Sanford's Lisa Moreau Helps USAID Strengthen Ties Between Two Universities

 June 2, 2023


In an effort to foster academic collaboration and enhance educational opportunities, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a new partnership between Duke University and the National University of Laos (NUOL). The initiative, known as the Local Solutions Support (LSS) program, aims to strengthen ties between the two countries by promoting academic and administrative quality assurance, research capacity development, and fostering future learning exchanges and joint projects.

Woman with short hair and glasses smiling at camera.
Lisa Moreau

As part of this collaborative endeavor, Sanford faculty member Lisa Moreau arrived in Laos on May 21 for a three-week assignment. Moreau will be sharing valuable insights from the Duke Center for International Development (DCID), part of the Sanford School, and her experience in assessing and improving program and research quality. Additionally, she will work alongside colleagues from NUOL to co-design a comprehensive learning and exchange program between the two institutions.

One of the key objectives of the partnership is to provide select Lao professors and student researchers with access to Duke's digital libraries, academic subscriptions, and virtual training services. By offering such resources, the aim is to enhance research capabilities and encourage academic growth among Lao scholars. Both universities will collaborate in identifying advanced research learning opportunities for professors and students from the National University of Laos.

Dr. Phouphet Kyophilavong, the Dean of NUOL's Department of Economics and Business, emphasized the importance of forging connections with renowned international institutions. "It is important for Lao universities to develop networks and relationships with other higher education institutes (HEI) such as Duke University so that our professors have access to new research methods, teaching tools, and opportunities for publication," he stated.

In addition to the ongoing partnership, Duke University and RTI International, a leading nonprofit research institute, have announced plans to host a cohort of Lao HEI administrators and academics in the latter half of 2023. This visit aims to further strengthen the collaborative efforts between the two nations and promote the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

The initiative has been met with enthusiasm and optimism by academic communities in both countries. The partnership between Duke University and the National University of Laos promises to provide invaluable opportunities for growth and development, as well as foster a stronger connection between the United States and Laos in the field of education.

As the three-week assignment progresses, Lisa Moreau and her counterparts from NUOL will continue to work towards establishing the objectives and itinerary for the international person-to-person exchange program. With this collaborative effort, USAID's LSS program hopes to lay the foundation for long-lasting educational partnerships that will benefit scholars and students from both the United States and Laos for years to come.