Dear cherished friends of Fulbright University Vietnam,
This month, the Fulbright community welcomed with joy and delight the freshmen of the Class of 2026. The new school year of 2022-2023 also marks milestones of great significance in our burgeoning journey: this is Fulbright’s fifth intake of undergraduate students; and soon enough, we will have our very first batch of graduates, the Class of 2023. This is the moment we have been waiting for. And while it truly is the apotheosis of all of the efforts and commitments made towards Fulbright’s first crop of graduates, the event also reaffirms our conviction in building a world-class liberal arts university for a new generation that represents the future of Vietnam.
Earlier this month, Fulbright held the Convocation ceremony for the Class of 2026 students. My heart couldn’t help but overflow with happiness as I saw these young and talented hopefuls – their faces beaming with elation, their eyes a glitter of pride and avidity. From soulful performances that were composed, choreographed, and produced by the freshmen themselves to their impassioned stories shared at the ceremony, I truly believe the Class of 2026 represents a new generation who will no doubt carry forth the spirit of Fulbright, and make great strides for society at large.
For this new generation, Fulbright will be fertile ground for a liberal arts education that’s not only academically enriching, but also teeming with the cultivation of lifelong critical skills. How to break down stereotypes, challenge the status quo, and create the world the way they want it to be – these were the key ideas deeply expounded at our Convocation ceremony this year. Once they graduate from Fulbright, our young people will find at their fingertips a world full of extraordinary opportunities, and with them, huge responsibilities. For that reason, their four years at Fulbright will be the time wherein our students can hone in on becoming the best version of themselves, so that they can do well in a world now defined as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
My dear friends,
At our Convocation ceremony, author and journalist Dinh Duc Hoang has argued in his keynote speech that the true purpose of learning is not about how our young people can get a job after graduation, but how they can build and develop a career in the next 30-40 years. The answer lies none other than in the pursuit of something called original knowledge. Contrary to borrowed knowledge, the path to acquire original knowledge demands rigorous contemplation, critical reflection, and purposeful self-actualization. Long and hard as it may be, this process will pave the road for a life that’s not only sustainable, but also leaving behind a legacy of contributing to a better world by each and every good deed big or small.
That sustainability can be attained through original knowledge is also a message resonating with our unflinching commitment to longtermism in “the Age of Now”. It is the sincere belief that the new generation counts, and that we must take seriously our role in the education of our young people who will in turn, shape the future they want despite all unforeseen changes, uncertainties, and the critics.
In a sense, Fulbright University Vietnam is in and of itself an exemplar par excellence of longtermism. Built on the deepened ties between Vietnam and the United States – a relationship once considered unlikely between two former adversaries, this young institution has become the very embodiment of our long-term commitment to the future of Vietnam, for we are making steadfast investment in the next generation of change-makers. I strongly believe that after eight years, Fulbright has cemented a solid foundation and a tight-knit community capable of spearheading future progress. As I will be stepping down from the presidency by Summer 2023, it will be the perfect moment to pass the torch to my next successor, who will lead Fulbright to a new chapter of growth and development. In the next five to ten years, the mission of Fulbright leaders will not be as it is today – for which new voices, perspectives and visions will prove crucial and vital to bringing the university to new heights. No matter who the next generation of leadership at Fulbright may be, I have full confidence that they will maintain and advance values so inextricable and distinguished of Fulbright – Vietnam’s first private, not-for-profit liberal arts university.
With the sincerest gratitude,
Đàm Bích Thủy
President, Fulbright University Vietnam