On October 17, Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (Fulbright University Vietnam) held the inauguration ceremony to welcome 65 new students of the Master in Public Policy Class of 2024 (MPP2024) at the Crescent campus. The event marks an important milestone in the academic and professional growth of the new cohort, who are committed to participate in the rigorous MPP program accredited by het Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).
As the world is changing rapidly, today’s knowledge and skills may soon become out of date. In this VUCA world, a world characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, we are required to update our knowledge and skills to quickly adapt to changes. In this context, those who chose to pursuit the master’s degree at the Fulbright school are the ones who seek a transformative experience to equip themselves with updated knowledge and skills.
Unleashing potential and improving thinking capacity
In her welcoming remarks, U. S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Susan Burns commended the new cohort for taking the initiative and time out of their busy professional lives to participate in this rigorous MPP program, which is the very best in the region. She expressed her belief that their hard work and commitment over the next 15 months will pay off.
“I believe that the next 15 months will be a transformative experience for all of you, as you unleash your extraordinary potential and lay the foundation for endless opportunities and collaborations. I am excited to see what you achieve,” she said.
Trần Thị Bích Ngọc said on behalf of the Class of 2023 that the new students will soon go through what she described as “a challenging but rewarding experience” at Fulbright. They will experience stress and hardship as any Fulbrighter and will go through sleepless nights reading materials, doing assignments and joining group discussions, praying they could turn in their assignments before the 8:20 deadline. But it will turn out that the experience is also amazing with beautiful memories shared with their peers as they learn together and enjoy ‘Wow’ moments when they are enlightened by insights which are unknown before.
According to Ngọc, the most important thing is that the learning experience at Fulbright made her realize her limits to keep trying to enrich her knowledge and improve her thinking skills.
“Because learning is a perpetual process, knowledge knows no boundaries and the world keeps evolving. We could only make very modest contributions, if any, to the society. The Fulbright school has taught me how to think, to criticize and raise questions about any problem I may encounter in the professional and personal life,” she said.
Ngọc, a film producer studying Master in Public Policy, quoted a line in the Indian film Pather Panchali written and directed by Satyajit Ray “At certain times in our lives, we all need to move on. That would make us less narrow-minded.” She said she felt related to the renewal of her mind and the improvement of her thinking skills after studying at Fulbright.
“Welcome all of you to the Fulbright family for a transformative experience to gain better values for yourself, for the community and the society,” Ngọc said.
Gaining strength from diversity
Delivering his opening remarks, Assoc. Prof. Phạm Duy Nghĩa, Director of MPP Program at FSPPM, warmly welcomed 65 new students to the Fulbright School Alumni (FSA) network of more than 1,700 alumni and current students. The Class of 2024 gathers students who works in central and local governments, businesses, research institutes, and social organizations across Vietnam. The new cohort is also special because it marks the beginning of the Mekong-U.S. Partnership Master in Public Policy program, which includes two students from Laos.
At FSPPM, the diversity of students is a major strength, providing many different professional, economic and societal perspectives to problems and solutions of public policy and management. It also helps the students to develop empathy towards others, no matter how different they are. The Class of 2024 students will have a chance to not only learn from Vietnamese lecturers and fellow students, but also gain a new regional perspective from their Lao peers.
At the moment, public policy has attracted not only students who work in the public sector but also those from the private sector and social organizations thanks to its applicability and interdisciplinary feature.
“Public policy has become associated to everyday issues affecting all citizens, from flooded streets, traffic congestion, mislabeled vegetables at supermarkets to gasoline shortages as we’re seeing these days in Vietnam,” Ms. Đàm Bích Thủy, President of Fulbright University Vietnam, noted.
As a public policy institution with highly diverse range of students from different sectors, FSPPM is fortunate to be able to provide a public sphere that fosters policy dialogues across Vietnam and the region.
“I would like to encourage the new students to take advantage of every opportunity during two years at Fulbright to get to know, to learn from, to understand and empathize with those whose identities, life experiences and beliefs are different from your own. I strongly believe the new cohort will continue to build a diverse and inclusive community at Fulbright,” Ms. Đàm Bích Thủy said.