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.
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”
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.
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.”.
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”.
“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.
Some key moments at the Convocation 2022