Viet Nam Briefing & Discussion with US Study Abroad Students

ssa-logoI spent part of last Monday morning speaking and listening to a group of 17 US students who are in Viet Nam for the spring semester under the auspices of a School for International Training’s (SIT) program entitled Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development.

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They started out in HCMC (Saigon) on 1 February and will now spend the remainder of their time in Hanoi.  Most are female (12 out of 17, or about 70%) and come from a variety of mostly private colleges and universities from 11 states.  These include – in A-Z order – Bates College, Emory University, Hamilton College, Ithaca College, Maryland Institute College of Art, Skidmore College, University of Mississippi, Siena College, University of Vermont, Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia, Vassar College, Washington University in St. Louis, Whitman College, and Williams College

Thei majors represented include Anthropology, Economics, Finance, Gender Studies, History, Human Development, Illustration/Design, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Social Work, and Sociology.

In addition to their coursework and program-related activities, the students are either working on an independent study project or doing an internship.

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We discussed a wide range of issues related to Viet Nam, its development, and its recent history, as well as about concepts such nationalism, patriotism, and global citizenship.  They were engaged, curious, and well-informed. 

Thanks to SIT for the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite topics – Viet Nam!


4th Annual Education Conference: Cementing Cooperation & Overcoming Obstacles to U.S.-Vietnam Education Partnerships

The US Embassy in Vietnam and the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) have officially announced the Fourth Annual Education Conference to be held April 9, 2011 in Hanoi.  The purpose of this conference is to bring together American and Vietnamese universities, colleges, companies and NGOs active in higher education in Vietnam to discuss how to increase U.S. educational opportunities in Vietnam; how to encourage external partnerships for universities; and how to promote U.S. style higher education in Vietnam. 

 This is the latest in a series of annual education conferences started in 2008 by former Ambassador Michael Michalak.  It will be the first one presided over by his successor, Ambassador David Shear.   Unlike the previous two conferences, it doesn’t look as if the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) will play a formal role as a conference co-organizer.   USAID, which has become increasing active in the education sector in recent years, is a sponsor. 

 Conference Topics

Increasing U.S. Educational Opportunities in Vietnam

  • Establishing a Welcoming Environment for U.S. Students
  • Attracting more U.S. Scholars to Vietnam: Why aren’t they coming?
  • Faculty Development: Creating a Framework for Success

External Partnerships: Universities as Partners and Producers

  • Linking Education to Research and Entrepreneurship
  • From Classroom to Boardroom: Developing Employable Graduates for the Private Sector
  • Creating the Conditions to Succeed: a Transparent and Consistent Environment for Partnerships

U.S. Style Higher Education: What is it? How do we create it in Vietnam?

  • American–style University Governance
  • Teaching and Curriculum
  • Accreditation: Standards and Quality Assurance

You can log into the conference website with your own email and password to have future access to your personal data.  In addition to registering for the conference, there are opportunities to present a paper as part of a panel discussion.  In order to be considered as a panel participant, prepare an abstract of your proposed paper and submit via the conference website.  The deadline for submitting an abstract of your proposed paper is February 28.  If you are interested in attending the conference but do not want to present a paper, the registration deadline is March 11, 2011

As Elisabet Garriga, Conference Coordinator, mentioned in her e-mail to prospective participants, space is limited for this conference:  “As our conference will be a platform for policy discussion and for formulating recommendations for the Vietnamese government and U.S. education partners, priority must be given to participants who have relevant experience in establishing education partnerships in Vietnam and other countries.  Decisions regarding participant selection will be made as quickly as possible.” 

For more information, contact Elisabet Garriga, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, Hanoi, Tel (84-4) 3850-5196, Cell (84-4) 90-400-8657, Fax (84-4) 3850-5120, GarrigaE @