25 years ago today, Mekong Institute (MI) prepared its first training course on “Economies in Transition” to help 15 GMS government officials build market-based institutions and safeguards, as their countries stepped forward to be part of the global economy.  

Since then, much has changed for MI. With over 50 government and development partners, MI delivered 300 projects, which have empowered nearly 60,000 people across the region to build leaders, strengthen markets, and connect people—thus securing MI’s place as a key partner in the advancement of GMS cooperation and integration.

These gains were made possible by the stewardship of Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, who continue to help MI sharpen program strategies, expand portfolio of services, bridge partnerships, and improve operations.

Plans to commemorate these gains and pay homage to GMS pioneers were multiple. From a Development Partners’ Meeting to present GMS-based priorities, a book launch on government leaders and MI alumni, to an event honoring MI’s three founders: the governments of Thailand and New Zealand, and Khon Kaen University, as well as longstanding international and regional partners were in order.

The recent spate of COVID-19 surges across the GMS have changed all these and our priority to contribute to “build forward better” strategies hold premium.

But while the gatherings are postponed, the advocacy to highlight what can be achieved in true partnership continues. As such, we have extended our campaign of strengthening development synergies from August 28, 2021 to August 27, 2022 to help align wider international, regional, and local support for the subregion’s resilient socioeconomic recovery.

Information on these activities will be forthcoming in our website. Until then, I and the rest of the MI family, who quietly mark our organization’s 25 years of foundation, remain in committed and proud service to the people of the GMS.

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