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Dear cherished friends of Fulbright University Vietnam,
Among the many beautiful traditions long honored and celebrated in our country, my favorite has to be the Vietnamese Teachers’ Day, which falls on the 20th of November. On this special day, we pay respects to the people instrumental, and ever influential, in the educational upbringing that shape who we are, what we do, how we think and live today. This year, that special day was even more special as Fulbright University Vietnam successfully held on our campus the International Academic Conference on “Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc (Tonkin Free School) and Vietnamese Liberal Arts Education Model”, which began on November 19th, and concluded on Vietnamese Teachers’ Day.
At the conference, more than 20 scholars from Vietnam, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United States arrived in person, or tuned in online, to present their papers and partake with Fulbright students and around 200 public guests in illuminating discussions that examined and expounded a wide variety of historical, philosophical, cultural and contemporary aspects surrounding the Tonkin Free School. Founded 115 years ago, the school’s pedagogic principles and its telling vision, in retrospect, still exert “far-reaching influence on the liberal educational traditions in Vietnam”, which can be traced back to the establishment of Quốc Tử Giám (“the Imperial Academy) – “an important milestone in the history of education in Vietnam” in 1076, according to Dr. Nguyễn Nam, Director of Fulbright’s Vietnam Studies Center.
My dear friends,
That very spirit of liberal arts once advocated by the Tonkin Free School – by making education accessible for all, that students should strive for the mastery of interdisciplinarity, and exercise without any constraints on their faculties for innovation, open thinking and critical reasoning – is a tradition now carried on and faithfully pursued at Fulbright University Vietnam.
This month, we’re also delighted to have hosted the conference titled “Transformations of the Global Social Nucleus: Thoughts on Family as Reflected in Taiwanese Cinema”, in collaboration with Autumn Meeting and the Taipei Economic and Culture Office in Vietnam. As much as we subscribe to the four pillars of education as proposed by UNESCO – learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, and learning to be – the faculty and staff at Fulbright always reserve a special place in our hearts on the last two pillars when we develop the university’s liberal arts curriculum. Part of it is dedicated to how our young people can learn to understand and appreciate the arts, whose revelatory and transformative power to evoke, express, and reflect on human lives and conditions, is what we believe as invariably vital to the lifelong nourishment and cultivation of the soul.
In our continued efforts to make higher education accessible to young talents across the country, this month, Fulbright was pleased to announce two new scholarship programs – the Liberico Scholarship, which will be awarded to one student who demonstrates exceptional academic excellence and important engagement in impactful community activities; and the Bright Futures Scholarship, which supports incoming students whose families were or have been severely affected by the wars in Vietnam or elsewhere to study at our university.
These scholarships follow and uphold a well-honored tradition at Fulbright, that we’re unwaveringly working with private donors and generous philanthropists to ensure that opportunities are made equal and accessible to the best of young talents at Fulbright. As Mr. Nguyễn Phương Lam, a distinguished philanthropist in Asia who helped founding the Nguyễn-Phương Family scholarship at Fulbright as well as facilitating the Social Impact Business Accelerator Program, organized by Acumen Academy and Fulbright University Vietnam, said: “The ultimate, and most important question, […] is whether we are truly creating positive impacts for the world’s most underprivileged people. A social enterprise should reflect our personal search, and self-actualization, towards a higher purpose, which I deem crucial and fundamental for any of us who wishes to lead a meaningful life”.
With the sincerest gratitude,
Đàm Bích Thủy
President, Fulbright University Vietnam