Tri Viet University Project Becomes the Tri Viet Center for Social and Educational Research

Unlike in the U.S., most private universities in Vietnam are for-profit.  For many investors, including some who actually have a background in education and many who do not, founding a university has been an opportunity to make huge sums of money in a relatively short period of time.  Low overhead + high demand=a quick and healthy return on investment. 

As a non-profit undertaking, the Tri Viet University Project was an exception to this rule.  Unlike some others, the founder and president, Mdm Ton Nu Thi Ninh, was honest in calling it a “project,” not a “university.”  She was also wise to establish the Tri Viet Center for Social and Educational Research, when it became clear that she and her team would not be able to secure sufficient funding to establish a quality private, non-profit university. 

According to the overview, “the Center’s core mission is to promote public understanding, constructive deliberation, and cooperative action on a variety of socio-economic and cultural issues.  It aims to encourage reflections on what constitutes a wellworking, equitable society and a sustainable economy; to foster a thoughtful and forward-thinking public debate; and to provide an open and balanced venue for discussing and charting collaborative pathways.”  Its activities include an action plan in Nation Branding for Viet Nam; and other projects on Climate Change & Sustainable Development, Demographics & Migration, and Education, Innovation and Leadership.

Below is the announcement on the Tri Viet University Project website:

Thank you for visiting Tri Viet University Project website. The Tri Viet Team would like to thank you for your interest in our work on higher education. Your encouragement and support have been a source of inspiration to us as we have strived to create the first truly green university in Viet Nam. It is with sincere regret that we must inform you that we have decided to suspend work on the university creation, as of January 2012, due to increasing financial hardships. It has been a difficult decision for us, but we believe it is the right one under the circumstances.

We are still intent on achieving the University’s mission of promoting knowledge and understanding and spearheading innovative forms of public service. We have thus rechanneled our efforts into the creation of a knowledge and idea exchange, Tri Viet Center for Social and Educational Research, to help develop societal awareness around critical issues, encourage the public in looking for the larger and deeper picture, and chart collaborative pathways with interested stakeholders.

Thanks, Giao, for the heads up!


Mdm Ninh speaking to members of a University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) delegation in November 2010 in HCMC. The trip was organized by my company, Capstone Vietnam.

One thought on “Tri Viet University Project Becomes the Tri Viet Center for Social and Educational Research

  1. Though I can sleep whenever I have a moment, I found it hard to sleep, even shocking, after knowing that she was not building a university anymore. But I think it’ll finally come into reality. She’s just doing what entrepreneurs call “pivot,” changing the means a little bit. The only time I saw Mdm. Ninh in the flesh, she said she would never agree with statements like, “as an enterprise, we must survive or make profit first.” To her, quality and profit are equally important.

    Still, I don’t understand people don’t want to fund a private university for public service. All the talents are going into the private sector, leaving important decisions on a national level to many incompetent government officials.

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