From November 15-18, 2022, Deakin University hosted the 7th International Conference on Lao Studies (ICLS7) with the theme ‘Science, society, and healthy futures.’ The main objective of the conference was to provide an international forum for scholars and practitioners to present and discuss any research that is directly concerned with Laos. It included academic paper presentations, laboratories, Lao film screenings, a director’s talk, a Fanglao dance performance, and an art show featuring contemporary Lao artists.
Around 120 people registered for the ICLS7 and including 59 bursaries, with recipients predominantly from Laos. We were especially pleased to see the great interest by people in and from Laos in this conference which enriched the presentations and discussions.
Amidst the remaining uncertainties relating to COVID-19, we opted for an online conference. This allowed academics and non-academics to join from around the world without the need to travel internationally. In addition, a small group of researchers gathered at the Deakin Campus in Geelong, which was a welcome opportunity to reconnect in person and keep discussions going in between sessions. To accommodate attendees in different time zones, sessions were scheduled around the clock, with blocks at 12pm, 7pm and 4am Geelong time. Where people were unable to present or attend in person, they could prerecord their presentation. All sessions remained available to watch after the event. Making this offering was only possible due to the technical expertise and tireless effort of the Deakin Events team, for which we are truly grateful.
The conference would have also not been possible without the generosity of our sponsors and private donors, and the advise and practical assistance by the members of the conference committee. ຂອບໃຈ!!!
The next International Conference on Lao Studies is planned to take place at Heidelberg University in Germany in late 2025, which will be the first time for a European university to host the conference.
List of sponsors and supporters: Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University; Australian Center for International Agricultural Research, Australian Government; Center for Lao Studies; City of Geelong Council; The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, University of Sydney