Henrik Schmith, originally from Espergærde in Denmark, is 48 years and has just been appointed as new Norwegian consul in Vientiane in Laos. He has been in Laos for 10 years and is Laotian married and is the father of two children. Initially Henrik Schmith came here as UN volunteer, but has since worked for Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke and World Food Program, and now he works for Norwegian Church Aid, which has its Southeast Asian headquarter in Vientiane.
An honorary position
“It’s certainly an exciting new challenge in addition to my regular work. I have a good knowledge of the Laotian authorities through my various posts here in the country, and it will surely benefit me,” says the newly appointed consul.
“My primary task will be to help Norwegian residents and Norwegian tourists in this country, should they get in some kind of trouble.”
The Swedish Embassy in Vientiane closed in July 2008 and since then there has been no representation for the Scandinavian countries. Diplomatic tasks are handled from Hanoi.
The post is unpaid because it is described as an honorary position, but Henry was still not in any doubt:
“It was the Norwegian ambassador in Hanoi who asked me if I would be consul, and I said yes. Later I have received an official appointment from Norwegian foreign minister,” Henrik Schmith says.
There are around 30 Norwegians living in Laos, but in addition to that around 30,000 Norwegian tourists come to the country each year.