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Australia celebrates ongoing ties with Lao PDR

 

LAI Alumni Friendship Dinner

 

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.