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Dear cherished friends of Fulbright University Vietnam,
This month, I had the pleasure of joining a special conference hosted by Fulbright University Vietnam, in coordination with the U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City, to celebrate 27 years of normalized diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the United States. While it warmed my heart to hear Fulbright being cited as a paragon of the people-to-people ties that help strengthen the U.S. – Vietnam relationship, our discussion also revolved around the question of how the university can cultivate a new generation of Vietnamese who can further propel our future.
I believe the answer can be summed up in one word, space. Whereas Fulbright students enjoy a liberal arts education that’s intellectually rigorous and tailored to the demands of the 21st century workforce, they also need concrete space to employ and experiment with the skills they have acquired; to stretch their knowledge, dreams and imagination beyond the scope of schoolwork.
That is why alongside classes anchored in critical thinking and progressive ideas that most oftentimes lead to lengthy yet lively debates between faculty and students, our campus is also alight with student clubs’ get-togethers, student-led community projects, and internship opportunities – extracurricular activities we deem essential to the nurture of a wholesome academic curriculum at Fulbright.
Nonetheless, the room to grow for our students is not limited to experience on campus. Starting from the Spring semester of 2023, Fulbright undergraduates will have the opportunity to go on international exchange for an academic term at Bard College, New York, and/or the Singapore University of Technology and Design. This program is part of our continued efforts to build partnerships with leading institutions that exemplify the best of higher education within the region and across the world.
My dear friends,
The commitment towards excellence that can level, or rival, the standards set by prestigious universities and impactful international enterprises is a quality not only instilled in Fulbright students during their time on campus, but also integral to who they are and whichever endeavor they choose to pursue after graduation.
On August 6, the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM) held the commencement ceremony for graduates of the 2022 Master in Public Policy (MPP2022). Even though the two years of their quest to obtain a Master’s degree were marked, marred, and even scarred by a global pandemic, the MPP2022 graduates had demonstrated “exceptional courage, resilience, agility and determination” that “exemplified the very best of what we call the Fulbright spirit,” remarked Professor Pham Duy Nghia, MPP Program Director and Faculty Member of FSPPM, at the event.
When we liken the 2022 Class of Fulbright’s Master in Public Policy and the upcoming 2023 Class of Fulbright graduates to ships in full sail, the sentiment is based on an ethos constantly harbored and faithfully maintained at Fulbright: whereas our campus provides an open space where students can freely explore and unlock their potential, ultimately, that environment is cultivated with our utmost care and full awareness around the fact that these young people will be the architects of our future – to envisage, design, and build the urban and working spaces; the cultural, community, and academic spaces of our dream.
As a result, the space we cultivate at Fulbright also represents our concentrated efforts to evoke that feeling of home – a safe, nurturing nest for individual self-discoveries, innovation and academic excellence deeply rooted in the history and culture of Vietnam, yet fully embracive of the lessons learned and success stories across the globe. But we also know, the feeling of home is not solely confined to your birthplace. Home is also encapsulated in the set of humane and humanistic values engraved in your heart and soul. It’s something that you can carry and rely on regardless of where you choose to study, work, or dedicate your life to. For “home is […] the untold story of a life being lived”, to quote the late art critic and writer John Berger.
With the sincerest gratitude,
Dam Bich Thuy
President, Fulbright University Vietnam