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Laotian National To Raise Olympic Torch For WFP

VIENTIANE – WFP staff member Vadsana Sinthavong has been selected to represent the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) at the Olympic Torch Relay for the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London.

WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin selected Sinthavong from a large pool of nominations received from over 70 countries in which WFP is working. The invitation to carry the torch for a leg of the relay was extended to WFP by International Olympic Committee.

“I was thrilled, just so happy”, Sinthavong said when she learned about her selection. “It is a great honour for my family and for my country, and to represent WFP and its great work in an international arena.”

Sinthavong will travel to Birmingham, the United Kingdom, to run her portion of the torch relay on Sunday July 1. The Flame will then continue on to London to start the Olympic Games on July 27.

“Sinthavong is one of our most dedicated staff members here in Lao PDR,” said Eri Kudo, WFP Representative and Country Director in Lao PDR. “As a senior programme assistant for the WFP-assisted School Meals Programme here in Lao PDR, her enthusiasm and dedication to her work has been crucial in helping schoolchildren get a daily nutritious snack, and focus on their education instead of being distracted by an empty stomach.”

Lit in Greece, the Olympic Flame arrived in the UK on May 18 before setting out the next day on a 70-day relay, bringing the excitement of the Games to everyone. The Flame will be carried by 8,000 Torchbearers through more than 1,000 cities, towns and villages in the UK. As the world’s largest humanitarian organisation fighting hunger, WFP is honoured to be part of this journey, spreading the message of peace, unity and friendship.

In Lao PDR, WFP focuses on alleviating chronic malnutrition, which affects every second child in rural areas and prevents them from developing to their full potential. To help Lao PDR become free from undernutrition and its debilitating impact on human potential and national development, WFP works with partners in the Health, Education and Agriculture sectors to address the full range of factors affecting undernutrition.

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For more information please contact:
Cornelia P├Ątz, WFP/Vientiane, Tel.+856-21 330 300 ext. 2340 Mob.+856-20 5552 8637, cornelia.paetz@wfp.org
Bounmee Maokhamphiou. WFP/Vientiane, Tel.+856-21 330 300 ext.3412 Mob.+856-20 5861 5639, bounmee.maokhamphiou@wfp.org