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Dear cherished friends of Fulbright University Vietnam,
What is the greatest gift you have ever received in life? As the festive season is all around us, it’s the question that members of the Fulbright family find ourselves smiling and reflecting upon, as we look back to yet another eventful and doubtlessly, extraordinary year for the university. Whether it’s lifelong friendship, the spirit of camaraderie and community, or the gift of educational opportunities – and along with it, the privilege to serve and contribute to society’s common good, Fulbright students and their achievements are, to us, the underlying reason that makes life at the university never short of wonders, pride, and thankfulness.
This month, our Student Affairs and Services offices were delighted to host an appreciation night for our “endeared sparkling gems”, where Fulbright undergraduates were treated to an intimate award ceremony shined with unforgettable performances from members of the Fulbright Music Club, the Luminous and Fulbright Theater rising stars. From the Best Student Residential Assistants to the Wellness Ambassador of the Year to the Most Influential Sports Club and the Excellent Club Presidents, among others, the event celebrated Fulbright students’ contributions to a campus that’s both academically and empathetically enriching for their fellow friends, faculty, and the Fulbright community in general.
My dear friends,
The gift that we give and the gift that we receive can oftentimes overlap. As Mr. Nguyễn Phương Lam, a generous supporter of Fulbright University Vietnam, said in a conversation we had earlier this month: “For those who give, in the true spirit of giving, they feel very glad and happy, because what they receive in return are intangible values that money can’t buy”.
Alongside his gift to help Fulbright establish the Nguyễn-Phương Family Scholarship for our undergraduate students, Mr. Nguyễn Phương Lam has also dedicated himself to building training programs that further enrich the Fulbright’s community as well as the lives of Vietnam’s youth. He told us: “In all my [philanthropic] work, I don’t think about legacy or how my name will be remembered. I’m nearly 70 this year; and what I’m concerned about is how humanity will continue to live on this planet. Naturally, you and I want to leave behind a future that’s sustainable and good for our children. And we should do everything in our capacity to ensure it.”
That vision of how we can change the status quo and ensure a sustainable future for our next generation is also an intrinsic value deeply imbued in Fulbright’s undergraduate and graduate programs. Recently, Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM) was pleased to deliver the course “Geospatial Technology in Feasibility Research of Renewable Energy in Vietnam” in Ninh Thuan province to local policymakers, leaders and experts from the private sector, as well as researchers and faculty members from universities across Vietnam. One of the course’s highlights was a lecture by Dr. Lâm Đạo Nguyên, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Space Technology Application Center, as part of the Vietnam’s Space Center and Academy of Science and Technology.
Sustainability was also one of the main issues discussed by Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, during his talk “Environment and Climate Change ” with our faculty and students at the Fulbright campus. As much as we were honored to learn from this distinguished guest, recently, FSPPM students were also treated to a special elective course called “Sustainability in a Polarizing World ”. Organized in collaboration with and included a five-day studying visit to the Harvard Kennedy School, the course allowed FSPPM students to learn, discuss and envisage viable solutions to tackle Vietnam’s eminent challenges concerning energy, trade, biological preservation and climate change with renowned professors from Harvard.
Such collaborative endeavors and generous gifts of education wouldn’t be possible without the friendship we have cherished, strengthened, and honored along the journey of Fulbright University Vietnam towards academic excellence, community contribution, and our desire and belief in the betterment of collective good. As such, from my perspective, the greatest gift that Fulbright University Vietnam has ever received is none other than our talented students, and our dedicated friends, who all believe in the power of how education can shape the future we all dream of, and how our humblest gesture and intention can change not only the lives of others, but our own.
With the sincerest gratitude,
Đàm Bích Thủy
President, Fulbright University Vietnam