(8) We will continue to build more cooperative relationship - Ambassador Sakonhninhom
Category: AMBASSADORS’ FORUM
01 June 2013 - Her Excellency Malayvieng Sakonhninhom, Lao PDR Ambassador to the Philippines was at the Asian Institute of Management last 31ST May 2013 for the eight Ambassador’s Forum organized by the Center for Development Management. She provided insights on the economic development trends in Lao PDR, and developments on the Lao PDR-Philippines relations.
Ambassador Sakonhninhom has been posted in the Philippines since 2011 and still saddened by the fact that very few Filipinos know about her country. Thus, the Ambassador opened her keynote address with background information on Lao PDR and its foreign policies. Laos has been fighting for liberation and peace since the 18th century. After a long civil war that ended the constitutional monarchy under Sisavang Vong, the country established a single-party socialist republic in 1975. In 1986, the country undertook an open-door policy which aimed at improving the country’s economic condition. Being a landlocked country bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west, Laos PDR has always pursued the “foreign policy of peace, independence, friendship and cooperation.” Laos PDR has desires to be a land-linked nation by connecting to its neighboring countries and enhancing regional and international integration.
Ambassador Sakonhninhom related that Laos and Philippines have 58 years of diplomatic relations. There are now more than 500 Filipinos working in Laos mostly as professionals. Many more Filipino technical workers are expected to arrive in the country to work in the construction of a hydropower plant. However, the Ambassador has observed that there is no form of Filipino investment in Laos, and vice versa. In addition, information in trade and investment of the two countries are limited. The Ambassador hoped to contribute to changing this situation.
Although the two countries have little history of cooperation, as was also observed by Philippine President Aquino, there are initiatives to change this. Laos Prime Minister’s visit to the Philippines in May 2012 was seen by many as a critical initial step towards improving Laos-Philippines relations. There are planned activities and programs that will help build closer friendship and cooperation. Laos will soon host the first Joint Commission on bilateral cooperation in 2013; and is also arranging for the visit of President Choummaly Sayasone to the Philippines. Before ending her keynote address, the Ambassador thanked AIM Center for Development Management for organizing the forum which she believes can contribute to strengthening relations between Laos PDR and the Philippines.
Ambassador Sakonhninhom’s address was followed by an open forum. The audience, composed of officials from the different foreign diplomatic corps in the Philippines, members of the MDM Class of 2013 which includes Ambassador Sakonhninhom’s daughter Kor, MDM alumni and other guests, had several questions for the Ambassador. The questions focused mainly on Las PDR’s concrete plans to make the country from a land-locked to a land-linked nation; the Lao government’s programs to address issues on water supply, the MDG targets, water rights in the Mekong River, and eco-tourism development challenges.
Click here to read Business Mirror’s article on Ambassador Sakonhninhom, “Mother and Diplomat."
Click here to view the forum from our Youtube Channel.
Click here to view the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Signing betwen AIM and Lao PDR for the delivery of the Program for Senior Public Managers (PSPM) in Laos.
About the Ambassadors’ Forum @ AIM
The Ambassadors’ Forum @ AIM is a venue for the professional exchange of knowledge and skills related to international development issues and trends. Its objectives are : (1) to broaden the regional and global perspective of AIM students taking up both the Master in Development Management and the Masters in Business Management, (2) to provide a venue for the exchange of information for foreign ambassadors in Manila, and (3) to educate the community at large on internal relations and development issues and trends as they affect the Philippines and the region. Through the forum, ambassadors and embassy officials have been invited to discuss their countries’ views on Asian issues including political regimes, economics, finance, trade systems, demographics and migration, climate change and energy, strategic security, and world view.
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