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New Australian Scholarships for Disadvantaged Lao Students

Australia extended further its long-standing support for Laos’ human resource development with the award of 58 new undergraduate scholarships for National University of Laos students at a ceremony at the Dong Dok campus last week.

These new scholarship recipients will join over 280 students at the National University of Laos and Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang already pursuing undergraduate degrees under the Laos Australia National Scholarships (LANS) program.

The awards were presented by Australia’s Ambassador to Lao PDR, John Williams, together with Dr. Houngphet Chanthavong, Vice President of the National University of Laos.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Ambassador Williams said the LANS program was an important part of Australia’s support for Laos’ human resource development goals. Now in its 7th year, the program was helping the Lao PDR take advantage of its vibrant, young population and unlock the power of education for socio-economic development.

“Australia is delighted to help young, talented Lao students from disadvantaged backgrounds gain the knowledge, skills and qualifications they need to build rewarding and productive careers and contribute to the Lao PDR economy,” Mr Williams said.

This year LANS has increased its focus on providing opportunities for people with a disability. Of the 58 students receiving scholarships for the National University, 15 are Lao Government quota students who are supported by the University’s Braille Centre.

Mr Williams said the Australian Government was proud to provide additional assistance to students with a disability to help overcome barriers that make it hard to achieve at school.

The 58 fortunate young men and women were selected from hundreds of high-achieving applicants. They will pursue diverse careers in areas such as architecture, agriculture, engineering and environmental management – areas vital for Laos’ economic development.  

One such recipient is Phemsouvanh Rebanghieng, born to a farming family from Dukjeung district in Xekong province. Despite poverty and family hardship, Phemsouvanh was determined to study at the National University of Laos, and is now studying for a bachelor degree in architecture.  

“I am so happy to receive support from LANS. This support will help me become an architect. I always wanted to design a proper school for the students in my village. They study in a classroom without walls. I also want to design a proper health centre for poor villages,” said Phemsouvanh.

Ambassador Williams encouraged the LANS students to work hard, build connections with peers, and open their minds to new opportunities. He hoped after four years they would proudly return to their home regions, and continue to help their families and communities.

Every year, Australia offers LANS scholarships for around 70 students from provincial areas to study at the National University of Laos and Souphanouvong University.

The award covers tuition fees, a monthly stipend, home travel, extra tuition in English and other subjects, and other university costs.

Applications open every September and more information can be obtained from the Laos Australia Institute at 021 265721  or