March 21, 2018

Lao expatriates pledge support for development efforts

By:  Somxay Sengdara, Vientiane Times, March 19, 2018

Ethnic Lao who now live overseas have pledged to do more to unify Lao communities in their countries, as well as preserving their original national identity and supporting the government’s policy of people-based diplomacy.

Representatives of ethnic Lao from France, Canada, and the United States relayed these pledges when addressing the ordinary plenary meeting of the Lao Front for National Development Committee last week.

A Front Committee member from France, Mr Souvanlang Phetchanpheng, told attendees that ethnic Lao living in France had overcome the difficulties they had encountered since 1975.

“We, the Lao people in France from the generation of our parents to the generations of children and grandchildren, have been able to overcome difficulties and have sufficiently adapted to the environment in France,” Mr Souvanlang said.

“Despite that, we love the country of our birth and the unity of the Lao nation is enshrined in our hearts,” he added.

Mr Souvanlang described the pride of the Lao community in France over their Lao identity and their love for the Lao way of life.

This was reflected in their heartfelt efforts to build solidarity and correct the misunderstanding by some people concerning the Party and government’s direction and policies.

Mr Souvanlang said the Lao community in France gathered together personally and in groups to celebrate festivals and weddings, which also served to build strong relationships between Lao and foreigners, while preserving Lao traditions and unity.

“These activities also provide an opportunity for foreigners to learn about our customs and traditions, and the Lao government’s foreign policy,” he added.

The majority of Lao people in France would like to return to Laos, he said, and wanted to use what they had learnt and experienced to help develop and protect Laos.

With regard to ethnic Lao living in Canada, Front Committee member Mr Phoungeun Si-Anothay highlighted their regular mutual visits and meetings through the activities of various Lao organisations.

These included a Lao New Year party at the Lao Embassy in Washington D.C., the United States, a dinner party held by the Lao Sports Solidarity Association, the Lao-Khmer dinner friendship party, Boun Phra Vet festival, Lao people’s summer party in Quebec, musical gatherings, and charity dinner parties.

Activities undertaken by the Lao Front in the United States have raised the profile of Laos there, according to a Front Committee member from the USA, Dr Sam Bliatou.

He said many Lao expatriates living in the United States had been thinking of and wanted to visit and run a business in their motherland.

Dr Sam said he met with people in the United States to explain the progress of socio-economic development in Laos. He had passed on the Lao government hotline number 1516 and advised them to call this number if they had any problems while they were in Laos.

“Our activities have boosted their confidence and pride about visiting Laos and some people are interested in doing business here,” Dr Sam said.

He said he was proud to undertake the duties assigned to him by the Lao Front.

During his visit to Laos, Dr Sam gave a presentation to the Lao Front about his research on a complex economic project.

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