The United States, Brunei and Laos will provide English language training to Lao officials to help them prepare for Laos’ chairmanship of ASEAN in 2016. U.S. Ambassador to the Lao PDR. Daniel A. Clune, Bruneian Ambassador to the Lao PDR. Emran Bahar, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ ASEAN Department Mr. Phongsavanh Sisoulath, and Director General of the Institute of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Yong Chanthalangsy announced the expansion of the ongoing Brunei – U.S. English Language Enrichment Project for ASEAN at the U.S. Embassy last week.
The expanded program will bring two additional English Language Fellows, one from the United States, and one from Brunei, who will arrive in Laos in early January to train between 150 – 200 security and liaison officials from the Lao government over a 10 month period.
Laos will serve as the ASEAN chair in 2016, and in that capacity will host the ASEAN and East Asian Summits in 2016, along with other high level meetings, which will see hundreds of international delegations visit Laos over the year. The English Language Fellows will help Lao security and liaison officials effectively communicate in English with professional counterparts from other countries. English is the primary language of engagement among ASEAN members, and there is a strong need for the government officials to have a good command of English in order to carry out their professional duties and for Laos to have a successful year as ASEAN chair.
The Lao Security and Liaison Officials program is an expansion of the existing Brunei-U.S. English-Language Enrichment Program for ASEAN, now entering its third year, which has trained officials from various Lao ministries at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Institute of Foreign Affairs. The program strengthens ASEAN integration by building English language capacity, promoting greater awareness of the rich cultural diversity, and facilitating communication between teacher-trainers, officers and diplomats in the region.