Retired U.S. Ambassador Still Serves

Retired U.S. Ambassador Still Serves

An effort to carry out dreams and fulfill his wish for children.

— On Wed. Sept. 1 and Thur. Sept 2 retired career diplomat and three-time U.S. Ambassador Scott DeLisi, Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, Engage Nepal, presented an art show and sale of more than 50 original paintings donated by artists of Uganda and Nepal. Held at Reston Art Gallery and Studios, Lake Anne Plaza his goal was to raise funds for Covid Crisis Relief efforts in Nepal.

"For the past year and a half, that's all we've done," DeLisi said. He explained that the nonprofit provided oxygen concentrators, PPEs, testing kits, diagnostic equipment to read the tests, and all sorts of other things. They also sought to build partnerships with other like-minded organizations. "Always, one way or another, you try to move forward," DeLisi said.

He told of a community hospital in Thimi, outside Kathmandu, Nepal's capital, and how its people inspired him. DeLisi questioned how best to help the community, determine who was most vulnerable and help children at risk. DeLisi said he realized that the same as many places in the United States, they saw the number of COVID pediatric cases increasing considerably.

"We're seeing the same thing starting in Nepal," said DeLisi. Recalling a report he saw from 2018, DeLisi noted there were only 93 pediatric intensive care beds in the entire country of Nepal.

"Ninety-three, and there are nine million children 14 years of age and under," said DeLisi. You do the math. You know it's not a good picture."

"If we work with one community hospital and build a pediatric intensive care unit and show what they can do."

DeLisi said Engage Nepal funded the first dozen beds for the intensive care unit. Now they are looking for the equipment. They are developing some great partners, but he had learned from experience, "raising money is tough. … It's reaching out every day," DeLisi said.

DeLisi was thrilled and grateful to receive grants. The organization has survived for five years and grown "because so many good people have not only opened their hearts but their wallets.”

Looking back over his 35 plus years in service to the United States, DeLisi joined as a young man fresh out of law school because he needed a job and didn't want to practice law. He quickly learned that this was about service to the nation and service to a set of values and beliefs that mattered.

"That service defines you… It doesn't go away…It becomes that question, how do we engage the world. Every one of us, every day, has a choice," said DeLisi. "A lot of this is about making an effort; it's about trying. You hope for the best, but if it doesn't work out, you try again." Engage Nepal