Interview with Alexandra Bounxouei, UNDP Lao PDR National Goodwill AmbassadorApr 10, 2013
We spoke to Alexandra, who has just been appointed our National Goodwill Ambassador. How does she feel about her new role and how is she planning to contribute to development in Laos?
Q. You are UNDP’s first National Goodwill Ambassador in Lao PDR. What does it mean to you?
A. It’s a dream come true and a great honor to be appointed for this respected position. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to do contribute to the development of my country and its people. It’s also a role that comes with a lot of responsibility, and I feel honored to be trusted with it.
Q. What made you become interested in working with development issues?
A. This is my country and growing up here I’ve seen many development issues that affect the country and its people. With its rich natural resources, Laos has a lot of potential, as long as they are being developed in a sustainable way. I want to be part of this, to contribute something, I feel very strongly about it.
Q. As an Ambassador for UNDP, what are you hoping to contribute to development in Lao PDR?
A. I‘m hoping that I will be able to use my position to promote UNDP’s messages and raise the awareness of the issues they are working with such as poverty reduction and sustainable environmental management as well as UXO-related issues.
Q. You have been actively involved in raising awareness of disability. How did you come interested in this area?
A. My sister, who has Down syndrome, has always been the greatest inspiration and motivation for me, and since the beginning of my career I’ve wanted to give something back to society. I’ve done this through organizing concerts and musicals and by setting up my own foundation for children with the Down syndrome (the Bounxouei Foundation).
Q. We have just celebrated the International Day for Mine Awareness and Mine Action (on April 4th). As part of your Goodwill Ambassador assignment, you will be supporting UNDP’s efforts in improving awareness of unexploded ordnance (UXO) -related issues in Laos. What are the issues in this sector that you wish to highlight in particular?
A. Laos is the most UXO- affected country in the world, per capita. However, not many people, especially those outside of Laos, know about the UXO problem here. Also too many people in Laos still get killed and injured by the UXO, including many children, because they are not aware of the risks. Finally, there are many UXO survivors who need more help to cope with their injuries.
Q. What would you say to someone whose life has been affected by the UXO?
A. I would like to motivate them and give them hope, tell them that life will continue and that there are many people in the world who care and want to help.
Q. How are you planning to raise awareness of the development issues that UNDP works with in Lao PDR?
A. I’m very excited to get involved with UNDP’s work and contribute by using my position to attract media attention. I look forward to visiting their projects around the country and meeting people whose lives have been affected by, for example, the UXO.
Q. Finally – because I know that this is the question on everyone's lips – when is your next album coming out?
A. I’m currently working on it, collecting songs that are meaningful to me and my fans. Hopefully it will be ready before the end of this year.
Interview by Eeva Nyyssonen, Communications Officer at UNDP Lao PDR