  • Awareness and adoption: Raising awareness of AI’s benefits and encouraging its adoption across sectors is essential. Collaboration between government, education, and industry is key.

Challenges are stepping stones with the right approach. The opportunities outweigh the hurdles, and programs like our AI Fellowship are paving the way for a thriving AI ecosystem in Nepal.

Q. Can you tell us about Fusemachines’ mission to democratize AI and how it aligns with the AI Fellowship Program in Nepal?

At Fusemachines, we believe AI shouldn’t be a privilege. It has the potential to transform lives and societies, and everyone deserves the opportunity to contribute. 

Here’s how it directly reflects our mission to democratize AI: 

  • Financial barriers are eliminated: Full scholarships ensure talented individuals can access world-class AI education no matter their background.
  • Quality education matters: Our comprehensive curriculum, delivered by industry experts, equips fellows with practical skills and knowledge to succeed in AI.
  • Diversity is our strength: The program welcomes talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, fostering an inclusive AI ecosystem that thrives on different perspectives.

The impact is already visible. Many fellows have joined us at Fusemachines (and other top tech companies) after completing the program, bringing their unique skills and perspectives to our team.

Q. What makes the AI Fellowship program unique and valuable for aspiring AI professionals in Nepal?

Our AI Fellowship program in Nepal is known for its personalized guidance, real-world projects, and community engagement, offering aspiring AI professionals the opportunity to develop skills and connections. With expert support, participants tackle technical challenges and shape their career paths while working on practical projects. This program serves as a launchpad, equipping fellows with skills, connections, and confidence.

Q. What excites you most about the new cohort of fellows joining the Fusemachines AI Fellowship 2024?

Applications for the Fusemachines AI Fellowship 2024 Program are pouring in, each one sparking more and more anticipation. Why? Because of the immense potential I see in this upcoming cohort.

This anticipation stems from the incredible journeys of previous fellows. Each year, we’ve witnessed individuals from diverse backgrounds transform into talented AI professionals driven by a deep desire to contribute to Nepal’s progress. Their stories and achievements ignite a sense of possibility and inspire us to continue nurturing exceptional talent.

Our program thrives on its supportive community spirit. Previous cohorts have formed lasting bonds, mentoring and learning from each other. This year, I expect similar connections to blossom, creating a network that empowers individual growth and fuels collective success.

Q. On a personal level, what does seeing the fellows grow and succeed mean to you and the Fusemachines team?

It’s an amazing experience. We see a reflection of ourselves in their passion, talent, and dedication. Their success becomes our own, fueled by shared learning, growth, and a collective impact that transcends just a job. It’s a personal mission we’re deeply honored to be a part of, alongside each and every fellow.

Fusemachines was built on a mission to democratize AI. We want to see its potential unlocked by everyone, regardless of background. Witnessing fellows break barriers and flourish reminds us why we do what we do. It’s not just about technical training. It’s about opening doors and creating opportunities that would not have existed before.

Each fellow’s journey involves personal growth, technical mastery, and newfound confidence. Watching this unfold fills us with a sense of purpose and pride. Their success isn’t just a personal win; it’s a collective one, pushing the boundaries of AI in Nepal and paving the way for a brighter future where technology serves everyone.

Q. Where do you see the AI Fellowship Program in 10 years, and how do you anticipate it will influence the trajectory of AI in Nepal?

In 10 years, we envision our AI Fellowship Program as a leading force in shaping Nepal’s AI landscape. Here’s how we see it influencing the trajectory alongside similar initiatives:

Expanding reach and impact: With continued support and collaboration, we aim to increase the program’s reach, nurturing talent from even more diverse backgrounds and remote locations within Nepal. This will create a wider pool of skilled AI professionals, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable AI ecosystem.

Deepening industry partnerships: We believe in fostering stronger collaborations with leading AI companies and organizations in Nepal and beyond. This will provide fellows with real-world exposure, mentorship opportunities, and job placements.

Evolving curriculum and projects: The program will continuously adapt its curriculum to stay at the forefront of AI advancements. Additionally, we’ll focus on collaborative projects tackling Nepal-specific challenges in healthcare, agriculture, and environmental sustainability.

Building a national AI network: The program will continue as a hub for the growing AI community, connecting fellows, alumni, and industry professionals. This network will foster knowledge sharing, collaboration, and joint initiatives.

Influencing national AI strategy: We hope the program’s success and the impact of our fellows will contribute to the development of a national AI strategy for Nepal. This strategy could prioritize responsible AI development, address ethical considerations, and ensure AI benefits all sectors and communities.

Similar initiatives across Nepal play a crucial role in complementing and amplifying our efforts. We actively seek collaboration, knowledge sharing, and joint ventures to collectively empower Nepal’s AI talent. 

Q. What final message would you like to share with anyone considering applying to the program?

To anyone considering the AI Fellowship Program, I want to extend a heartfelt welcome. We understand embarking on a new journey can be both exciting and daunting, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

The program provides more than just technical training. It’s a community of passionate individuals driven by a desire to learn, grow, and contribute to Nepal’s future. We believe in nurturing potential and creating a space where curiosity and collaboration thrive.

If you are eager to explore AI, have a desire to learn and challenge yourself, listen to your curiosity, and consider applying for the fellowship program.