With the goal of connecting more closely with local government agencies, private sector organizations, civil society, and the local community in the Northeast of Thailand, the Mekong Institute (MI) held its second ever Open House. The event, held as part of its 2012 15th anniversary celebrations, gave attendees a chance to engage with MI and its staff. 

The day-long event featured presentations, exhibitions, speeches and interactive activities promoting increased understanding about MIs programs and its current work focusing on GMS integration. Highlights included speeches by H.E Ngo Hongly, Chairman of the MI Council, Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, Chairman of the MI Steering Committee, Mr. Somsak Suwannasucharit, Khon Kaen Governor, Dr. Vanchai Vatanasapt, Former MI Director, and Dr. Thawalwong Ratanasiri, Vice-President for International Relations and Cooperation Strategy of Khon Kaen University. 

During Dr. Narongchais key note speech on the MI in the New Era of GMS Cooperation, the world-renowned economist and Chairman of the MI Steering Committee, noted the need for an increased focus on listening to the voices of the region as articulated by the people of the region not those dictated by outside powers. 

Referring to a previous speech given at MIs 15th Anniversary Celebrations in Phnom Penh (June 2012) in which he extolled MI to think big, Dr. Narongchai laid down yet another challenge to MI and its ongoing development stating that it must continue to define and focus on its strengths in order to provide the region with a prosperous and harmonious future. In doing so, Dr. Narongchai, reminded staff that the road ahead will not be smooth unless we are very contentious in what we do. 

MI has also taken this event to do presentations honoring and acknowledging MIs local partners. Staff from MIs program departments (Trade and Investment Facilitation, Rural Development for Sustainable Livelihoods and Human Migration Management and Care) presented these partners including various community business enterprises, local wisdom, business societies and government agencies for their contribution to MI and their enhancement of MIs locally-based programs through the incorporation of provision of resource persons, organizing field sites and best practices for MI participants from different countries. 

Wrapping up the event, guests were treated to an MI photo exhibit and sit-down dinner in the courtyard in front of the MI building. The dinner was punctuated by a dramatic dance performance capturing the spirit of the GMS togetherness and integration driving MIs current work, and the trust which continues to develop between MI and the local and international community. 

Multimedia Open HouseH.E Ngo HonglyDr. Narongchai AkrasaneePhotos

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