August 10, 2021

Fulbright University Vietnam receives US$1 Million to launch academic program “Natural Capital Management”

August 10, 2021

Fulbright University Vietnam has received a five-year programmatic grant of US$1 million from two companies, Galaxy Studio and Dragon Capital to launch “Natural Capital Management” Program. Led by two visionary executives, Ms. Dinh Thi Hoa and Mr. Dominic Scriven, OBE., who share a life-long commitment to environmental sustainability in Vietnam, the two companies are entrusting Fulbright to address this grand challenge. The grant will enable the university to advance research, hold dialogues on policy responses, offer executive education programs and classes on Natural Capital Management issues.

For the first annual topic of the 5-year plan, the gift will propel the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM) to address critical issues and policy responses in the Mekong River Delta region. Specifically, FSPPM will advance their research on the following key priorities: agriculture transformation, energy, air pollution and public health, climate change, flooding, regional infrastructure, and transboundary cooperation.

The Mekong River Delta region, and Vietnam, today is facing the ever-changing conditions and impacts of multiple pressing issues. Rapid economic development at the expense of the environment has resulted in serious environmental pollution. Increasing reliance on fossil fuels for the power sector, universal use of private transport, and poor urban planning has caused a great pressure on air quality, water quality, and public health. In addition, urbanization has been taking place very rapidly, with a rising flow of people from rural areas to urban cities to find jobs, whereas urban planning and supporting infrastructure is lacking behind.

In 2020, the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management coordinated with Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Can Tho to release the Annual Economic Report Mekong Delta 2020: Enhancing Competitiveness for Sustainable Development. This is the first research report on an economic region in the country, and the Mekong Delta was selected as a typical case of cohesion and consistency to develop an institution of economic region in the future.

These problems are especially severe in the Mekong River Delta, where the low terrain and susceptibility to climate change adds an extra dimension of challenge to its long-term development prospect. These developments are not helped by transboundary cooperation, particularly regarding the construction of a cascade of hydropower plants in the upstream Mekong River and agricultural expansion in the Lower Mekong Basin. It is of utmost importance to identify the most serious challenges facing the region, analyze, and communicate them to the public, policy makers, and other stakeholders to take proper actions.

While this first project will be concentrated in the Mekong River Delta, but its benefits will be realized for Vietnam as a whole: “The Mekong River Delta is essential to Vietnam’s economy even though its economic impact is currently lower than the national average. However, without a clear plan for sustainable development, the current expansion will add to the pressure on the region’s natural resources. We hope that this project will shed more light on different ways to address these issues through research, policy responses, and education activities. Such knowledge generation will flow across regional boundaries and play a unique catalytic role in strengthening national capacity to combat emerging and future challenges, in the region and in Vietnam,” said Dr. Vu Thanh Tu Anh, lead researcher of the project and Director of the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management.

A working session between FSPPM and VCCI Can Tho in March 2021 to collect opinions from economics and policy experts and business representatives for the 2021 report.

“Through this project, we iterate our personal and business commitment to the value of natural capital to the development of Vietnam as a whole via advancing high-quality research and teaching efforts starting with one of the country most vulnerable assets, the Mekong Delta,” asserted Mr. Dominic Scriven, Chairman of Dragon Capital.

“We entrust Fulbright and especially FSPPM with this project for their robust experience and relentless focus on sustainability issue in Mekong Delta and broader Vietnam. The deep and extensive working partnerships with local and central government ministries, domestic and international organizations, universities and research institutions in Vietnam and around the world will also ensure that implications from this research project will be further explored and hopefully, implemented,” added Ms. Dinh Thi Hoa, Chairwoman of Galaxy Studio.

This research project will be administered by the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, with the support from Fulbright University Vietnam.

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About Fulbright University Vietnam:

Fulbright University Vietnam is Vietnam’s first independent, not-for-profit, liberal arts university. We are an expanding international team of educational innovators, with deep roots in Vietnam, strong political and financial backing, and connections to educational institutions around the world. Globally integrated but deeply embedded in Vietnamese society, Fulbright is dedicated to providing a world-class education, utilizing the latest advancements in institutional design, teaching, learning, technology and other fields to create an institution that is both innovative and globally relevant. Importantly, Fulbright is committed to serving Vietnamese society through rigorous research and responsible civic engagement.

The Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management is the first academic unit of the Fulbright University Vietnam. FSPPM’s mission is to advance transformative, innovative and inclusive public policy and management in Vietnam and the region – through its commitment toward excellence in teaching, research and civic engagement. In July 2019, FSPPM becomes the first Southeast Asian institution to be accredited by NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administrations).

 About Dragon Capital and Galaxy Studio:

Dragon Capital

Founded in 1994, Dragon Capital Vietfund Management (DCVFM) is a Vietnam-focused financial institution with long-standing investment experience in the country and the surrounding Indochina region. DCVFM manages over US$4bn in assets across public equities, private capital and fixed income, clean development and real estate. In addition to tailor made solutions for institutions and family offices, there are seven public funds available to investors. The company has a head count of over 150 in teams focusing on origination, portfolio management and research, fund accounting and operations, legal, and client services.  DCG has been instrumental in introducing international standards of corporate governance and professionalism as part of its long-term focus and commitment to the sustainable development of Vietnam’s financial infrastructure.

Galaxy Studio

Galaxy Studio was originally founded by Ms. Dinh Thi Hoa in 1994 as the first public relations agency in Vietnam. Galaxy Studio was the first private Vietnamese company to invest in the film industry when Vietnam first opened its doors to this industry in 2003. As the leader in the entertainment industry, Galaxy operates in film production (Galaxy Production), cinema chain and movie distribution (Galaxy Studio), VOD streaming (Galaxy Play), integrated communication (Galaxy Communications), and media and publication (Galaxy Media). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Galaxy earned up to 43 million dollars in annual revenue. On top of film distribution and movie theatres, the company has expanded into VOD streaming and online education in recent years.

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