Khem Lakai is Founder and CEO of GATE (Global Academy of Tourism and Hospitality Education) College. Established in 2007 and accredited by hotelleriesuisse, Swiss Hotel Association (SHA), GATE provides Higher Diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management and vocational courses in Culinary Arts, Bakery and Barista. Besides providing leadership to this award-winning institution, Mr. Lakai is actively involved in uplifting and revolutionizing tourism and hospitality education and innovation ecosystem in Nepal. He also serves as Chapter President for Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality Alumni; Ambassador of Nepal for World Innovation Forum and mentor at Nepali Emerging Leaders Program.
In this podcast interview, we talked to him about his education approach at GATE- how he is blending best international practices with our culture and traditions of hospitality; why we should embrace change to provide the best education for our youth even if it needs going beyond the narrow constraints of the existing curriculum and why he sends his students for international internships so that they go out of their comfort zone. Mr. Lakai laments that most students of this generation are sheltered by their protective parents who themselves had a very tough life. He stresses that every generation has to go through their share of struggles (आ-आफ्नो भागको दु:ख ) to grow as wholesome individuals.
GATE College also teaches and graduates international students. Based on this experience and his overall international educational and professional experience, he believes that Nepal can be a destination of world-class education for international students if we can reduce bureaucratic hassles and provide a basic level of pollution free environment.
Having started his career journey working in a law firm and then quitting it, he feels fortunate to discover hospitality education eventually- as it is the perfect match with his interests and personality. A believer of ‘abundant mentality’, he says that since we all are unique and diverse, there are as unique and diverse careers and trajectories. We can all cooperate to bring the best in each of us and our education and media should play a constructive role in this collective development.