Fulbright University Vietnam serves as a vibrant community that brings together individuals with diverse backgrounds and passions, who all share a dedication to education and the Fulbright mission. Held on May 16th, 2023 as part of Fulbright Giving Week – a community building and fundraising initiative led by our Development and Strategic Initiatives Office, Humans of Fulbright was dedicated to meaningful conversations, genuine connections, and captivating narratives, showcasing the power of storytelling and the spirit of unity on our campus. The event’s creation and success was testament to the richness and uniqueness of our Fulbright campus community.
From 4 pm to 8 pm on May 16th, participants had the opportunity to engage in chat sessions with special storytellers who were students, faculty, and staff members at Fulbright. The schedule of the storytellers was made available in advance, allowing attendees to plan their sessions and make the most of the event. Participants could register for up to five sessions with five different storytellers, ensuring a diverse range of perspectives and topics to explore. These intimate discussions took place in small groups, with no more than ten people in each session, creating an atmosphere conducive to open dialogue and deep connections.
Humans of Fulbright featured a diverse lineup of 11 speakers who shared their stories, amounting to more than 16 hours of conversations. The event attracted a crowd of over 80 enthusiastic participants, eager to hear from these individuals who had experienced transformative journeys. Each speaker brought a unique perspective, sharing insights on a range of topics that touched the hearts and minds of the audience. Ms. Huong Tran (Lawyer – MPP24 program) noted: “I fully embrace this chance to talk about Fulbright and my area of expertise with Humans of Fulbright. I love our community and would like to spread the joy and fulfillment I receive at Fulbright to as many people as possible.”
The event was part of Giving Week, a cherished tradition at Fulbright that aimed to foster unity, appreciate the dedication and passion for education among community members, and encourage acts of kindness and support. Throughout the week, the Fulbright community came together in numerous ways, including volunteering, expressing gratitude, exchanging encouragement, and spreading positivity. Additionally, participants could contribute to the Students’ Development Fund or Campus Construction, further strengthening the sense of unity and collective progress.
Both the storytellers and participants at Humans of Fulbright played a crucial role in establishing a tradition of storytelling at Fulbright. The event was not only about listening to captivating narratives but also about celebrating the strength and diversity on campus, and about building a community of generous spirits who come together to uplift one another. This is one important aspect of our school-wide pay-it-forward spirit, where the gift comes in the shape of life lessons, advice, knowledge, and wisdom.
Class of 2023 Khang A Tủa’s sessions delved into the world of Hmong deities and their significance in the lives of Hmong women. He also explored the history of the Hmong alphabet and discussed whether students should consider double majoring. Khang A Tủa also mesmerized the audience by playing the Khen, a traditional Hmong instrument.
Class of 2026 Phuc Nguyen, in a reflective session, talked about his unconventional journey towards education and his unique path as an educator. He delved into his personal philosophy on liberal arts education and expressed how, as an adult learner, his time at Fulbright University has been invaluable, where he sees himself as both a student and an educator in practice.
Ms. Huong Tran (MPP24)’s discussion focused on intellectual property laws and the intricacies of reconciliation and dispute settlement within the legal system.
Ms. Ngoc Tram of Fulbright’s Wellness Center shared her personal career transition and offered valuable advice to younger individuals who may find themselves in a similar position. She also emphasized the impact of personal experiences on counseling approaches.
Dr. Nguyen Thi Trang, Faculty Member in Integrated Sciences at Fulbright, engaged the audience with a thought-provoking session on the motivations and purpose of an educator. She explored the connection between theory and practice, discussed career decisions, highlighted the importance of creativity within constraints, and encouraged stepping out of comfort zones.
Ms. Lan Phan, Head of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fulbright, in dispelling myths related to the life and work of public servants, shed light on her choice to work in the public sector and the rewarding aspects of such a career.
Dr. Nguyen Nam, Director of Vietnam Studies Center at Fulbright, took the audience on a journey of self-discovery, discussing the quest to find one’s true identity, the importance of self-expression at Fulbright, and his personal education philosophy.
Dr. Vu Minh Hoang, Faculty Member in History and Vietnam Studies, passionately advocated for public transport systems, particularly in Vietnam. Having traveled and lived in various countries, he emphasized the need to promote the values of public transportation, rather than focusing solely on cars and road infrastructure. He highlighted the perfect terrain for biking in Vietnam and the importance of city planning to support sustainable modes of transportation.
Ms. Le Thi Quynh Tram, Chief of Marketing & Communications at Fulbright, shared her passion for bird photography, offering insights into her introduction to this unique art form. She discussed different types of birds, the challenges of capturing stunning photographs, and the joy she finds in following a creative pursuit.
Lastly, Ms. Le Nguyen Thien Huong, Senior Recruitment Manager at Fulbright, guided the audience on a quest of exploration. She talked about her journey from #SaveSonDoong to #Fulbright. She recounted the story of the discovery of SonDoong Cave and her organization’s efforts to prevent its exploitation through mass tourism.
Humans of Fulbright was a resounding success, leaving participants with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of the diverse experiences within the Fulbright community. Through the power of storytelling, this event fostered connections, sparked curiosity, and celebrated the transformative impact of Fulbright University Vietnam on its members. The collective stories shared by the speakers and the engagement of the audience created an atmosphere of unity, inspiration, and appreciation for the transformative power of education and personal growth. By paying it forward and sharing their stories, the speakers enriched the Fulbright community and inspired future generations of storytellers.