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First 62 NUoL Australian Scholars Graduate

7 August 2015 - At a ceremony in Vientiane today, Australia’s Ambassador to the Lao PDR, John Williams, congratulated 62 young men and women graduating from the National University of Laos under an Australian scholarships program.

Ambassador Williams said the new graduates represented some of the best and brightest young people in Laos.  They were now armed with quality degrees, and ready to make a major contribution to the country’s socio-economic development – in business, education, agriculture and the environment. 

“Australia is delighted to be able to help young, talented Lao students from remote areas, or disadvantaged backgrounds, gain the knowledge, skills and qualifications they need to build rewarding and productive careers,” Williams said.  “I don’t think there is any more important area where Australia’s aid program could be working in the Lao PDR right now than in education, building on many years of Australian assistance in the sector.”

The Ambassador was joined at the ceremony by Mr Ketkeo Phanthanivong, Vice Dean of Letters Faculty and other representatives from the National University of Laos.

The graduates are the first batch to complete degrees under the Laos Australia National Scholarships (LANS) scheme that started in 2011.  Every year, up to 70 young Lao men and women from remote and disadvantaged areas receive support to attend university.  They mostly come from poor families who otherwise would not be able to support their further study.  The LANS program covers all their costs for four years of undergraduate study. 

Since 2011, the LANS program has provided scholarships to over 350 young men and women from different regions across Laos. In 2015, the program will be extended to Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang.

The Ambassador told the new graduates it was time for them to now focus on what they could do for Laos in their future careers. 

“This has been a major investment in each of you, so you can make your mark in support of Laos’ socio-economic development in the years ahead.  Don’t stop learning, and keep seeking new opportunities to grow and broaden your horizons,” he said.