On September 21, 2022, Fulbright University Vietnam and International Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop academic and educational cooperation and promote relations between the two institutions.

Fulbright and ICISE agreed to foster academic cooperation, in areas of common interest as follows.

1. Sustainable development of scientific research, education, and training activities, including

  1. Teaching collaboration, course exchanges for Undergraduate and Graduate programs;
  2. Joint organization of trainings, seminars and workshops;
  3. Joint development of basic science and applied science research projects;
  4. Development and connection of resources and facilities, and input of scientific database for research activities;
  5. Publication and promotion of research results, and support to application of research and training outcomes, and results of potential applied science projects;
  6. Organization of educational & training activities, such as seminars and workshops for the public with the objective of leveraging the capacity of lecturers, teachers, and researchers nationwide.

2. Implementation of social impact activities, and incubation of social impact projects, comprising

  1. Organization of annual training programs on development, science, and education, to universalize foundation knowledge, and technical knowledge across various disciplines;
  2. Collaboration in activities and projects for students;
  3. Development of open resources, learning materials, and courses in science and education for the public.

Prof. Jean Tran Thanh Van, Co-Founder and Director of the ICISE at the MOU signing ceremony

ICISE was founded with a vision to promote the educational cooperation across Vietnam and regionally among emerging nations in the Asian-Pacific zone,” shared Prof. Jean Tran Thanh Van, Co-Founder and Director of the ICISE. “Now that we are together in this journey, I have great hopes that a number of impactful scientific initiatives that incorporate both institutions’ strengths will be able to unlock the power of the youth, and open various opportunities for growth”.

To facilitate the cooperation, the two parties also agreed to establish and jointly manage the Centre for Education and Science Practices (CESP). With a representative office at Fulbright’s campus in the foreseeable future, CESP will have its Board of Trustees, the Board of Science, and the Board of Management which comprise representatives from both institutions.

“This MOU signing ceremony marks a special moment for Fulbright,” shared Ms. Dam Bich Thuy, President of Fulbright University Vietnam

“This MOU signing ceremony marks a special moment for Fulbright as we tie the bond between a liberal arts university and an interdisciplinary research institution,” shared Ms. Dam Bich Thuy, President of Fulbright University Vietnam. “At Fulbright, we inspire students to begin their learning adventure with a core of interdisciplinary courses, enabling them to explore and find their area of interest by seeing the world through different lenses, and learning how to approach and solve problems with multidimensional creative solutions. With this partnership coming to life, our students, even those who just kickstart as freshmen, will benefit greatly as they get to research and gain first-hand experience on an array of applied science projects to start leading the change in their own community.”

About International Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE)

The International Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE) is a unique science and education institution located in the coastal city of Quy Nhon, Vietnam. Commissioned by ‘Rencontres du Vietnam’ association, under the direction of its founders Prof. Jean Tran Thanh Van and Prof. Le Kim Ngoc, ICISE is to bring together scientists from developed and emerging countries to host conferences and to nurture the association’s long-held expertise in designing exceptional cultural and educational projects.

The ICISE hosts around 10 to 12 high-level international scientific conferences each year. Covering disciplines in fundamental or applied sciences, mainly in the field of physics, the program will extend to cover a larger array of scientific disciplines such as biology, medicine, social and human sciences.

Dr. Bill Hiss, endearingly called “Bác Bill” (Uncle Bill), has been a close friend of Fulbright University Vietnam since its establishment. With over 35 years serving students across the world in their journeys to conquest knowledge, now a retired Vice President for External Affairs, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid and Lecturer in Asian Studies at Bates College in Maine, USA, Bill has been volunteering his time and expertise to help construct solid and sustainable Admissions and Financial Aid processes at Fulbright.

Flying to Vietnam this time, Bill carried two suitcases, like a normal traveler, except, inside these suitcases were barely any clothes or personal items, but rather filled with books to donate to the Fulbright University Vietnam’s library.

Last Thursday, we sat down and had a chat with Bill about his “Santa” mission.

Bác Bill with the Admissions and Financial Aid team sending a warm welcome to the Fulbright’s Undergraduate Class 2026

How did you first start this book giving ‘tradition’?

This is my third visit to Fulbright as a volunteer advisor to the Admissions and Financial Aid. The last time I came, I noticed that the library had almost no books except for the graduate books in Public Policy. So, I went to the bookstore in the mall, and I started buying books. I gave 15 or 20 to the library, mostly English language classics—Dickens, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Faulkner, Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and the cosmologist Stephen Hawking.

And this time you come back from the United States with two suitcases of books?

I got this idea from a friend. He said we could check in two suitcases for each flight, so if you put all your stuff in one suitcase, you can “smuggle” books in the other suitcase. That is such a brilliant idea! So this time I traveled to Vietnam, I brought this much [merely any] clothes and about that many books. You should have seen me holding the suitcase standing on the scale in my bathroom, looking to see that it was 48 lbs. If it were 45 lbs, I’d put in two or three more books.

This is a photo of two unlikely “book smugglers”. Andy and I were students at Bates College at the same time. Here are these two old guys in Saigon, their arms around each other’s shoulders a couple of years ago. It was Andy’s good idea to bring suitcases of books. And we are looking to take this to the next level, where Andy can help me ship cartons of books in his business’ containers of lumber from the US to Vietnam a few times a year. Right now, we are trying to figure out how to work with Customs to make this all official. And if things check out, there would be a giant supply of books coming into the Fulbright library, for free.

How do you curate books for students?

The books I brought this time were books written by some of the very best English writers, E. B. White, David McCullough, etc., those who just write beautiful prose. Most of them were nonfiction rather than fiction. Reading history, essays, politics and other things, Fulbright students can get a feel for good prose in English. They can explore different styles of writing in English.

About half the books that I brought this time, the two suitcases, half of them were from my personal library. The other half were books that I got for a great deal from a book sale at a local public library, books that people donated to the library.

I have degrees in Literature, Theology, and Intellectual History. I think I know a good writer when I see one, so I can be responsible for the quality, but I won’t be responsible for what categories. Everyone reads differently, and for different purposes. The faculty, the Deans, and the students themselves will know exactly what they need, and they would be the main curators of the library. They would have to tell bác Bill which books they want.

Do you ever worry that the readership of this young generation now differs very much from your generation or maybe just twenty years ago?

Indeed, I have raised this question to Ngan (Dr. Dinh Vu Trang Ngan, Dean of Fulbright Undergraduate Studies). The question is if books are, in fact, a 20th century form of learning and no longer very applicable. Ngan said: “No, I don’t think that’s true.”

A group of book enthusiasts at the 2022 Student Club Fair

I can only say these are not only questions of information transfer, but there are questions of understanding cultural literacy. To hold a biography of Steve Jobs, all 600 pages of it in your hands, and read through it, that is a different kind of learning experience than going to Google to search ‘What’s the gross economic output of North Korea?’. The historical novel that I have brought is written in a style of 1760s English, a little more ornate. But Fulbright students read Shakespeare, right? They might be puzzled [by the old language] I’m sure, but at the same time I know how smart they are, and I trust that they would figure a way to enjoy these old reads.

At the student fair last week, I was delighted to see there’s a student support group for the library.

“Fulibrary” – a project by the new students in Class of 2026 to help expand and renovate Fulbright library, cultivating a friendly book-reading community for every Fulbrighter

Thank you, Bác Bill, very much for sharing your thoughts with us, for all the books, and for everything that you have done! We truly appreciate your kindness. We wish you a safe trip back home and we look forward to welcoming you back again, maybe next time, we’ll chat in the new Fulbright library, much filled with books that you donated.

* Read more about Bác Bill’s story here: https://fulbright.edu.vn/volunteer-advisor-santa-bill-hiss/

Bảo Trâm

 

The two-week orientation program was an invigorating experience for Class of 2026 (Co26) to familiarize themselves with life at Fulbright University Vietnam. This was set out to help our freshmen develop new skills, connect with the community, and establish meaningful relationships.

One week into the very first semester at Fulbright University Vietnam, many of the freshmen found themselves amazed at how the Orientation Weeks 2022 had worked to ease in their every step navigating university life, from finding classrooms on campus to getting access to a wide range of student services.

Made possible by the Student Engagement unit and accompanied by a multitude of university-wide departments, the two-week orientation program was a comprehensive introduction of Fulbright to its more than 200 newbies of Co26. The program comprised numerous informative workshops and recreational activities, aiming to foster 11 change-maker competencies, including innovative & creative thinking, ethical reasoning, critical thinking, knowledge, collaboration, effective communication, reasoning, lifelong learning, civic engagement, health & wellness, and sense of self.

With small teams allocated in the first week, the second half of Orientation Weeks 2022 brought about new challenges for newbies to work with each other and get hands-on experience, in and beyond the classroom. “All of these lessons get the students ready for the upcoming journey and lay a solid bedrock for lifelong learning and excellence as engaged members of society,” exclaimed Ms. Ruby Nguyen, Student Engagement Manager, Office of Student Life.

Fulbright’s First Project 

“Given three months, what project would you implement to enhance the student life at Fulbright University Vietnam?” was the challenge prompt for Co26’s Fulbright’s First Project.

The project pushed our newcomers to turn their own imagination of college life into reality, given insights and resources at Fulbright of which they have learned in the past week. Aiming to empower students to lead the change that can directly impact their upcoming journey, the Office of Student Life will grant up to VND 30,000,000 to the winning team so they can bring their project to life.

The judging panel comprised Mr. Steve Paris – Director of Student Life, Dr. Dinh Vu Trang Ngan – Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Ms. Dinh Thi Binh Duong – Director of Finance, and Mr. Mitch Kirby – Senior Education Advisor, United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The selection criteria for the winning projects are booth decoration, challenge identification, innovative & creative thinking, implementation plan, and teamwork.

After hours of brainstorming, on Friday, September 16, twenty teams showcased their projects in a booth to the Fulbright community, and make their presentation to the judges. “All of the projects were not only practical, but also heartwarming, and social-oriented,” praised Ms. Dinh Thi Binh Duong. “Our freshmen are surely bringing a breath of fresh air to Fulbright. They come with inclusivity, an unyielding passion of youth, and personality diversity. Despite the time constraint, our newbies still pursued their projects with unwavering professionalism, which showed in the way they delivered their presentation, convinced the audience, and answered the judges’ questions”.

“All of the projects were not only practical, but also heartwarming, and social-oriented,” praised Ms. Dinh Thi Binh Duong.

Group 19 brought home the championship with Fulbike, making bicycles the means of transportation for Fulbright’s Waterfront residential freshmen. Riding a bike improves not only physical fitness but also one’s learning abilities and mental health. It can even develop your sense of adventure. Fulbike, when coming true, will provide free bikes for freshmen to get to the Fulbright campus quickly.

Running up was Group 5 with its Subject Tracking Website, solving the issue of tracking required courses in a liberal arts university like Fulbright. No matter if you pick a dual or single major, no matter if you are confident with your academic choices or you are still figuring it out, the website will assist you in navigating the challenges of academic progress and realizing your potential.

Tackling homesickness, a common problem that many Fulbright students shared moving away from home, the Fulture Fair (Fulbright Culture Fair) of Group 7 won the Second Runner Up prize. In the projected fair, students will ‘bring their homeland to Fulbright’ and share with each other their diverse culture: cuisine, clothing, dialects, stories, and photos.

SignLang of Group 20 won the Consolation Prize with a profound mission. Focusing on empathy, diversity, and communications, SignLang aims to help teach sign language to the Admission Team, facilitating their approach to Fulbright candidates with disabled hearing. The team members will also initiate optional sign language classes for Fulbright students in collaboration with the local hearing aid center.

Apart from the judges’ decision, Sweet Therapy Station of Group 3 won the People’s Choice Award with the highest vote casted by Fulbright students and staff. The Sweet Therapy Station will offer free daily-replenished protein bars, sweets, and coffee aimed to improve the productivity and alertness of the Fulbright community. Furthermore, it will also address the problem of those with low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, with immediate help.

Flamee-inspired recreational activities

Filled with project-based activities, the Orientation Weeks 2022 also introduced newbies with buoyant recreational activities that help them to loosen up, and foster critical thinking and collaboration among members.

Like an amusement park, “Flamee Park” consisted of numerous game stations, such as Road to Fullympia, The Price is Right, Lemon Soda Station, and Teamlepathy. Each of which asked for a specific knowledge or skill that required all team effort.

“Uncover Flamen’s Secret” was an exciting quest. Based on Flamee Journey Handbook, Flamee stumbles upon the secret treasure left by their grandfather, Elder Flamen. To decipher ancient writings, the little flame embarks on a journey that sharpens their understandings and reasonings. The conundrums were divided into pairs of ciphers, which, when linked, reveal an interesting detail about the treasure. Each team was to find hidden codes scattered around Fulbright’s District 7 campus, the Waterfront Residence, and Lawrence S.Ting Foundation, all of which are locations the freshmen will frequent in the upcoming college days.

Along with many student-centered programs for Co26, the Student Engagement Unit also organized a parents orientation meeting to connect them with Student Life, Academic Affairs, and Admissions. Attending the event, parents learned about the Undergraduate programs and the multitude of student-run initiatives at Fulbright. They were also able to resolve their concerns through direct dialogues with Fulbright staff regarding the upcoming 4 years of their beloved children.

The orientation program culminated in a Closing Ceremony, celebrating achievements of Co26 in the past fortnight with a variety of performances by talented student clubs and the freshmen themselves. The ceremony announced the winning teams of Fulbright’s First Project, and honored the dedication of many Student Orientation Leaders. If it were not for these enthusiastic volunteers, the initiative would not have made such a lasting impact to our newbies.

“I realized the most wonderful thing in every Fulbrighter is the willingness to engage. Everyone is just so willing to help and feel for someone, regardless of who they are or where they come from,” said Trần Nguyễn Hạnh Nguyên, a student of Co26 and also the Best Participant in Orientation Weeks 2022. “The program helped me make new friends and come to understand what it is like to be a Fulbright student. From the very beginning to the last day, I was so welcomed with open arms and companionship that, even in some moments, I did not feel like a newbie at all!”

Phương Mai

Sunday, September 18 marked the beginning of Class of 2026’s venture into a learning process in and beyond the classroom. The convocation kicks off the freshmen’s culminating experience for the completion of an undergraduate degree program, aiming to serve the communities and society at large. 

“For Freshmen, this is the start of your journey of growth and learning in a place that will have the greatest influence on your life, a university. Convocation is a rite of passage and a cause for celebration and gratitude,” said Ms. Nora Taylor, Interim Provost of Fulbright University Vietnam, in her welcoming remarks for the Convocation Ceremony of the Undergraduate Class of 2026.

Ms. Nora Taylor, Interim Provost at Fulbright University Vietnam, in her opening remarks

Preparing your future self with longtermism

As a multitude of “Grand Challenges” of Vietnam, the region, and the world that awaits us in the future, the young generation who was born with technology and digital advancements needs to step up to become creative, critical and community-minded pioneers. 

On the role of the young generation, especially Fulbright’s incoming students, President Đàm Bích Thủy affirmed: “The fifth intake represents a steadfast commitment to the future—to longtermism. This commitment comes despite all unforeseen changes. Despite all the uncertainty. Despite the critics”

President Đàm Bích Thủy affirms the role of young generation in the Age of Now

Longtermism is the shared belief that what we decide today will impact the future and the people who live in it. Prior to longtermism, the concern for the future is agreed upon in the abstract. This new concept puts a priority on the long-term future in the age of Now.

Since the longtermism embraces such a large and complex body of work, President Đàm Bích Thủy introduced a “university student edition” including four (04) points to prepare your future self for longtermism during your undergraduate time at Fulbright: (1) Explore what is out there, and be prepared to change your mind; (2) Be immensely interested in what you do; (3) Surround yourself with good company. There is nothing like a good adventure with even greater friends. (4) And finally, remember to call home.

Owning your knowledge and leaving your legacy 

Fulbright fosters students’ self-development, not only in the academic field, but also in community services and work placement. Fulbright, therefore, invites representatives from diverse backgrounds to give keynote speeches at its annual Convocation. This year, as a continuation of tradition, Fulbright had the honor of having Author Đinh Đức Hoàng as the main speaker. 

Author Đinh Đức Hoàng, Fulbright’s keynote speaker of Convocation 2022

Delivering excerpts of his intellectual discoveries, in a witty manner, Đinh Đức Hoàng amazed students, faculty and other participants with his personal journey.  His exposure to the “intellectual philistine” philosophical concept introduced by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche helped him realize the true value of knowledge. “Reading, memorizing, and restating knowledge you get from books are not wrong. But it will never be right. Knowledge can only be formed through a process of contemplation, experience, absorption, critical thinking, and self-reflection.”

He also emphasized the role of original learning and ideas in achieving a sustainable career and leaving a legacy for the far-distant future generation. “Our society will come to respect original knowledge more. […] You need original knowledge that it is the legacy you leave behind. […] The world only needs to be a bit better when you leave than when you come in; that means you already leave behind a legacy.”.

Making the most out of Fulbright

Our liberal arts education values exploration, interdisciplinarity, close communities, small classes and an open curriculum. This brings you opportunities to explore your intellectual curiosity, learn from a diverse community of students, mentors and staff,  initiate interesting projects and produce original works. From the perspective of the Interim Provost who was a liberal arts student herself when she was 18 years old, Ms. Nora Taylor sent her wishes to the Class of 2026 students: “I wish you a wonderful start to your education. Don’t be afraid to explore, don’t be afraid of change, don’t be afraid to fail. May you find your true loves, your passions, your best friends, your mentors and your people and together we will continue to build this great university.”.

Ms. Đinh Vũ Trang Ngân, Dean of Undergraduate Program at Fulbright University Vietnam, guides students to read Fulbright Honor Code

Representing the current students, Việt Hà and Hoàng Hoa, President & Vice-President of the Fulbright Student Council, stated that the new cohort 2026 is not only welcomed to be part of Fulbright’s community, but also “play a major role in shaping, reshaping, and nurturing the culture of this community”. 

Việt Hà and Hoàng Hoa, President & Vice-President of the Fulbright Student Council

“We believe the tree of the Fulbright Student Council will flourish with diverse shapes and sizes, in accordance with the caring of every generation. Together, the Fulbright Student Council and The student Body will share this right and responsibility of building the Fulbright community and the communities out there.”

Closing the 2022 Convocation ceremony, a music performance by Class of 2026 talents presented as a manifesto of their cohort: We are different colors with different personalities from different backgrounds; we are here together to create a gorgeous painting while remaining in our true colors. 

An Bình

________

Some key moments at the Convocation 2022

When Ms. Dam Bich Thuy, President of Fulbright University Vietnam, invited me to give a keynote speech at Convocation this year, she asked me to talk about how to break down stereotypes and create the world the way you want it to be. I was perplexed. I did not know what to talk to you about. There is an inherent paradox: I, myself, am against empiricism. If the goal is to break down stereotypes, why should you listen to your predecessor? And who in their right mind would want to share their experience in not following experience? To break down stereotypes, the first thing you should do is doubt predecessors like us, not follow us. 

I did live like that – I asked questions and doubted all experience my predecessors tried to teach me – and now here I am, telling you to listen to me, hear all the right things I have to say; isn’t it silly? 

This paradox exists everywhere. For example, liberalism. At the end of the day, liberalism is a system full of rigid principles, and sometimes, throughout history, people acted on behalf of liberalism to oppress others using violence. Who would want to impose freedom, with violence, no less? It is as if we, out of the blue, punch someone in the face, saying: “Who allows you to think this way? You need to think freely.”

I took a while to think, and question what the most important thing I learned in life is so that I can share it with you today.

Please allow me to share with you a German concept called “Bildungsphilister”, a concept introduced by Friedrich Nietzsche. It means “intellectual philistine.”

When I was 19 years old, I read quite a bit about philosophy. Back then, we were not as lucky as you are; the Internet was very expensive. In my first year in college, I worked part-time for a communication company and usually spent the night there because, at the office, there was A/C, instant noodles, and computers connected to the Internet. At the place where I rented, there were not these three things, especially instant noodles. During those sleepless nights at the office, I ate my noodles and then read Marx’s Das Kapital, the Teachings of Buddha, Kant’s ethics, and Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra; of course, I could not understand a thing. I thought if I wanted to be an elite, I needed to read. If I were to read, I should read works from famous authors, the classics. But works of those like Kant, I could not make a word out of it. 

However, in those days, I was fortunate to learn one teaching from Nietzsche, and that is: to simply read in a petty-bourgeois-self-complacent manner will not make you better.

A bildungsphilister is someone who reads newspapers and reviews and imagines themselves to be cultured and educated but lacks genuine, introspective erudition. You will meet these people everywhere in the world, especially in a society like Vietnam, where the Internet and the open market provide everyone with a wealth of knowledge – something that everyone has the right to think it is their own. 

You can see it from all the fan pages that collect excerpts of famous works; the hot girls who share famous life quotes while showing off their bodies; speakers who don’t have practical projects but always talk about Western books; journalists, and scholars who depend on some famous people for quotes… And it does not just happen in the field of science. If you follow enough fan pages and Instagram accounts, you will receive tons of knowledge regarding life, compassion, and the way to live – all quoted from somewhere. We are living in an era of copying and pasting. 

You may turn out like one of them in the future. You may read something, resonate with it, and think that you know more than others. Tomorrow, you might ask your friends if they were to know why the real estate market and Wall Street in America crumbled in 2008, all because you just watched a Michael Moore movie. You would say: It’s very deep, let me explain it to you. My friends, that is how a bildungsphilister would talk. 

I, and perhaps many professors here, will say that even if you finish all the movies by Michael Moore, and Adam McKay, or read everything from Noam Chomsky, you still don’t know what happened in America. Only until you look into how the banking system and the real estate market in Vietnam operate – let me emphasize, in Vietnam, in 2022 – then you’d know what happened in America in 2008. I think that is how a real intellectual comes to be. 

Reading, memorizing, and restating knowledge you get from books are not wrong. But it will never be right. Knowledge can only be formed through a process of contemplation, experience, absorption, critical thinking, and self-reflection. You may think that if Noam Chomsky says something, it must be absolutely right. But it will only become your own knowledge if you observe and reflect on it with what is happening in our world. If it does not intrinsically materialize within you, it is not yours; and you only repeat someone else’s words. 

That is basically how Nietzsche described “bildungsphilister”. I was fortunate to read this when I was 19 so that I did not become an “intellectual philistine”. And one should not become a “bildungsphilister”, even though living like that is very posh. It may look as though there is nothing wrong with saying what you read, what you watched, what you remembered. If others don’t read, it’s their loss. If I spend time reading newspapers, and books, and watching documentaries on Netflix, I am allowed to repeat what was said in those things. That should be my knowledge.

The professors will tell you that knowledge, even the most basic, most cliché concept, can only be truly yours if you actually experience it and reflect on it. 

Let me tell you a funny story. I previously told you that I read Buddha’s teaching when I was young. In those teachings that Buddha said to the bhikkhus – Buddhist monks or priests, there was one thing I strongly resonated with.

That saying goes: “The mind of the world cannot be understood. If you try, you may end up in insanity and agony.” (Roughly translated)

If the goal is just to interpret it, then the young me could easily do it. For instance, we, the world around us, and what is happening around us are unenlightened. We do not need to try and define its true nature. If we try to understand the mind of everything, we will go insane.

Of course, it is. This is wonderful. Excellent. You should definitely remember this.

And here is another story. There was this phase in my life when I dated two girls at the same time and could not choose between them. I did not actually cheat since I told one of the two that the other was my girlfriend. This “third-person” in my relationship also had a boyfriend then. When you have feelings for someone, you tend to hang out together with common friends; that’s what I did. But then my feelings for this “third person” grew day by day, to the point that the two girls could not take it anymore. They decided to meet and talked it out.

I did not know how the meeting went. But afterward, I met the “third person” first. She told me: “We should not meet anymore. You should go.”

Do you know what I told her – me, a 20-year-old “intellectual philistine”, who read philosophy every night and thought that the girls loved me because I was “intellectual”? I told her: “The mind of the world cannot be understood. If you try, you may end up in insanity and agony.” I quoted Buddha to fix my love problems. I swear. 

Then she said: “I don’t understand. You should go.” And that love of mine did not materialize because I could not go back to my official girlfriend either. 

15 years later, we met by chance. What’s left were only feelings between two old friends. We talked about life, and of course, about what we should try to care less about life. I suddenly realized that only then, we understood that saying. It is true that “The mind of the world cannot be understood. If you try, you may end up in insanity and agony.” Only then I understood, as did she. We were in our middle-age years. 

And even those quotes about love or life, we sometimes need a while, 15-20 years or so, to actually understand what they are about. 

Knowledge about love is very important. But anyway, today is a convocation ceremony of a university. Let’s talk about professional knowledge. To me, no matter what their profession is, one’s biggest tragedy is to “borrow knowledge.”

I have friends who are “intellectual philistines”. They have social status; money is not even an issue. This problem exists because access to knowledge is not equal in Vietnamese society. It may be more equal in your generation; but people in the rural areas, don’t even have Netflix to watch, 4G, or a bookstore. In my generation, the gap is even wider. I was lucky to find a part-time job with free Internet. But in the 2000s, most of my friends went to bed early (because even if they didn’t, there weren’t any instant noodles to soothe their hunger).

This gap enabled some to read more than others, to have better English, to have better Google skills – and they continue using that advantage to compete in life. 20 years ago, the publishing market was dominated by translated foreign books and publications. People did not know how to search for information – and there existed a group of journalists and experts who were good at paraphrasing what they learned from the Internet and made good money doing that. A lot of money.  In my first job interview 16 years ago, the only question that I still remember was: “Which Internet site do you use for information?” Back then, knowing where to read was a desirable skill. Reading in English was much cooler.  These “intellectual philistines” still have a place in today’s society. 

On the contrary, I also have friends who only write original works – what they think, reflect on, collect, or are enlightened. They may be slow in making money because they cannot mass-produce original works. Sometimes, they are only known for one life-work. Being original is much harder than borrowing from someone else.

In my life, I only respect the latter type – those who are original. The first type, even though they can drive an S-class Mercedes, quote Immanuel Kant in German, I still feel sorry for them. I genuinely do.

You probably recognized those belonging to the second type, the originals. Besides doctors, musicians, and researchers, there are mechanics, farmers, and snail sellers. They are the experts in their field because they observe and reflect on it.

Imagine two scenarios: one in which you are squatting in an automotive repair shop. You watch on as the mechanic takes apart your Kawasaki, inspects it, diagnoses it, and tries to find out why there is a weird sound in the engine. The second scenario is one in which you are sitting in a class taught by a professor with a Ph.D. However, you know for certain that the slides are just the Vietnamese version of something foreign and that your teacher only translated it and is parroting it. Imagine these two scenarios and you will understand what I meant when I said I respect one and feel sorry for the other.

But why do we need original knowledge if borrowing it helps us make money faster with less effort? I think there are two reasons for that: one is the sustainability of original knowledge, and two is the legacy you wish to leave behind.

Borrowed knowledge is not sustainable, even in making money. If you only parrot what other people say, it will quickly become outdated. I said before that when the country was first opened, making money from translating foreign content dominated the publishing market. But here comes your generation, those who can read English, and acquire information from free platforms like Reddit. You don’t even have to read newspapers. These “experts” will soon be out of work. You cannot imagine, that when I was 21 years old, I made the equivalent of today’s VND 70 million a month just by reading and translating foreign newspapers. You can’t imagine because who would need that profession now? Today, if you only know how to read newspapers in English, then you have no skill at all.

And right now, I am witnessing how these “intellectual philistines,” “borrowing experts”, or “Googling gods” are losing their ground. 

Architects parroted “Scandinavian style”, minimalism, or “Indochine style” because other people said so, not because they understood the foundations of these cultures. They still make good money in certain provinces but will gradually lose in markets where the quality of life is improving. Writers, copying Hollywood’s or Korean motifs and putting them in the Vietnamese context without a real understanding of the people and their situations, will lose to even foreign writers – those who spent their whole lives researching one specific topic.  

Communication experts, preaching Western models, quoting Philip Kotler or David Ogilvy, without understanding Asian or Vietnamese psychology, will lose to the self-learned mechanic I previously mentioned: If he ever decides to open a series of shops, he will, more than anyone, fully understand how the Vietnamese people behave and expect from their motorbikes. He will understand Philip Kotler better than those who read Philip Kotler in English and can devise an excellent marketing strategy all by himself.

We are not talking about how we can get a job after graduation. We are talking about a 30- to 40-year career. Google cannot sustain this career for you.

Your career can only be sustainable if everything you say is what you realized for yourself. It is sustainable because when you believe in what you say and what you do when it is part of you, it is your thinking, then making a lot of money or just a bit of money won’t determine the value of your career. Your career now is part of whom you are as a person, embedded in your heart, not the ladder of money. Super sustainable.

And believe me when I say our society will come to respect original knowledge more. And it will reward you.

The second reason why you need original knowledge is that it is the legacy you leave behind. It is also the theme of this year’s convocation: to create the world the way you want it to be. Legacy is not something so great as a statue; it is any good deed you do for the world. The world only needs to be a bit better when you leave than when you come in; that means you already leave behind a legacy.

How to acquire original knowledge? You have to read. A lot. You have to remember, but not to parrot, to live like an “intellectual philistine,” or to show off with your peers. You carve it in your brain, and life will provide you with more pieces, from which knowledge will be formed. Don’t allow yourself to say something, or parrot some particular knowledge if you are not confident that it is what you realize for yourself.

Copying and pasting are not wrong. It is only wrong when you don’t understand what you are “pasting.” I only realize what an “intellectual philistine” means after years of carving it in my head.

It is a more painful journey than going on Wikipedia or Pinterest to copy so you can meet your deadlines. But the professors here will tell you that knowledge, more than often, will form through loss, pain, and even regrets.

The journey to pursue original knowledge is also an unfair one. Sometimes you suddenly realized that those who copy knowledge are making more money and getting rich faster. You may wonder: “But my goal of getting a bachelor’s degree is to have a good job and make money. Is self-actualization or creating a better world that important?”

I would say that how much you understand and what you believe in depend on you. Because: “The mind of the world cannot be understood. If you try, you may end up in insanity and agony.”

Thank you.

Dinh Duc Hoang,

Author, Journalist

Welcome, everyone, to Fulbright University Vietnam’s Convocation 2022! 

To our distinguished guests, members of the board, graduate and undergraduate faculty and staff, friends, family, and most importantly, our students – it is an honor for me to speak with you today and mark the beginning of Fulbright’s academic year.

I have had this great honor to speak at Convocation since our very first undergraduate intake in 2018. 

This year marks a special milestone in Fulbright’s history: It is our fifth intake of undergraduate students, and it is our first year with a graduating class of students. 

For many, this is the moment we have all been waiting for. Fulbright will finally have a graduating class, and Fulbright will be continually building, broadening, and championing a liberal arts education in Vietnam.

This fifth intake and the first graduating class — and all of the years before and in between to make it possible — comes at a time when your generation — “Gen Z” — is in the “Age of Now.”

If you want food or milk tea now, you open Baemin or Grab or GoJek. If you want entertainment now, you open Instagram or Netflix or TikTok. If you want to chat with friends and family now, you open Facebook or FaceTime or Zalo or Zoom. And for the brave few — Microsoft Teams! If you want basically anything else now, you open Lazada or Shopee or Tiki. 

So many things in life you want can happen now. 

But what we want  in life is not always what we need. 

The world is changing rapidly. There’s an acronym to describe this phenomenon: VUCA. Our world is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. At the same time, the world is facing a series of looming and existential threats: climate change, labor market automation from the 4th Industrial Revolution.

We all are experiencing this rapid change and these looming threats ourselves: A global pandemic taking the lives of millions. A military conflict in Europe. Catastrophic flooding in South Korea and Pakistan. Wildfires raging in California. What next?

In a world where everything seems to go sideways, how can we maintain the energy and optimism to do something about it? How can we curtail the impending doom and gloom we see across the news? How can we address these massive, world changing problems that just feel so far off? 

What we need in this “VUCA world” is not “life-on-demand”. Not everything at our fingertips now. 

What we need are critical and creative thinkers, ready to take on the “Grand Challenges” of Vietnam, the region, and the world.

What we need are pioneering spirits, ready to embrace the uncertainty and define it for others.

What we need are community minded leaders, ready to create the broadest social impact for as many people as possible.

What we need  is you.

If you will indulge me for the next 10 minutes, I want us to explore this question which our world is so at odds with: How can we create lasting social impact in the “Age of Now”?

In these next ten minutes, I want to share with you my perspective on answering this question, a case study demonstrating said perspective, and — as always — a distillation of what I shared into actionable advice. 

I began my sharing with the significance of this year’s convocation — the fifth intake

Your year, the Class of 2026 — the fifth intake — is the answer to how we can create a lasting social impact in the “Age of Now.”

The fifth intake represents a steadfast commitment to the future — to longtermism. This commitment comes despite all unforeseen changes. Despite all the uncertainty. Despite the critics.

Longtermism is the sincere belief that future people count. Longtermism is understanding that we here today must take seriously our role in shaping the future and the lives that will live in it. Longtermism — especially in our VUCA world with existential threats coinciding with the “Age of Now” — is to accept that we are living in a time of both exceptional opportunity and profound responsibility.

At Fulbright, we fully understand that progress takes time. It happens slowly. And, it rarely — if ever — goes in a straight line. Pushing for our better society, therefore, requires not only a high degree of patience and flexibility, but also a tolerance for contradictions, disruptions, and side steps along the way. 

At Fulbright, we have become comfortable with this fact. We need to stay comfortable with this fact. And most importantly — we must ensure that those who walk through our doors will be prepared to embrace this fact.

Now, onto our case study . Fulbright University Vietnam is longtermism par excellence.

As Vietnam emerged from centuries of colonization and decades of war, this young nation was starting over again, having the chance to define its own future — this time, on its own terms. 

Nearly 30 years ago — at least a decade before most of you were born — there came an idea from an unlikely pairing: former adversaries. 

This uncanny relationship between Vietnam and the United States is longtermism. It is quite literally the belief that future people count — that you here today mattered, even before you were born.

The path forward 30 years ago was not always easy, or clear, or straightforward. Fulbright started small, as an ambitious Economics Teaching Program to equip and train Vietnam’s current and future leaders with the world’s most forward thinking economics and public policy practices. 

As these leaders came of age with our young nation, year after year, decade after decade, it soon became apparent that we — Vietnam and the United States — must lay an even stronger foundation. To really cement this impact was to extend the reach to even more future people.

And so came Fulbright University Vietnam

It was with the courage of their convictions — now our convictions — that if we can build a strong enough foundation, we can continue to determine our own future. And that to do so is to accept and recognize and invest in future people. Because they count. Because Vietnam’s future — our future — is you.

This might feel like a lot to take in.

Many of you, fresh out of high school, may not have signed up for a lecture to be told that our future rests in your hands! 

I may be a few decades ahead of you all here today, but I am still playing my role in shaping our future — you matter

So, as is the best way to approach such large and complex concepts and problems, let me breakdown longtermism for you all today: university student edition.

First, before you set off focusing on future people, focus on your future self. Making the most out of Fulbright means fully immersing yourself in the experiences and resources we have to offer. 

This means approaching all of our activities, courses, events, opportunities, and people with an open mind. Some would argue that the purpose of college is to find out what you like, but I would argue that the purpose of college is to find out what you do not like. By being here today, I hope that you have come mentally prepared to challenge your own assumptions and, maybe, even change your mind on a thing or two.

Second, you do not have to be good at everything you do, but you should at least be interested in it. 

We have worked diligently to build a student body that is diverse in the broadest sense: academically, geographically, economically. You will meet people from backgrounds that you have never met before, from places you have not yet been. You will meet people who are going to be better than you. 

This is not to stoke competition. It is to remind ourselves that the world is so much bigger than us, and that we should be continually amazed and in wonder of what — and who — is out there. If you all here today can shift your expectations to not be the best at what you do, but the most interested at what you do — you will bring your own magic to this world. And that’s what we need. A little bit of everyone’s magic.

Third, go through your time at Fulbright in good company. Surround yourself with friends, mentors, faculty, and staff who care about you.

It’s going to be these people — these transformative connections — that can make or break your experience at Fulbright. 

Your Fulbright community will be filled with some of the most interesting people in your lives five, 10, 15 years from now. Don’t miss out on the opportunity for when you see them in the future where you can say “Remember that time when…?”

The one thing that you can — and should — do now is Invest building meaningful relationships, they are our future people, too. 

And, fourth — a bonus tip: Remember to call home. They miss you. More than you think. You’ll make their day — trust me.

So, 10 minutes have come and gone — hopefully no one is falling asleep.

How might you all capture the spirit of longtermism by making the most of your time at Fulbright? To recap: 

Explore what is out there, and be prepared to change your mind — hopefully more than once.

Be immensely interested in what you do. Being the best is overrated.

Surround yourself with good company. There is nothing like a good adventure with even greater friends.

Finally — remember to call home. Maybe after Convocation is over.

When you do all the above. When that’s all said and done, perhaps at that point, four years from now, you will look to your friends and recall: “Remember that time when that lady told us how to make the most out of Fulbright?”

Class of 2026, to our future artists, creators, leaders, shapers, and visionaries. 

To our champions of longtermism. 

To our future

Welcome to Fulbright University Vietnam, and welcome to the next best four years of your lives!

Dam Bich Thuy,

President, Fulbright University Vietnam

As per tradition, the Undergraduate Admissions Office invites students, parents and other educational enthusiasts to participate in Open House 2022. 

Open House opens an opportunity for participants to experience actual academic activities at Fulbright through a series of quality demo classes in diverse majors. Especially, as our campus is back to normal operation, besides some offline demo classes, we also welcome visitors to explore our learning spaces and facilities, as well as original works of current Fulbright’s students. 

Timeline of Fulbright Open House:

🌝 7:00 or 7:30 PM, Thursday, Sep 29: Online Demo Classes 

🌝 7:00 or 7:30 PM, Friday, Sep 30: Online Demo Classes 

🌞 8:00 AM, Sunday, Oct 2: Offline Open House (including Demo Classes, Campus Tour & Student Exhibition)

🌞 10:00 AM, Sunday, Oct 2: Audit Online Demo Classes 

📌 Register here to join the demo classes: https://bit.ly/FulbrightOH 

* The detailed information will be sent to your  email address and phone number as registered in the Form. 

👉 Below are sessions you may join in this Open House event:

❇️ Shoshana Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism theory: Information technologies and economic, social, and political dynamics — Social Studies Major — delivered by Dr. Tobias Burgers

Aiming to acquaint students with the broader subjects of social studies, this class seeks to introduce students to crucial questions about the role and impact of technology on societies. Using Zuboff’s surveillance capitalism model, the lecture will demonstrate how technological advancements have profound societal and social consequences. By discussing Zuboff, and her analysis of social media platforms, the students will be encouraged to develop an initial understanding and thinking about the role and socio, economic and political impact of social media companies in contemporary societies. 

❇️ The heart of mathematics — Mathematics Major — delivered by Dr. Văn Phụng Trường Sơn

People say mathematics is logical. What does that mean? What is logic, even?  What does it mean for someone to be logical? Are there laws of logic? What are they? Is being logical better than not being logical? Does anything make sense without logic? Then, what is mathematics, really? More practically, can you make people happier by using mathematics? Believe it or not, not all of these questions have answers. Let’s try to think about them together.

❇️ Properties of Life — Integrated Sciences Major — delivered by Dr. Nguyễn Thị Hồng Dung

At the most fundamental level, we may ask: What is life? Even a kid can realize a cat or a tree is alive, while a rock or a bike is not. Yet the phenomenon we call life defies a simple definition. We recognize life by what living things do. Biology, the scientific study of life, is a subject of enormous scope, and exciting new biological discoveries are being made every day. In this lesson, we will learn about the characteristics of life and apply them to identify an item as living or nonliving. 

❇️ How to See the World: Artists and Historical Technologies of Vision — Art & Media Studies Major — delivered by Dr. Pamela Corey, Richard Streitmatter-Tran, Dr. Linda Zhang, Dr. Lương Ngọc Trâm 

In this demo class, we will briefly introduce the Art & Media Studies major and show how art history, studio art, photography, and media studies come together in a presentation about optical technologies, perspective, and realism.

❇️ Engineering Exploration — Sciences and Engineering Major — delivered by Dr. Trương Trung Kiên and Dr. Đoàn Nhật Minh

This course helps students explore the Engineering program at Fulbright University Vietnam and introduces them to how Engineering classes often happen.

❇️ East Asian History: A Disorientation Session — History Major — delivered by Dr. Mark Frank

My 50-minute teaching demo will combine elements of lecture and open-ended discussion. I will first talk about the history of modern cartography and its impact on the way we view world regions like East Asia. I will further challenge the coherence of “East Asia” as a historical and geographical category by demonstrating that other ways of thinking about geography are equally valid. I will then present what I think are the strongest arguments for thinking about East Asia as a unit of historical analysis. During this time, I also want to elicit students’ own thoughts about regional geography and learn how they see East Asia in relation to Vietnam. 

❇️ Challenging Nam Tien: The Forgotten role of Southern Non-Kinh peoples in the formation of Modern Vietnam — Vietnam Studies Major — delivered by Dr. Nic Weber

In this lecture, I would like to challenge some well-known theories regarding history, for instance the concept of ‘Nam Tien’ or ‘Movement Southward’. My goal in this lecture is to offer you some perspectives on Vietnamese history by emphasizing on its diversity and the contribution of non-Kinh peoples to the development of modern Vietnam. National history is often featured as the history of a majority or a dominant group. Therefore, I would like to invite you to look at Vietnam’s history not through the viewpoint of the Kinh but through the lens of ethnicity

❇️ Economics: What is it about? —Economics Major — delivered by Dr. Nguyễn Thị Hoàng Lan, Dr. Phan Tuấn Ngọc, Dr. Khiếu Văn Hoàng. 

What is economics? Is it all about money? This class will provide a clear understanding on the definition of economics and what economists are doing. We will also understand how microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics, which are three main pillars of economics, are positioned in the field.

❇️ Introduction to Machine Learning — Computer Science Major — delivered by Dr. Phan Thành Trung and Dr. Huỳnh Việt Linh

What is machine learning (ML)? This class will provide a clear understanding on ML and how ML is applied today. We will also understand how supervised, and unsupervised learnings are used in real-life applications.

For the Undergraduate Class of 2027 admissions process, Fulbright University Vietnam has decided to implement the new Alpha interview round besides the usual Beta interview round. Each eligible applicant is only required to participate in one (01) interview. Alpha and Beta interview rounds carry the same admissions weight; therefore, applicants’ choices of interview type will not influence admission decisions.
To help applicants in choosing the interview option suitable for their personal plans, Fulbright introduces four (04) points to differentiate two (02) types of interviews:
1️⃣ Interview time
🟡 Alpha interview round will take place prior to the admissions application deadline of each cycle
🔵 Beta interview round will take place after the admissions application deadline of each cycle
2️⃣ Registration
🟡 Applicants are able to register for Alpha interview round before the admission deadline. There are four (04) steps in the registration process, as following:
✔️Step 1: Register for the Alpha Interview round at: https://bit.ly/FUVAlpha
✔️ Step 2: Start an online Admissions and Financial Aid application at https://apply.fulbright.edu.vn and take note of the Applicant ID (27FXXXXX)
✔️ Step 3: Prepare a personal CV to share with Fulbright Admissions Officer at the time of the interview
✔️ Step 4: Choose an interview time slot under the guidance of Admissions Student Assistants from Fulbright
🔵 No self-registration option for Beta interview round. Only shortlisted applicants from the application round will be invited to participate in Beta interview option.
3️⃣ Interview format
🟡 Alpha interview round can be conducted online or in-person at Ho Chi Minh City or at the provinces that Fulbright Admissions Officers visit.
🔵Beta interview round will be take place online.
4️⃣ Applicants’ benefits
🟡 With Alpha interview option, applicants have chances to finish their admissions process early and receive valuable feedbacks to complete their application.
🔵 With Beta interview option, applicants have more time to carefully prepare for their application and the following interview.
Please direct your inquiries regarding admissions and financial aid at Fulbright to the admissions team’s Facebook page at fb.com/RoadtoFUV or via email at apply@fulbright.edu.vn or via our hotline 028 7303 7788.

Launched on September 5, the first half of Orientation Weeks 2022 has seen a multitude of remarkable events brought together by university-wide departments for more than 250 Fulbright freshmen.

The hustle and bustle returns to Fulbright University Vietnam campus in every corner with Orientation Weeks 2022. As buoyant layers of the two-week program unfold, Class of 2026 students have been familiarizing themselves with university life through the Flamee Journey Handbook, offered by Fulbright’s Student Engagement Unit.

Flamee Handbook

Class of 2026 students have been familiarizing themselves with university life through the Flamee Journey Handbook

Ranging from innovative and creative thinking to civic engagement, Orientation Weeks 2022 is packed with informative workshops and captivating activities. By participating in these sessions, Fulbright newbies can collect stickers for their Flamee Journey Handbook to receive exclusive gifts while learning new skills, making new friends, and above all, developing inner strength for their new future at Fulbright.

Check-in Activities

The program kicked off with Welcome Day, causing a sensation around campus with innovative check-in initiatives to help Class of 2026 students ease some pressure on their first day at school.

At the entrance of the university’s Common Area, the Teddy Bear Corner hosted more than 100 stuffed animals for students. While easing off the anxieties of transitioning to a new life may require far more than just the companionship of a plushie, the Teddy Bear Corner was an inventive initiative that encouraged Fulbright rookies to be more attentive to their perfectly normal sense of alienation. Cleaned and sanitized every day before being handed over to freshmen, something as simple as stuffed animals was tremendously effective for one’s mental health, especially when changes were in flux.

Teddy Bear Corner

The Teddy Bear Corner hosted more than 100 stuffed animals for students

Emotional Board was another initiative to promote mindfulness where newbies were encouraged to record their emotions, either by writing or sketching, in colorful sticky notes. Besides serving as a light-hearted engaging activity that helped freshmen to be observant of their wellbeing, the Emotional Board was also a stunning feature wall to look at.

Emotional Board

Emotional Board was another initiative to promote mindfulness at Fulbright

Many Class of 2026 students were dazzled by the ‘Welcome to Fulbright’ board. By taking selfie pictures with their names on the board, newcomers can give themselves a pat on the back while earning some stickers for their Flamee Journey Handbook. Regardless of their diversity in life experiences and beliefs, these eager young talents made their way to Fulbright to help build a pluralistic learning community and a transformative education environment.

Welcome to Fulbright board

Many Class of 2026 students were dazzled by the ‘Welcome to Fulbright’ board.

Service Fair

Service Fair was a vibrant setting where the freshmen were introduced to Fulbright’s 11 student-centered departments and units for the very first time. Ranging from Learning Support to Career Development, these booths allowed the Class of 2026 to gain better insight into all of the services available for their upcoming interdisciplinary growth. By visiting each booth and chatting with Fulbright staff, they learned the ultimate guideline to get the most out of university experience, while bringing home meaningful gifts as well as collecting Flamee stamps and stickers.

Service Fair Service Fair Service Fair Service Fair Service Fair Service Fair Service Fair Service Fair

Newbie Lunch

As the Class of 2026 navigated the Fulbright campus for the first time, they were to small groups of 10-15 students. Over lunches, they participated in ice-breaking group activities and learned about self-care techniques to identify varying ranges of emotions. Facilitated among small bonding spaces in and out of campus, this initiative fostered meaningful dialogues among young adults about mental health and at the same time, helped them form rewarding connections and build communities with their fellow students.

Newbie Lunch

Newbie Lunch

Over lunches, Class of 2026 participated in ice-breaking group activities and learned about self-care techniques to identify varying ranges of emotions.

Fullife FulNight

Fullife FulNight was a joyous event organized by the Residential Life Unit for both residents and non-residents at the Waterfront Residence. From making origami, painting each other’s nails to peer pong and karaoke booths, the event enabled participants to loosen up, adapt to their new residence and forge connections with flatmates before their first academic school year starts.

Held for only one night during the two-week program, the Fullife FulNight offered a glimpse of many thrilling activities to come including Bustle, Fullife and WeCARE initiatives. These valuable living and learning experiences beyond the classroom will focus on embracing diversity, interpersonal development, communication skills, and the empowerment of independence.

Movie Night

Movie Night was another all-out effort made possible by the Student Engagement Unit. Classrooms were transformed into screening rooms, tickets were printed out and even the claw machines were brought to campus. All of which were to bring about a one-of-a-kind Fulbright movie theater experience where Fulbright freshmen can enjoy iconic films with each other. Among “Inside Out”, “Moana”, “Enola Holmes”, and “How To Train Your Dragon”, they got to choose their favorite movies to watch as well as mix popcorn and soft drinks. Afterward, students had a good laugh by testing their luck at the claw machines and trying out temporary tattoo stickers.

Club Fair

Club Fair was probably the most talked-about event of the Orientation Weeks so far. A joint effort between the Fulbright Student Council and the Student Engagement Unit, the event took place last Saturday, September 10. With the radiant presence of all 27 student clubs spanning from academics to society to sports and arts, the Club Fair was a hit to many Class of 2026 students and an eye-opening phenomenon unlike any other event before.

After making the epic grand entrance towards their designated booths, all of the club executives invited the freshmen to engage in different types of activities and get to know the dynamic of many Fulbright-affiliated organizations. Whether it was recruitment, advertising an event, fundraising, supporting a cause, or awareness outreach, these clubs swept newcomers off their feet with mutually fervent enthusiasm. As the academic year is approaching, the Club Fair gave newbies a sneak-peek into club operations at Fulbright and encouraged them to choose the right community, which in turn, will foster their growth in the upcoming journey with the university.

Club Fair 5

Phương Mai

Ho Chi Minh city – Founding President of Fulbright University Vietnam, Ms. Dam Bich Thuy, announced her plan to step down from the presidency by Summer 2023, after eight years of spearheading the founding and development of Vietnam’s first private, not-for-profit liberal arts university.

In her letter to the Fulbright community this morning, September 12, 2022, Ms. Dam Bich Thuy shared that it was her “extreme privilege to have been part of the mission to build Fulbright University Vietnam from scratch.” Thus, she continued, “it has been a difficult decision to step down from the work that I have so loved doing – one that has challenged and inspired me for the past eight years.”

During her tenure, President Thuy guided Fulbright from bold but unproven concept to dynamic reality,” Mr. Thomas Vallely, Chairman of Fulbright University Vietnam’s Board of Trustees highlighted.

We all owe President Thuy an enormous debt of gratitude for her tireless efforts to create a Vietnamese university like no other,” he said.

According to Mr. Vallely, thanks to Ms. Dam Bich Thuy’s relentless and immeasurable efforts, Fulbright is exceptionally well-positioned for continued growth and development. The University is headed towards a very promising future with a diverse, talented, and rapidly growing student body of more than 1,200 graduates and undergraduates by next Fall; an accomplished and dedicated group of faculty and staff; a rigorous curriculum, supported by strong academic partnerships in Vietnam, in the U.S. and other countries; and a solid financial plan for the construction of the flagship campus in Saigon Hi-Tech Park supported by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and the Founders Circle.

Fulbright University Vietnam’s Board of Trustees has launched an international search for President Thuy’s successor. Over the next year, President Thuy will continue to pursue an ambitious agenda to advance the university’s development and prepare the foundation for a smooth transition to a new leader. Fulbright University Vietnam will also be celebrating its first Undergraduate Commencement in June 2023.

Ms. Dam Bich Thuy has had more than a decade of distinguished service to Fulbright University Vietnam ever since Fulbright was just a vision amongst a group of Vietnamese and Americans, who were passionate about creating the next century’s, world-class education for Vietnam. In September 2015, she was announced the Founding President of the newly established Fulbright University Vietnam.

Prior to assuming her presidency at Fulbright University Vietnam, Ms. Thuy had a successful career in banking and finance. In 2005, she was appointed to be the CEO of Vietnam and Indochina at ANZ banking group, making her the first Vietnamese national to lead the operations of a multinational bank.

Before that, Ms. Thuy along with her colleagues founded the first international investment consulting company in Vietnam, bringing in worldly partners such as ANZ, Phillip Morris, Coca-Cola, IBM, and Citibank.

In 1993, Ms. Thuy was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to pursue her master’s degree in the United States. She was among the first Vietnamese to receive this prestigious scholarship before the two nations normalized their diplomatic relationships.

About Fulbright University Vietnam

Fulbright University Vietnam is Vietnam’s first independent, not-for-profit, liberal arts university. We are an expanding international team of educational innovators, with deep roots in Vietnam, strong political and financial backing, and connections to educational institutions around the world.

At Fulbright, we believe in the power of collaboration, transdisciplinary thinking, and risk-taking, and we understand that effective education requires putting students at its center. Globally integrated but deeply embedded in Vietnamese society, Fulbright is dedicated to providing a world-class education, utilizing the latest advancements in institutional design, teaching, learning, technology and other fields to create an institution that is both innovative and globally relevant. Importantly, Fulbright is committed to serving Vietnamese society through rigorous research and responsible civic engagement.