Ophakorn’s family are originally from Savannakhet and Luang Namtha provinces, however he was born in Ukraine while his parents were overseas studying at the University in Kharkiv.
At the age of six he was fortunate to accompany his father to study in Sydney, Australia and experienced two years of primary education there. On return to Laos, he enjoyed learning English at Vientiane Secondary School.
Ophakorn explains “I have been an ambitious and persistent person since my teenage years, I always dreamt of getting a scholarship one day, especially an Australia Awards Scholarship as my father was a former recipient.”
With that dream in mind, Ophakorn worked hard at school, taking on many supplementary classes such as English, Japanese, Physics, Mathematics and learning to play musical instruments. Outside of class, Ophakorn developed his leadership skills by serving as the vice president of the student union and participated in numerous youth leadership exchange programs, including the ASJA Youth Program in Japan, the South East Asia Young Leadership Program in the United States, and the Sunburst Youth Camp in Singapore.
In 2014 his application for the Australia Awards Scholarship was successful and he was able to pursue an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering at the University of New South Wales. Ophakorn also found time to study entrepreneurship development studies at the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship.
He explains “Studying in Australia was one of the most important life experiences that opened up opportunities for me.”
Joining a tech startup group while at University in Australia gave Ophakorn the confidence to found Xiang Miang Lab in 2020 when he returned to Laos and then MakerBox Lao in 2021, the first public makerspace in Laos promoting Science Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) education and community of makers.
Ophakorn believes that innovation and entrepreneurship are the key elements to unlock the development potential of Laos and further established XM Technovator, specializing in digital transformation for government, business, and youth development programs in digital entrepreneurship. Partnering with the Ministry of Technology and Communications, they delivered ASEAN digital education workshops and provided training to more than 7100 young people since 2020.
International Youth Day
Ophakorn believes International Youth Day is a special day to celebrate the significant contribution of young people and emphasizes the importance of increasing their participation in all sectors, investing in their education and skills development. He encourages young Lao people to pursue their life goals, broaden their experiences through volunteering projects, international exchange programs and put their creative ideas into practice. Ophakorn strongly recommends that “Lao Youth should focus on developing their emotional intelligence, persistence and critical thinking skills to better solve the problems facing our society”.