Alumni Activity Interest Survey 2020
Australia celebrates ongoing ties with Lao PDR
Australia and Laos have a long history of close cooperation, and this month the two countries celebrated a number of significant milestones in their relationship with a special Friendship Dinner for around 50 senior government, private sector and non-government Australian alumni in Vientiane, including H.E. Mr Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Mme Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun, Minister of Education and Sports.
2019 marks the 67th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Lao PDR and Australia, as well as the 25th anniversary of the opening of the first Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge funded by Australia, and the 45th anniversary of Australia becoming ASEAN’s first dialogue partner. This is also the year of Australia Now ASEAN 2019 – Australia’s campaign to promote better understanding between Australia and our closest neighbours.
Significantly, this year is also the 65th anniversary of Australia providing scholarships to Laos. Since 1954, more than two thousand alumni have returned to Laos after studying in Australia under long-term scholarships, short courses or private study. These alumni play a pivotal role in the longstanding and productive relationship between the two countries, by providing a bridge of mutual understanding and contributing to shaping the future of Laos.
The Australian Government is a long-term partner for human resource development in Laos, with annual Australia Awards Scholarships for Lao professionals and other scholarships and training in the defense, agriculture, education, and home affairs sectors.
The Australian Embassy also supports a program of engagement for alumni on return, including an annual Australian alumni celebration planned for December 2019. The Australian Embassy welcomes feedback from Australian alumni on engagement with the Australian Government, to continually improve opportunities for Australian alumni in Laos.
68 Fresh Graduates with the Support of the Lao-Australian National Scholarship Program (LANS)
In July 2019, with great pleasure and anticipation of their future achievement, Australia congratulates 68 fresh graduates. With the support of the Lao-Australian National Scholarship Program (LANS), 48 have graduated from the National University of Laos (NUOL) and 20 from Souphanouvong University (SU).
On 12 July 2019, a presentation ceremony was held at NUOL. In attendance were H.E. Mr Jean Bernard Carrasco, the Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR, Ms. Sophie Wilkinson, Second Secretary at the Australian Embassy in Laos and Associate Professor Dr. Houngphet Chanthavong, the Vice-President of the University.
At the same event, 23 teachers and the LANS Support Officer at NUOL also received certificates of achievement for their attendance in 10 Workshops of Soft Skills Curriculum Training from March 2018 – May 2019. The training, for introduction of a new curriculum in Job Readiness, Study Skills and Life Skills, is part of the LANS students’ Academic Support Program (ASP), was organised at both partnering universities to ensure consistent and high-quality teaching practice and mutual support.
Apart from students’ basic costs for tuition, living and study expenses, LANS awardees also received free courses, including English, IT, job readiness and other necessary life skills managed by the LANS Academic Support Program.
In addition, three trainings were organised from February through April 2019 at NUOL to support 24 students who are visually impaired. These trainings enable LANS teachers to provide learning and exam materials to students with visual impairment.
After graduating from the university, LANS alumni will continue to benefit from a larger network of support from the Lao Australia Alumni.
Since 2011, the LANS program has supported 586 students from remote and economically disadvantaged districts in Laos, including 44 students living with disabilities, to successfully undertake their Bachelor Degree studies at NUOL and SU. More than 260 students have completed their studies in the past four years. Currently, 205 students are still studying at NUOL and 81 at Souphanouvong University. In her address to the students Ms. Wilkinson commented that the skills, knowledge and qualifications that these students have gained will enable them to build their eligibility for future careers and further studies overseas.
For intake 2019, LANS are expected to be provided for up to 70 new Awardees. Around 50 scholarships will be available for students at NUOL, and 20 for Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang. The program will continue to target priority disadvantaged districts (including ethnic groups), for studies in priority areas of study and people living with disability. Applications for the 2019-2020 academic year will open on September 2 and will close on September 30, 2019.
HR Tech Forum 2019
For the third year in a row, Government, private sector and civil society human resource (HR) managers have come together for a unique international networking and knowledge-sharing event in Vientiane designed by two Lao Australian alumni, and proudly supported by the Australian Government.
Attended by 175 people, the HR Forum 2019 focused on the synergies between HR and technology, and brought together HR experts from Laos, Australia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
The HR Forum is the brainchild of two Australia Awards Alumni, Sittiphone Thapesuphanh of Karuna and Thiphaphone Phetmany of Enterprise & Development Consultants Co. Ltd (EDC), and received support from the Australian Government which has a long history of support to human resource development in Laos. The Ministry of Education and Sports and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) also co-hosted the forum.
The HR Tech Forum 2019 was targeted to guide micro, small and medium sized companies or organisations in moving from traditional human resource management and development tools to affordable technologies. The forum provided insights about employing HR technology in both the national and international context, and targeted managers working in both the business and development sectors.
The forum also provided three breakout sessions in its afternoon’s program to provide participants the opportunity for more in depth discussion with visiting experts. Participants struggled to choose between three simultaneous sessions on organisational development and human resource management using accessible, free of charge and affordable applications and websites. Afterwards, participants said the forum gave them in-depth knowledge about human resources and technology available to enhance human resource management within the workplace.
The event organising committee comprised of Karuna, Enterprise & Development Consultants Co., Ltd (EDC), Austcham Lao PDR, the Australian Embassy, and the Laos Australia Institute. The committee would like to extend their great appreciation to the gold sponsors, Vientiane College, and CS Intellect for their support.