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The Indonesian Embassy in Vientiane brings Closer relations between Indonesia and Laos

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Diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Laos have been established since 1957. Both countries have good relations because of lots of similarities between them, such as their equally diverse ethnic backgrounds and historical similarities as countries that were free from Western colonialism. This was conveyed by Indonesian Ambassador to Laos, Grata Endah Werdaningtyas in an interview broadcast by RRI Voice of Indonesia on Tuesday (13/2). Ambassador Grata has pointed out that Indonesia has created a cooperation program with Laos to strengthen relations of both countries, such as a scholarship program for Laotian students. According to Ambassador Grata, with this reality, his current task at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Vientiane is to build better and mutually more beneficial relations for both countries. One thing that will be done is to collaborate with the Laos-Indonesia Friendship Association (LIFA). This organization, which was founded in 2008, was founded by a former Laotian Ambassador to Indonesia. Ambassador Grata also explained that the Indonesian Embassy in Vientiane is currently working with LIFA to expand their joint agenda, and to encourage the promotion of Indonesia in Laos.

Moreover, the Indonesian Embassy in Vientiane also holds Indonesian Language classes for Foreign Speakers (BIPA), which started in 2009. To date, 673 students have completed the BIPA classes. In 2023, around 50 people were registered as students. One of the students even won an Indonesian language competition from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, against participants from various Indonesian BIPA classes abroad.

“....One of the students in (class) BIPA won first place for Comedy. Of course, there are  speeches, there are poetry readings, singing, and so on. But for me, comedy actually has a highly additional value, because comedy shows that children must understand the culture. Because jokes have to work,  cross-cultural, and different cultures must understand each other. The Indonesian Embassy in Vientiane also introduced Indonesian culinary delights at external events. One thing that was done was to open an instant noodle corner at a diplomatic reception last year, in which Indonesian chefs cooked instant noodles on the spot for those waiting in line.”

Meanwhile, Indonesia-Laos trade will increase three times during 2021-2022. Ambassador Grata admitted that there was a deficit from Indonesia, because Indonesia imported potassium from Laos as raw material for fertilizer to meet large demand. However, he conveyed these imports would help supply fertilizer for domestic industry. The Indonesian Embassy in Vientiane has taken several steps to facilitate the promotion of Indonesian products in Laos, for example, by increasing sales of consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and health products in supermarkets. Besides, his side facilitates Indonesian companies that want to have partnership with business players in Laos. The Indonesian Embassy in Vientiane is also collaborating with the Young Entrepreneur Association of Laos so that young entrepreneurs in Laos can work together with young Indonesian entrepreneurs.

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