Human Resource Development & Scholarships


Australia has supported more than 1,200 Lao leaders to develop their skills and knowledge through tertiary study in Australia and to contribute further to the development of Laos

Building the next generation of Lao leaders

Australia’s support for Human Resource Development (HRD) in Laos stretches back to the 1950s. More than 70 years later, we remain committed to working with our partners to improve skills and capacities at the individual, organisational and governmental levels to support economic and social development priorities in Laos.

The Laos-Australia Institute (LAI), now entering its third phase, was founded in 2014 to deliver Australia’s scholarships program, alumni engagement, and other HRD activities in Laos.

Inclusive scholarships nurturing Laos’ leaders of tomorrow

A key way we have contributed to HRD in Laos has been through our scholarships programs, investing in and supporting future leaders of Laos. Laos was a member of the Colombo Plan, and many Lao students travelled to Australia under these scholarships. Since Australia’s development scholarships program commenced in 1989, now known as Australia Awards Scholarships, we have provided over 1300 scholarships for Lao citizens to study in Australia.

We have a strong and growing network of alumni, many of whom actively contribute to development in Laos.

Meet Mr Khamsouk and his daughter Sounisa and find out how an Australian education experience has helped them to make a difference in their community

Laos’ Foreign Minister, HE Saleumxay Kommasith, is a proud Australian alumni and good friend to Australia. He studied a Masters of International Studies and Development at Monash University, Melbourne, from 1996-97


The Laos-Australia National Scholarships (LANS) was introduced in 2011 and has since supported a total of 643 underprivileged young men and women from targeted rural districts of Laos, especially women, ethnic backgrounds and persons with a disability, to study undergraduate degrees in priority areas of study at the National University of Laos (NUOL) and the Souphanouvong University (SU).

Strengthening HRD capacity within the Government of Laos

Australia works closely with Government of Laos in building an effective labour force that can drive inclusive growth in Laos. We have supported relevant government agencies in the implementation of the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) and the organisation of an annual HRD Dialogue led the Ministry of Education and Sports. 

Building on this strong history of engagement, we conducted a variety of trainings to Lao civil servants in 2021 including workforce planning training for the Ministry of Education and Sport’s HRD office – the office responsible for delivering the NHRDS.

In 2016/2017, Australia delivered accredited training to staff from the Ministry of Education and Sport and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Meet some of the Civil Servants who have applied their learnings in the workplace, improving their personal and organisational effectiveness.

Mekong-Australia Partnership human capacity pillar

The new Mekong-Australia Partnership (MAP) will also support human capacity development in Laos and across the Mekong subregion through a AUD $232 million investment across four years.

Through this Partnership, we will pursue new and innovative ways to support the Government of Laos to achieve their HRD goals. We also awarded an additional 10 Masters-level scholarships in 2021 to highly talented young Lao nationals. Meet our 10 MAP scholars and find out what this exciting opportunity means to them.

Meet our 10 MAP scholars and find out what this exciting opportunity means to them.

Promoting Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI)

Throughout all our activities is a commitment and focus on improving opportunities for women, people with disabilities and Lao citizens of all ethnicities to access various learning activities. We believe everyone has a role in promoting equality and we constantly look for opportunities to build GEDSI knowledge and understanding amongst Lao government officials, alumni and the private sector.

Some recent achievements included the 
Ambassador’s keynote speech on gender to the Prime Minister’s Office and the External Relations Committee of the Lao Revolutionary Party; the Leadership for Gender Inclusion program for alumni; and English language training for people with disabilities – all delivered successfully in 2020 and 2021 despite challenges posed by COVID-19.