Congratulations to Professor Nguyễn Quý Thanh on his appointment as rector of the VNU-Hanoi University of Education, one of Viet Nam’s most important institutions of higher education. It was my pleasure and honor to be a guest at this ceremony last week. Dr. Thanh, who previously served as director of the VNU Institute for Quality Assurance (INFEQA) in Hanoi, is an excellent choice, in my opinion.
To the students, scholars, doctors, refugees, family members and others who wonder if the United States has lost its commitment to its core values as a nation of freedom, opportunity and welcome, let me unequivocally state that American citizens will not tolerate policies such as these that undermine our values and endanger our safety. We understand that America is part of the global community, and we will raise our voices with Congress, with the White House, with the media and in our communities to continue to adhere to the principles that have always made us strongest.
I was very pleased and heartened to see this statement from Esther Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, about Donald Trump’s executive order banning US entry of “thoroughly-vetted refugees and citizens of seven nations in the Middle East and Africa, undermining the nation’s long-held values and making America less safe.”
In the past, NAFSA’s leadership has been hesitant to voice criticism of US government (USG) policies or actions not because the organization receives any funding from the USG but because of “relationship,” according to a reliable source. This reflected the previous executive director’s/CEO’s management style.
For example, I don’t recall hearing an official peep from NAFSA after the US invaded and occupied Iraq based on the WMD lie. In fact, NAFSA invited a senior State Department political appointee aka neocon to speak at its 2003 annual conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. The gist of his speech was the one can no longer claim “to hate this government’s policies but love the country,” as if government and country were one. I wrote a related radio commentary entitled Patriotism in Troubled Times that aired later that summer. (It occurs to me that this applies to the current regime. Just substitute government with president and administration.)
Follow this link to read the 30 January 2017 NAFSA press release in its entirety. Thanks to Esther Brimmer for speaking truth to power and saying what needs to be said in a forceful and eloquent manner. The profession and the country need more people like her.
Dennis F. Berg, professor emeritus of sociology whose international travels helped Cal State Fullerton establish global connections in Vietnam and China, died Jan. 19.
This is a sad time indeed for those of us who knew Dennis Berg, who divided his time between Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon and southern California. I was shocked to learn of Den’s tragic death via a Facebook post by one of his sons, Jeff:
Yesterday the world lost a great man, my Father, Dennis Berg. With great joy he helped so many, including myself, become the best version of themselves that they could become. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad!
Follow this link to read the California State University, Fullerton announcement in its entirety.
It was my privilege to know Den as a friend and a colleague. He was a kind, warm-hearted, and gentle man who cared deeply about both countries and who touched generations of students and colleagues through his teaching, research, training, and mentorship. I, along with many others here and around the world, will miss him.
Here’s part of an email signature he once used, which tells you something about Dennis Berg and how he lived his life:
“Dance as if no one’s watching,
sing as if no one’s listening,
and live every day as if it were your last.”
—— Irish proverb.
“and tell those you love and care about
that you do every chance you get.”
——- Dennis proverb.
My heartfelt condolences to his wife, Hong Hoa, his sons, Jeff and Jason, and the entire Berg family in Viet Nam and the US.
The key question to keep asking is, ‘Are you spending your time on the right things?’ Because time is all you have. (Randy Pausch, 1960-2008)
Below is some information about a Strategic Recruitment Workshop that I’ll be leading next June in Dalat, Viet Nam. Please follow this link to the Capstone Vietnam website for additional information, including schedule, cost, and online registration.
After a very successful first Strategic Recruitment Workshoplast June in Phan Thiet, we have decided to organize a second one. You are cordially invited to join me, my staff and other presenters for two full days in beautiful Dalat in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam to receive a detailed briefing about student recruitment in Vietnam.
This workshop will take place from June 19-21, 2017 following the ICEF Thailand – Viet Nam Agent Roadshow in HCMC and our two StudyGlobal Education Fairsin Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Hanoi. I’m pleased to acknowledge Study in the USA as an event sponsor.
The purpose of this workshop is to give you the tools you need in terms of knowledge, insights and strategy in order to increase your chances of success in recruiting Vietnamese students in what has become a highly competitive market in recent years.
In addition to Dr. Mark Ashwill, Managing Director, presenters will include educational advisers from Capstone’s Hanoi and HCMC offices, marketing specialists, high school leaders, and students currently studying overseas.
Each participant will receive a copy of Keys to Successful Student Recruitment in Viet Nam, an up-to-date guide written by Dr. Ashwill, and a packet of materials with information about Vietnam, and facts and figures about student recruitment.
The workshop is intended for any colleague from a regionally accredited institution in the US or an officially accredited institution in another country with an interest in learning more about Viet Nam and factors related to student recruitment. Last year, colleagues included recruiters, deans, directors, and other senior international education officials. The number of participants is limited to 25.
Dalat (Đà Lạt) is the capital of Lâm Đồng Province. The city is located 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above sea level on the Lang Bian Plateau in the southern part of the Central Highlands region. Dalat, known as the honeymoon capital of Viet Nam, is a popular tourist destination. With its year-round cool weather, the city supplies a wide range of agricultural products and has a highly successful flower industry. Dalat is known as the “city of thousands of pine trees” because of the pine forests and the “city of eternal spring” because of the year-round mist that appears in the valleys.
Selected Testimonials from 2016
The retreat provided crucial insight into and practical takeaways from myriad aspects of student recruitment in Viet Nam. It also afforded excellent networking opportunities among US higher education institutions and Vietnamese educational sectors. (Steven Hales, Dean of International Education, Contra Costa Community College District)
I really learned a lot about the Viet Nam market vis-à-vis the type of non-degree or pre-degree programs that we offer. I’m not new to the field, I’m not new to recruitment, but as we are fairly new to Viet Nam as a market, it was important to learn. And, I did. So much. (Denise Davis, Director, International Programs, Division of Continuing Education, University of California, Irvine)
I am really impressed with the Strategic Recruitment Retreat that was organized by Capstone. The retreat was well-organized and provided critical insights into marketing strategies in the Vietnamese market. You really need a trustworthy partner like Capstone who knows this market inside and out. (Emily Liu, International Recruitment Specialist, English Language Institute, University of Delaware)
Whether your institution just started recruiting Vietnamese students or has had a few years of recruitment experience, you will be able to gather a lot of helpful information about the market from this retreat. Capstone staff are all very enthusiastic about their mission of assisting institutions to develop strategies to recruit Vietnamese students. Besides work time, the location of the retreat was perfect to let us enjoy some downtime & relax. (Le To, Adviser, New Mind Education)
About Mark A. Ashwill, Workshop Leader
Dr. Ashwill is an educational entrepreneur who has lived and worked in Viet Nam for over a decade. He served as country director of the Institute of International Education from 2005-09 and co-founded Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company later that year.
A 2011 Hobsons consultant’s report noted that “The work of Dr. Mark Ashwill, formerly of IIE, and the former US Ambassador, Michael Michalak, helped to promote the United States as a destination for Vietnamese students, and strengthened the ties between the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) and US universities.” In June 2012, Jeff Browne wrote on his Vietnomics blog that “Much of the credit for the strengthening US-Viet Nam higher education link goes to Hanoi-based educator, Mark Ashwill, director of Capstone Vietnam and key advisor to student-run nonprofit VietAbroader, both of which help Vietnamese students navigate the American education culture.”
He has written extensively about recruitment-related issues on his blog and in articles, and has presented on the same at NAFSA and other national and international conferences. He has served as an informal adviser to the VNU (Hanoi) Institute for Education Quality Assurance (INFEQA) and frequently been interviewed by journalists from print and electronic media on a host of education-related issues.
Dr. Ashwill has also presented at numerous workshops, conferences and seminars in Viet Nam and the US on issues related to US-Viet Nam educational exchange, student recruitment, accreditation, higher education admission, and global citizenship and intercultural competence, among other topics.
Dr. Ashwill has served as an adviser to VietAbroader since its founding in 2004, is a member of the Advisory Board of Teachers for Vietnam, a US-based non-profit organization, and is a blogger for The Huffington Post. He is the author of Vietnam Today: A Guide to a Nation at a Crossroads (with Thai Ngoc Diep), which was published in 2005 by Intercultural Press (now Nicholas Brealey Publishing). Vietnam Today, a substantive cultural introduction to the country, has been widely cited and is considered to be among the best books of its kind. He was the first US American to be awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialists Grant to Viet Nam in 2003.
Dr. Ashwill is widely viewed as a thought leader in the field of international education in general and US-Viet Nam educational exchange in particular. He has spent his entire career working in various areas of international education, including study abroad, language & culture instruction, Fulbright advising, educational advising, & international student recruitment in three different sectors: public, non-profit and private.
Capstone Vietnam is a full-service educational consulting company with offices in Hanoi and HCMC. In its nearly eight (8) years of operation, Capstone Vietnam has earned a reputation for quality service and ethical business practices. We work exclusively with regionally accredited institutions in the US market, the only company in Viet Nam (and perhaps the world) that does, and officially accredited institutions in other countries.