HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM – Fulbright University Vietnam (Fulbright), the first independent, non-profit liberal arts university in Vietnam, announces today the inaugural members of its Founders Circle. The total commitment of $40 million from these eight Founders and their families will support the first phase construction of Fulbright’s flagship campus in Saigon High-tech Park, Ho Chi Minh City.
This commitment highlights one of the largest philanthropic gifts to a higher education institution in Vietnam. The eight inaugural members include:
- Henry Nguyen & Mrs. Nguyễn Thanh Phượng, Phoenix Holdings
- Lê Văn Kiểm & Family, Chairman of Long Thanh Golf, Investment & Trading JSC.
- Lê Nữ Thùy Dương & Family, Vice-Chairwoman of Long Thanh Golf, Investment & Trading JSC
- Trần Trọng Kiên & Family, Chairman and CEO of Thien Minh Group
- Cuong Do & Family, Former President of the Samsung Global Strategy Group
- Lê Hồng Minh & Family, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of VNG
- Vương Quang Khải & Family, Co-Founder of VNG and President of Zalo
- Lương Tuấn Nghĩa & Family, CEO of Evergreen Invest
“Fulbright is incredibly honored and tremendously fortunate to receive this extraordinary gift from our inaugural Founders. This significant support would help us turn our bold dream of a green campus into reality, a permanent home for the leaders of tomorrow where innovations, sustainability, creativity, and public service will always be nurtured and thrive,” says Ms. Dam Bich Thuy, President of Fulbright University Vietnam.
The announcement of the Fulbright Founders Circle also represents a significant development of philanthropic work in Vietnam. While charity is widely practiced in Vietnam, private philanthropy, particularly in higher education is still limited. “Our Founders believe in the transformational power of education, and it is their faith in Fulbright’s relevance to the future of Vietnam that motivated this historic act of giving. As the beneficiary of such generosity, it is Fulbright’s responsibility to continue fostering impact not only in Vietnam but also in the world. We hope that this kind act of our Founders will inspire Vietnamese people to continue giving to education, a long-term investment that benefits generations to come,” she adds.
Fulbright’s flagship campus will be built in the Saigon High-Tech Park on a 15-hectare parcel of land donated to the University by the Vietnamese government. It will be the most environmentally advanced education complex ever built in Vietnam, committed to net-zero carbon emission. The campus will serve as a living sustainability laboratory for students, faculty, and the interested public.
In conjunction with the Founders’ gift, Fulbright University Vietnam is also the beneficiary of the $37 million via a 20-year direct loan from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to support the Phase I construction of accommodations, academic buildings, and dining and recreation facilities for up to 1,500 students. Fulbright University will continue its fund-raising efforts to complete the whole campus in the years to come, which is expected to accommodate up to 7,000 students across Vietnam.
This largest private gift in Fulbright’s history is announced together with the visit of the U.S. President’s Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry to Fulbright. As a veteran senator, Mr. Kerry has been playing a pivotal role in the normalization of the two former adversaries as well as the establishment of Fulbright University Vietnam.
Fulbright is honored to receive long-term support from the US and Vietnam government in forms of finance and land. These extraordinary gifts and support signify the public-private partnership approach to finance and build Fulbright University Vietnam. They enable the changes that not only better Fulbright but also benefit generations of Vietnamese people now and in the future as originally envisioned by the US and Vietnamese governments when they agreed to establish Fulbright University Vietnam as the first independent liberal arts university in the country.
About Fulbright University Vietnam
Fulbright University Vietnam, a new Vietnamese university with Vietnamese and American origins, serves Vietnamese and global society through teaching, research, and impactful engagement with the world. Fulbright develops highly educated, globally connected citizens prepared and inspired to engage with the challenges and opportunities facing Vietnam and the world.
The university traces its roots to a 1991 bill sponsored by Senator John Kerry to develop an exchange program for Vietnamese students and government officials. Following the success of this program, in 1994 the Department of State funded the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University to partner with the Vietnamese university to establish the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program, Vietnam’s first center of public policy. Both the exchange and graduate public policy programs are still in operation today and have trained over 2,000 public and private sector decision-makers.
In 2016, the public policy center incubated by Harvard transitioned to Fulbright University Vietnam, becoming the university’s first academic program. Today, Fulbright offers three academic programs – the Undergraduate Program in Engineering and the Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, and a problem-focused research program.