The U.S. Embassy and the Ministry of Public Works & Transport successfully concluded a series of four seminars aimed at improving specialized English skills for Lao officials working on health, environment, and infrastructure issues. In total, 111 Lao officials from various Ministries received training on English communication skills during the program, which began in February 2012.

Over the course of four two-week seminars, 72 Lao officials received English training on topics related to infrastructure at the Ministry of Public Works & Transport Training Center (PTTC) in Vientiane. At the same time, 39 Lao officials traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam for English training on Health and Environment topics. In addition, more than 25 officials from the governments of Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, travelled to Laos to attend English training at the PTTC. All funding for the program was provided by the U.S. Embassy through the Lower Mekong Initiative of the U.S. State Department.

The fours seminars that were conducted in Laos were all related to infrastructure issues. The topics included watershed management, road and bridge construction, river navigation, and intelligent transportation systems.

During each seminar, the participants learned how to write a press release and project abstract, role-played round table discussions and problem solving, recorded a podcast and created and presented a PowerPoint presentation based on their current professional projects. In addition, they honed their listening skills through viewing of video presentations and listening to podcasts.

The seminars were led by “Rocky” Peltzman, an English Language Fellow working for the U.S. State Department in conjunction with U.S. Embassy Vientiane. She was assisted by Mr. Thanousone Boualapha, and Ms. Vanida Laungthepxayavong. Overall supervision for the project was provided by Mr. Thongchan Boualapha, Acting Director of the PTTC.

The Professional Communication Skills for Leaders program grew out of the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), an effort by the U.S. government to increase regional cooperation among the four Lower Mekong nations in the areas of education, environment, health and infrastructure. The program was designed to give officials from the Lower Mekong countries of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam the specialized English skills they need to be effective in meetings, presentations and workshops.


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