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 Australia praises its Lao PDR Alumni

The Australian Embassy has celebrated the contribution of Australian Alumni to Lao-Australian relations and socio-economic development in Lao PDR.

The Australian Embassy’s annual alumni function was attended by over 300 former students, representatives from the governments of Australia and Lao PDR, Australian tertiary institutions, Australian volunteers, and the Australian Chamber of Commerce, Austcham.

Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Dave Vosen said the large cadre of Australian alumni in the Lao PDR were an asset for the country and for bilateral relations between Lao PDR and Australia.

“Many are now leading the Lao Government’s economic development agenda, whether in government, development organisations or in the private sector” he said.

This year, the Australian Embassy specifically recognised Australian alumni who studied in Australia outside the Australian Government’s scholarship program. Mr Vosen said Australia was very pleased that in recent years, an increasing number of Lao students have been able to study in Australia privately.

“Australia has a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading providers of international tertiary education in the world” Mr Vosen said. 

Mr Vosen highlighted Australia’s commitment to supporting education and human resource development in Laos and highlighted the risk that poor health and nutrition outcomes pose to Laos’ human development. As an example, he underscored the importance of breast feeding for improving child nutrition and development and encouraged employers to consider whether their workplaces provide a breastfeeding friendly environment for mothers.

Australian Alumni Ms Namchaythip Souvannavong, Ms Souphanchan Khamsila and Ms Bouphanmany Chounramany reiterated the importance of breastfeeding and discussed some of the challenges experienced by working mothers of newborn babies.

Applications for Australia Award Scholarships for 2015 are currently open, closing on 30 April. The Australian Embassy encourages people interested in applying for a scholarship to visit www.australiaawardslaos.org for further information about the scholarship application process.