Dear Fulbright community, friends and supporters,

There’s a beautiful proverb in Vietnamese: “Bán anh em xa mua láng giềng gần” (A neighbor nearby is better than a relative far away). Yet, during this fourth wave of COVID-19, the love Fulbright University Vietnam received proved to me that in hardship, everyone is our neighbor.

On August 01, 2021, Fulbright University Vietnam called for support from our community to buy 3-5 ambulances to help transport COVID-19 patients to hospitals. To my astonishment, our community responded immediately to meet the predicament we are in. In just two weeks, we successfully raised enough to buy three (03) Hyundai Solatis, two (02) Ford Transits, and one (01) general ambulance for COVID hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong.

I’d like to thank all organizations, individuals and groups from all around the globe who donated for this meaningful cause. I cannot stress enough how your gift will help strengthen HCMC’s capacity to transform COVID-19 patient care and improve the health of our community.

My dear friends,

Many people asked me why such a University as Fulbright is trying to do too many things besides teaching; why an academic institution is calling for donations on behalf of Ho Chi Minh City, first with #SupportSaigon, and now with this call for more ambulances. And I told them: Why not?

These are unusual times, to say the least, as Ho Chi Minh City and the rest of Vietnam are facing significant disruptions and suffering. That is the reason why at Fulbright, we believe this is a unique juncture for us to lead – not only in how we adjust our activities as a university, but also in how we can contribute to the society, to make a difference, and to simply do good. Only by being aggressively proactive, we can help protect this city that we call home, heal our community, spread the love and kindness, and contribute to the national effort to cease the proliferation of COVID-19 as quickly as possible.

In this difficult time, Fulbright University Vietnam believes that we cannot just do what is expected of us; we must do what is right. And the right thing to do is to give. But don’t get me wrong, giving is never just about the money. I have seen members from the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management working day and night to advise HCMC’s administration. I have seen Fulbright members working around the clock to fundraise for our initiatives to help Ho Chi Minh City. I have seen our students sparing their last bits of monthly allowance to help.

And I have seen YOU. Thank you for assisting us in our quest of making a difference, of doing the right thing. From our #SupportSaigon initiative to this call for ambulances, time after time, you have shown me that action speaks louder than words; that compassion and empathy will be our strength to carry us through this challenging period. That is the exact quality and spirit we would love Fulbright students to continue honing throughout their lifetime.

My dear friends,

Although these past several months have been difficult, and there will likely be more challenging days ahead, please keep a cool head to deal with the hardships, but a warm heart to care for others. Let’s be “neighbors” of not just the people around you, but also to those in need. In this day and age, help can be just a phone call away.

Please acknowledge my deepest gratitude.

Be well and stay safe,

Dam Bich Thuy

President, Fulbright University Vietnam