Info session – YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam’s Energy Economics and Policy Seminar is the first webinar for prospective applicants who are interested in learning more about the Energy Economics and Policy Seminar. Throughout this information session, YSEALI Academy’s leaders and faculty will introduce to interested applicants the curriculum, the application process, program requirements, and other opportunities we have to offer.

This webinar is a part of YSEALI Academy’s effort to engage and interact with young professionals across Southeast Asia and Timor Leste and provide them with opportunities to foster their career development. With a growing prospect of this region, it is now more than ever critical to offer new chances for this cohort to thrive into a new generation of leaders.

Prospective applicants must register for this information session in advance by filling out this form and will receive a link to the session via email.

For more information, contact YSEALI Academy by emailing or visit our website at

  • Webinar Information: Thursday, 22 April 2021, 12:00 – 13:00 p.m. (GMT+7)
  • Presenters:
    • Prof Le Vu Quan – Director, YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam
    • Dr. Le Thai Ha – Director of Research & Senior Faculty Member
    • Mr. Huynh Trung Dzung – Public Policy Faculty

The Vietnam Forum 2019, hosted by Yusof Ishak Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in collaboration with Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM), took place last week in Singapore. The event was facilitated by our sponsoring partners, MayBank Kim Eng and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Under the theme “Vietnam’s Business Environment Amidst Global Uncertainties,” the Vietnam Forum 2019 attracted many scholars, policy makers and entrepreneurs from the region, as well as specialists from Vietnam and abroad. The Forum’s discussions revolved around Vietnam’s prominent economic issues and trends, especially in the context of global instability caused by trade wars. Three separate panel discussions focused on as many major sectors of the Vietnamese economy: (i) finance and banking; (ii) infrastructure and energy; and (iii) real estate.

Leaders and lecturers, as well as senior specialists from Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM) participated in the discussions. Following his opening remarks, Dr. Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Dean of FSPPM, presented “Recent political and economic trends in Vietnam”; while specialist Nguyen Xuan Thanh presented “Vietnam’s banking reforms: What more to expect?” in the panel discussion on banking and finance. Dr. Le Viet Phu gave a presentation titled “The renewable energy sector in Vietnam: Trends and Challenges” during the third panel discussion on infrastructure and energy.

Many observers believe Vietnam will be among the countries that benefit the most from the trade war between China and the United States, as enterprises and companies consider strategic expansion or relocation of their headquarters from China to Vietnam. At the forum, the Director of ISEAS, Mr. Choi Shing Kwok claimed that when companies and businesses seek to diversify or retreat from the Chinese market, they will come to Vietnam, where the economy is dynamic and burgeoning.

The Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM) hosted a commencement ceremony for graduates from the Master in Public Policy 2017-2019 (MPP19) Program – the first graduate cohort from Fulbright University Vietnam since its foundation in 2017.

Lễ tốt nghiệp Khoá Thạc sĩ đầu tiên của Đại học Fulbright Việt Nam

Dean Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, shared in his commencement speech that the MPP19 cohort entered the school during an important transition, acting as a bridge between the traditions of Fulbright Economics Teaching Program and the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management.

During the past two years, the Fulbright School has pushed forward comprehensive and profound changes from obtaining international accreditation NASPAA, launching and working on new concentrations (Leadership & Management and International Business Laws) and proactively engaging in policy research and consulting activities for Tay Ninh, Ha Giang, Thai Nguyen, An Giang and HCMC.

Internationally recognized degrees

Dr. Tu Anh noted, “One remarkable milestone heralding a new era in the school’s development was on 26th July, when the MPP program of the FSPPM – the first public policy school in Southeast Asian – was accredited by NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration) for outstanding public policy education.

The school has successfully charted its presence on the global map of leading public policy institutions. This achievement is made possible by enormous efforts of generations of school leaders, employees, students and continued support of valuable partners over the last quarter century.”

Mr. Timothy Liston, Acting General Consul, U.S. Consulate at HCMC, emphasized Fulbright’s Master in Public Policy program is built upon the traditions and heritage of Fulbright Economics Teaching Program in partnership with Harvard University. The program has successfully trained over 2000 leaders for Vietnam in the last two decades.

Enphasizing that Fulbright’s education is centered around public service, respect and inclusiveness, Dr. Ryan Derby-Talbot, Chief Academic Officer of Fulbright University Vietnam stated that besides the intellectural power, Fulbright education strives to offer students direction, a compass, and set of guiding stars to help learners explore and develop individual talents, adapt to uncertain future environment, raise new questions, and generate new answers.

He expects graduates to use knowledge obtained at Fulbright as a solid platform for lifelong learning, further career development, and public service.

Dream big and reach high

Traditionally, one keynote speaker is invited to the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management’s commencement. This year’s speaker was Mr. Bui Quang Vinh, a member of the advisory team to the Prime Minister, and Former Minister of Planning and Investment.

Mr. Vinh delivered an inspirational speech on economic reforms and innovation in Vietnam during the past three decades and described the current status, and existing barriers hampering the growth breakthroughs of the domestic economy in the next era.

He analyzed general opportunities and challenges confronting policy makers and public administrators, “You will also face challenges, that would include different and diverse thinking and perception about scope, content, and point of view of reform, as well as causes of barriers. You will face resistance, grounded by privileges created by the existing institutions to some people in the bureaucracy. There will be challenges that you will find hard to overcome, that would include speaking out your stand let alone realizing it.”

He advised Fulbright graduates, “Never give in nor be complacent; do your best to improve the situation; don’t let this hard reality bury your aspiration”.

Graduates Nguyen Thi To Nga and Nguyen Hoang Minh Tan, on behalf of MPP19, expressed their gratitude to lecturers and the valuable learning experiences at Fulbright. They highly appreciated the excellent lectures from leading experts in Vietnam policy community and the outstanding training programs integrating global knowledge with local insights for practicality and modernity.

“We discuss public policy issues, explore research methodology, understand macro and micro economics, learn from teachers and friends’ knowledge, and their dedication for public service.”

“On behalf of MPP19 cohort, we’d like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our beloved teachers who disseminated their knowledge, passion and inspiration for us to dream big, and live with great aspirations and expectations.”

‘Thank you’ are diplomatic words but the educational values we received from the program are real. In the future, our successes and achievements certainly reflect the Fulbright’s imprint. With this commencement, we embark on a new journey and with the knowledge we gained from the Fulbright School of Public Policy Management, we are capable of contributing and benefiting our community and society.”

Dean of the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management reflects on ten years of a program for the most senior-ranking officials in Vietnam

The Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center sat down with Dr. Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Dean of the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, the first academic unit of Fulbright University of Vietnam. Dr. Tu Anh, a non-resident fellow at the Ash Center, was in Cambridge for the 10th anniversary of the Vietnam Executive Leadership Program (VELP), an executive education program run by the Ash Center, which provides public policy training to senior Vietnamese government officials.

How did VELP get started?

It started in 2008, which is exactly 10 years ago. The idea at that time was we really want to create a very high-level forum where the leadership of Vietnam could have a frank and open discussion about the challenges facing Vietnam.

And remember that was during the global economic crisis, so it was a very timely initiative, created to help Vietnam better understand the global political and financial crosscurrents of that moment.

Who generally participates in the program?

The Vietnamese delegation consists of about 15 to 20 members. It varies from year to year.

But the delegation could be led by either a Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the economy or the Chairman of the National Assembly, which is like the Congress in the US. Members can also be at the Minister or Vice Minister-level. 

The composition of the program attendees depends on the portfolio of the delegation chair. If the leader is the Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the economy, then you will see the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and so forth.

We have also had the Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly, who helped bring the Minister of Justice, and other senior officials from that ministry, just to give you an example of the level of participants who take part in the program.

So it’s fair to say that the program includes some of the most senior-ranking officials in Vietnam?

Yes. It’s the most senior leadership program that Vietnam has ever had anywhere in the world.

What does a typical VELP session look like?

Normally the program lasts for five days, and then each day’s presentation could be grouped around a specific policy theme.

Normally the first day we talk about the global economy to set the stage for the following discussion in the next four days. Basically, in the first day, we talk about the world itself and the implications for Vietnam.

And then, as I mentioned earlier, depending on the delegation chair’s policy portfolio, we will delve into other policy areas.

For example, in some years we talk about how to reform the domestic economy, mainly, for example, the state-owned enterprises, the state-owned banks, and land use policy in Vietnam.

Land policy is a big topic because, in Vietnam, land is still under the ownership of the governments of the state.

We also talk a lot about trade, because Vietnam is one of the most open economies in the world. If you look at trade ratio to GDP, Vietnam is now probably second to Singapore. Education is also a big topic because it’s one of the most important reforms being examined in Vietnam today.

The program also delves into institutional reform and legal reform in Vietnambasically to establish the rule of law and the connection between the rule of law and economic developments.

Who teaches? Who are some of the faculty members and other scholars who run some of the sessions?

There are basically three groups of faculty members. The first group is Ash and Harvard Kennedy School professors. For example, Tony Saich, Jay Rosengard, David Dapice, and Tom Vallely often participate on the Harvard side.

The second group is Vietnamese faculty member from my school, the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, and now Fulbright University Vietnam. Then the third group is practitioners, be they bankers discussing global economic trends, or someone from Google.

For example, a practitioner might come to talk about how to build up the IT sector and infrastructure in Vietnam. We’ve also heard from climate change experts about how climate change is impacting Vietnam, as well as foreign policy experts about US policy in Vietnam and Asia more generally.

It sounds like a very impactful series of gatherings. Are there plans to continue the program into the future?

Absolutely. The VELP team recently met with the Prime Minister about the program, and he was very interested in continuing this important collaboration.


In mid-1990, the young Senator John Kerry and his two young daughters visited Vietnam. The idea of cooperation in education to promote relations between the US and Vietnam occurred to him from that trip.

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In December 2013, the first time he came to Vietnam as the US Secretary of State, an important event in his schedule was meeting with members of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP). At a meeting at the American Center, the US Secretary of State talked with each member of the program and former alumni.

For him, Fulbright University Vietnam (Fulbright), which was licensed on May 16th 2016, has a special meaning.

In the most difficult period of Vietnam-US relations when the embargo was not removed yet, FETP and the Fulbright program was the crucial link for cooperation between the former enemies.

Both FETP and Fulbright are the most important and the most successful educational cooperation projects of Vietnam in the post-war period.

Seeing a Vietnam that was struggling because of the embargo and the consequences of the war, the idea of promoting cooperation in education came to Kerry when he was a young senator. He took it as a natural next step in the normalization process.

In the context of the embargo, implementing the idea of cooperation was not easy when there was no US embassy in Vietnam and vice versa and no official channels. Painful memories of the war remained and Vietnam was nearly a “taboo” subject in US politics.

The projects related to Vietnam at that time as prisoners of war (POW) and missing Americans (MIA) were considered  “political suicide.” Despite this fact, Kerry persisted in promoting the idea of educational cooperation. The first breakthrough of this effort was in the budget bill in 1991 when the first $300,000 for scholarships for Vietnamese students was added (Harvard University then contributed additional $300,000). The breakthrough was made by John Kerry along with the support of veterans like John McCain, and Richard Kessler.

In 1992, the Fulbright scholarship program, under the guidance of Thomas Vallely – a veteran – came into operation. From this amount of money, the first group of students of the Fulbright program were Pham Binh Minh (Deputy PM and Foreign Minister), Nguyen Thien Nhan (former Deputy PM, now Chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front), and Duc Phat (former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development)… were brought to the US to study at the leading universities.

At the same time Thomas Vallely and a group of professors from Harvard University like Dwight Perkins and David Dapice worked as advisors to the State Planning Commission led by Phan Van Khai (former Prime Minister).

Cooperation of Vietnam-US in this program at that time included: learning from the experiences of East Asian and Southeast Asian countries such as South Korea, Indonesia, and writing the book “In search of the Dragon’s trails” with a series of suggestions on strategy from the experience of other countries from which the leaders of Vietnam can make economic policies.

At the same time, Mr. Vallely went to Ho Chi Minh City to establish the Fulbright Economic Teaching Program (FETP) with the simple goal of teaching the best and updated knowledge about the market economy for state officials in line with the conditions of Vietnam.

At that time the amount of aid from the US Congress for Vietnam education with the support of the US veterans began to increase, from $300,000 to $1 million, and $3 million. Diplomatic relations between the two countries was also established.

The success of FETP is the foundation for the proposal on the establishment of the Fulbright University Vietnam in 2013 during the visit of President Truong Tan Sang to the United States.

In December 2014, the US Congress approved $20 million to fund Fulbright University Vietnam on the condition that the university be independent, non-profit, and meet the quality of American universities.

A Vietnamese diplomat said that 20 years after normalization, when Vietnam truly steps into integration with the world, the significance of this educational program is meaningful. Vietnam currently needs high quality, world-class human resources more than ever.

“It was the foresight and broad view of veterans like Kerry and Vallely,” the diplomat said.

Director of the HCM City Department of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Vu Tu, who served a term in the Philippines, said he has recommended a group of Filipino students to come to Vietnam to learn about the country. One of the places they visited is the FETP.

They were very impressed with the program. Their question then was why was this program only for Vietnam, not for the whole of Southeast Asia? So far, the model of FETP remains the only one that America has implemented in the world.

(From VietnamNet Bridge)