European Chamber of Commerce and Industry Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

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The European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Laos celebrated its 10th anniversary with a spectacular gala dinner and Venetian ball.

The celebration held in Vientiane Capital, which was jointly sponsored by the European Union in Laos, EuroCham’s Silver Sponsor CS Intellect, and Gold Sponsor Prudential, also featured auctions to benefit the Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

ECCIL EuroCham was created in 2011 with the mandate to promote and increase business between Laos and Europe for their mutual benefit and to create a “single voice of European business” in Laos, representing the European business community vis a vis Lao authorities and decision-makers.

Guests at the EuroCham 10th Anniversary Gala

With prestigious guests such as H.E Mr. Manothong Vongxay – Vice Minister of Industry and Commerce, H.E Mr. Phayvanh Keopaserth – Vice Minister of Health, the ambassadors of the European Union, France, Germany, United Kingdom, the Deputy Chiefs of Mission of the Embassy of Japan and the U.S. Embassy, and the vice-president of the Lao National Chamber of commerce, the event celebrated and strengthened the ties between ECCIL,  EuroCham, and its partners.

“We are here tonight to celebrate an anniversary, but we are also here for a very good cause, to support the Lao Friends Hospital for Children in Luang Prabang. Ladies and gentlemen enjoy the Venetian Ball, be generous and make sure that our contribution to the hospital becomes significant!” said Peter Fogde, President of ECCIL in his opening remarks.

“As it is ECCIL EuroCham’s mission to represent and further European core values in responsible trade, we are constantly seeking to encourage responsible investment. We work daily with European and local businesses, civil society organizations, Lao authorities, and communities to promote responsible business practices and support sustainable economic growth and shared value” said Thiane Khamvongsa, Executive Director of ECCIL.

She further added, “It is in that spirit that ECCIL EuroCham chose to dedicate this evening celebration to fundraising for the Lao Friends Hospital for Children. For us, a company “doing good” is not only measured in terms of profits, but also by how the company contributes to the communities and ecosystems in which it operates.

The sanitary crisis has left people vulnerable, and the role of the private sector is crucial in this context. So, tonight is to celebrate the Chamber’s achievements but also to encourage our members to understand the communities needs and demonstrate the ability for compassion.”

ECCIL EuroCham’s Silver Sponsor CS Intellect, a leading professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital technology, and operations, and Gold Sponsor Prudential, a leading Insurance company in Asia with a strong Corporate Social Responsibility program, led the way by jointly sponsoring the event, participating to the dynamic of businesses dedicating funds to valuable causes. Both companies have expressed their strong support for the cause.

The recipient of the fundraising, the Lao Friends Hospital for Children is a pillar of the Lao community as it is the only hospital that provides free care for children in the northern provinces. The event was able to raise more than 10,000 USD for the hospital and created awareness among a new group of business leaders for this great cause.

Nicole Pagourgis, Executive Director of Friends Without Border commented, “The Lao Friends Hospital for Children was so honored to be given an opportunity to inform the prestigious guests at ECCIL EuroCham’s 10th-anniversaryth anniversary celebration of the important pediatric medical work we are doing throughout the country of Laos. We are extremely grateful to ECCIL EuroCham Laos for this beautiful event and to the Lao European community and their guests for their generosity which raised over USD 10,000 for sick children.”

The event, which also celebrated European culture and food, featured a performance from Fanglao Dance company on a revisited version of the European Anthem “Ode to Joy”, who joined on stage by the children of Sala Sujipuli, a cultural center that offers free artistic and cultural activities to Lao children in Vientiane and was closed by a concert by the Pianist Orchestra.

“A green and inclusive economy in Laos will require an important level of quality private investment to support socio-economic development,” remarked H.E. Ina Marčiulionytë, EU Ambassador to Laos, in her opening speech.

“ECCIL will obviously remain a key interlocutor in contributing to these objectives, especially about trade and business facilitation reforms, investment promotion, and monitoring the implementation of relevant legislation. The EU is also very pleased to see tonight so many female entrepreneurs, social businesswomen leaders, and women-led business executives attending the gala dinner. The EU is supporting ECCIL to foster gender equality in businesses and promote woman leadership.”

Indeed, the EU in Laos supported and encouraged ECCIL EuroCham to streamline and integrate the gender empowerment aspect into the event. A disproportionate under-representation of women is too often observed at high-level conferences and networking.

As ECCIL EuroCham and EU work hand in hand to tackle gender equality issues in business and leadership – one of the dominant themes in organizational development, along with diversity in general – to counterbalance this inequality, EU and ECCIL partnered to invite female entrepreneurs, social business women leaders, women-led business executives to sit at each table along with bigger corporation businesses and political leaders to network and share their experience.