The Toni Hagen Foundation was set up in honor of the Swiss geologist and development philosopher Tony Hagen (1917-2003). Over the course of the 1950s and 60s, first as a Swiss development official and later as a United Nations expert, Toni Hagen trekked through a largely uncharted Nepal and wrote about its history, people, geography and economy of what till then was still a largely “forbidden” kingdom. He introduced Nepal to the world and to Nepalis.
Toni Hagen always sought to enhance Nepalis’ understanding of the physical, ethnographic, economic realities and demographic diversity of their country so Nepalis would address existing opportunities and challenges and take advantage of Nepal’s development potential.
The overarching goal of the Foundation, keeping in view the career and ethos of Toni Hagen, is to promote an understanding of Himalayan geography among the people of the Himalaya, particularly the youth. Geography, in this sense, is understood as a broad discipline including physical geography, economy, ethnography, culture and related areas. The Himalayas, in the definition of the Foundation, includes both the adjacent Terai plains to the south as well as sections of the Tibetan plateau in the North.
The Foundation supports publication and production of content and activities to enhance the knowledge base of the Himalayan region among young Nepalis. This includes support for documentary film production. The first group of films produced under the Toni Hagen Documentary Grant are “Blues of Pink” by Grishma Giri, “Chitrapuri Nagar” by Rajeela Shrestha, and “Gaine” by Pradeep Dhakal. The second batch of films comprise “The Cremation” by Nishon Shakya, “Lahureni” by Bishal Roka Magar and “Saparu” by Aditya Khadka. All grant projects are screened at kimff.