The Public Diplomacy Section is responsible for press, culture, and education programs for the Embassy. With cooperation from other sections within the Embassy, the Public Diplomacy Section uses all available USG products and services to promote mutual understanding, provide accurate information about American values, culture and institutions, and foster enduring institutional and personal linkages between Laos and the U.S.
We do this in a number of ways.
The Public Diplomacy Section has primary responsibility for responding to all media enquiries posed to the Embassy by Lao or foreign journalists. PDS works with other sections of the Embassy to get media placement of all USG funded or supported programs in Laos. By promoting Embassy activities we are creating a foundation of trust with the Lao people. The Public Diplomacy Section maintains contact with both Lao and regional correspondents. We provide Lao government officials with information about U.S. policies, trends, American life and institutions.
Exchanges: PDS sends Lao officials and students to the U.S. for short and extended periods of study through several exchange programs. We administer the International Visitors, Voluntary Visitors, American studies Summer Institute, and the Southeast Asian Summer Institute programs. PDS offers Lao students the chance to pursue advanced studies in the United States through the Fulbright Scholarship and Humphrey Fellowship programs.
English Teaching: We support English language and American Studies instruction at the university and teacher college levels. PDS places English language tele-courses on Lao National Television and Lao National Radio to encourage English language studies. We also fund the translation of selected American works into Lao.
Conferences/Speakers: We fund and organize speakers programs that support Mission goals. The speaker program to promotes U.S. values and establish institutional and personal ties between the U.S. and Laos. Recent speakers have discussed distance education, information technology, and health care. U.S. journalists conduct training with Lao media in Vientiane as well as the provinces.
Student Advising Services: PDS maintains a student advising reference collection. We offer assistance in the registration and administration of the TOEFL test for admission to U.S. schools.
Cultural Programs: PDS organizes the visits of American musicians to promote cross-cultural understanding. Examples include jazz vocalist Coco York and the Mike del Ferro Trio who performed at the National Culture Hall in May 2002. The 2001 Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation–which provides funds to preserve important local heritage sites–was used for a survey and signage at the Keohintang Archaeological Park in Houaphan Province.
The Public Diplomacy Section also houses the AC, which provides specialized, substantive, and accurate reference and research information about the United States, its people and its policies. The American Center @ThatDam responds to inquiries from Embassy employees, government officials, academics, members of the media, and private citizens.