Cablegate: International Education "Week" in Laos


DE RUEHVN #0876 3391026
R 051026Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: International Education "Week" in Laos

REF: STATE 121893

1. Summary: Embassy Vientiane hosted a number of events to mark
International Education Week throughout the month of November,
including public speaking workshops, video presentations at the
Faculty of Engineering, a lunch hosted by the Ambassador for
National University deans and vice-deans, presentations on studying
in the U.S., the rollout of a new undergraduate scholarship program,
and educational advising activities at the largest cultural festival
in Laos. End Summary.

2. Post chose "International Education" as the theme for activities
at the American Center during the month of November. On November 8,
more than 30 students from the Lao-American College attended a
workshop on public speaking led by Amy Archibald, the Public Affairs
Officer at the U.S. Embassy. In preparation for a speech contest
later in the month, the workshop was designed to provide students
with some hints and tips on how to organize a speech, prepare to get
up in front of an audience, and look confident...even when they are
not. We held the speech contest for students on November 28, with
the topic of "Going Abroad to Study English." Registration for the
25 slots filled quickly. The judges were extremely impressed with
the poise and creativity of the students, especially considering
that they were speaking in public in a second language.

3. Taking our theme on the road, the PD section went to the Faculty
of Engineering. On November 9, more than 100 students and staff at
the National University's Faculty of Engineering watched Dr. Edward
C. Stone's video presentation about the satellite Voyager and its
journey through space. Dr. Stone, a professor and leading
reseQr at the California Institute of Technology's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, used film and enhanced photographs to explain
storms, volcanoes, and quarks in the solar system. He also showed
how the sun and solar system are related, and what the moon can tell
us about the history of space.

4. During the "week" itself, Ambassador Ravic Huso hosted a lunch
at his residence for National University deans and vice deans.
Guests from the Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Letters, Faculty of
Education and Faculty of Engineering came to meet the new Ambassador
and discuss the state of higher education in Laos. Conversation
ranged from the challenges of teaching entrepreneurship in Laos to
the pros and cons of the No Child Left Behind Act. Later that week,
Post Education Advisor Vimol Dalaloy presented an overview of
studying in the U.S. for 15 students. The group discussed the U.S.
education system, how to apply to schools, the time line of applying
to schools, and the admission process. In addition, she showed the
students some of the financial aid books that are available at the

6. Post briefed deans at the National University and Lao American
College about the new UGRAD scholarship for undergraduates program
throughout the month. This will be the first U.S.
Government-sponsored scholarship for undergraduates in Laos, and
could double the number of students going to American universities
on USG programs. Since the deadline for nominations is in early
February, we encouraged the deans to help us recruit academically
strong students with good leadership qualities and excellent English
skills. We gave them materials to explain the program and laid out
the procedures for registration and applications. We hope to have
15-20 good candidates for the scholarship by the end of January.

7. Finally, Post took advantage of the crowds and opportunities for
outreach presented by the annual That Luang cultural festival in
Laos. More than two thousand people from around the country visited
the U.S. Embassy booth during the festival, November 17 - 25. This
is the biggest festival in Laos, celebrating the unity of the
country and its Buddhist heritage. As always, the booth included
displays on U.S. Government-sponsored scholarships, materials on
studying in the United States, and information on the American
Center and Embassy website. We also distributed books and pamphlets
with information about the United States economy and government and
sold English study materials at greatly reduced prices.

8. For more information about our public events, please visit the
"highlights" section of our website at .


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