The Vientiane Centre, Laos

Vientiane Centre

Head: Michel Lorrillard
Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, FEML
1 rue Sisangvone - Unit 6
Bane Naxay
BP 3248
Vientiane, Laos
Tel.: + 856 21 41 46 20
Fax: + 856 21 41 39 52

In 1951 the Laotian government entrusted the EFEO with the mission to preserve and restore its historical monuments and to manage the nation's museums. At the same time, the EFEO was authorized to carry out archaeological excavations. The School's official presence in Laos led to the arrival of the art historian and philologist Henri Deydier, the ethnologist Charles Archaimbault - renowned for his comparative work on Laotian principalities, and Pierre-Bernard Lafont, who resided at the Centre until 1966. Earlier in the 20th century, Henri Parmentier conducted the first research on the religious architecture of Laos and the Khmer temple Vat Phu, while Madeleine Colani carried out a pioneering investigation of a proto-historic site, the Plain of Jars. A new cooperation agreement, reached in 1993, with the Laotian Ministry of Information and Culture enabled the EFEO to open a Franco-Laotian Centre for Buddhist and Historical Studies in Vientiane.

Current research at the EFEO Centre in Vientiane is primarily conducted in historical studies based on philology and epigraphy; however, the Centre also undertakes work in disciplines such as ethnology, art history and archaeology. The sum of this activity contributes to a wider program of multidisciplinary research on Buddhist societies spanning Asia, from India to China.

Laos, a landlocked country relatively little affected by its rapidly changing surroundings, offers researchers exceptional conditions for on-site investigation.

Current research program:

  • General epigraphic inventory and publication of Laotian inscriptions
  • Study of Laotian religious literature
  • Material and artistic culture of Laotian Buddhism (archaeology, iconography)
  • Comparative ethnology of Austro-Asiatic minority societies

The Vientiane Center includes a library for the humanities and social sciences -- the only research library in Laos. Since 2007 its publication office has edited a series titled Texts and documents on Laos. The Centre also provides facilities for French and European scholars, as well as doctoral students and EFEO fellowship holders.

05 November 2018
Arlo Griffiths (EFEO), Emmanuel Francis (UMR CEIAS, CNRS-EHESS) and Annette Schmiedchen (Humboldt University of Berlin), with the participation of Florinda de Simini (L'Orientale University of Naples) are laureates of the call for projects of the European research council (ERC) synergy grant 2018 for the research project DHARMA : The Domestication of “Hindu” Asceticism and the Religious Making of South and Southeast Asia.
Visit of Christophe Marquet to Vietnam
03 November 2018
As part of the official visit of the French Prime Minister to Vietnam, the director of the EFEO, Christophe Marquet, signed on November 3, 2018 in Hanoi three scientific cooperation conventions with the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, the Vietnam Institute of Archeology and the Institute of Social Sciences Information.
He was also received by the director of the National Museum of Vietnamese History, the former Musée Louis Finot founded by the EFEO in 1932, and by the director of the Hanoi Citadel Museum (Imperial City of Thang Long) whose museum project has been coordinated by the EFEO in 2010.
Exceptional closure of the library
Paris, France, 02 November 2018
The library will be exceptionally closed on Friday, November 2 (next day of All Saints' Day, public holiday).
International Conference ''Sovereignty and imperial patronage in China (XIIIth-XXth century)''
25 October 2018
The International Conference Sovereignty and imperial patronage in China (XIIIth-XXth century), organized by Luca Gabbiani (EFEO, UMR 8173-CCJ), Marianne Bujard (EPHE) and Luo Wenhua (National Palace Museum Research Center for Tibetan Buddhism Heritage), is held at Peking, from October, 25th to 27th, 2018.
The conference program and the abstracts of the presentations are available on the website:
Exhibition ''Louis Finot : un √©pigraphiste aventurier''
Paris, France, 23 October 2018
From 4 September to 17 November the exhibition Louis Finot : un épigraphiste aventurier, exhibition of about fifty photos of the fund Louis Finot, first director of our institution, is visible at the Maison de l'Asie on the 1st floor and in the reading room of the library.
Free admission, from Monday to Friday from 9h to 18h.22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris.