USAID Deputy Administrator to Fulbright’s Students: “You are the return on our investment.”


USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick on 02 November 2019 visited Fulbright University Vietnam and held a special town hall with its students.

On 02 November 2019, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick traveled to Fulbright University Vietnam (Fulbright) to meet with its leadership team and students. USAID is the U.S. Government’s lead agency for international humanitarian relief and development, and Ms. Glick is the second ranking official at the agency. To date, Fulbright has been predominantly funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the Department of State.

Throughout her visit, Ms. Glick was impressed with the accomplishments Fulbright has achieved in just a few short years of its establishment. She also showed keen interests in learning the students’ stories with regards to their motivation, experience, and aspiration for Fulbright.

“I know that you students have great ambitions yourselves. You are Vietnam’s innovators and leaders of tomorrow, and America strongly supports you and this very special school.  We have every expectation that together, you will play a vital role in overcoming Vietnam’s development challenges as you build relationships with your peers at home, in the United States, and around the globe,” said the Deputy Administrator.

Ms. Glick listening to a student present his Creating and Making final product

During the discussion, the USAID official expressed interest on how an individual project could play a central role in solving the grand challenges of Vietnam and the world. One of Fulbright’s key strategies for combating such challenges is to provide a curriculum, which is built on the American tradition of liberal arts, sciences and engineering. The interdisciplinary aspect will expose the students to different topics spanning the arts, humanities, engineering, and the social, natural, and computational sciences, with a special focus on Vietnam.

“There’s so much that you can gain from this academic institution. While it’s young, you can help to form it. And in this country, you can help to form the future of Vietnam. Studying in an American university, you will, no doubt, have less of an impact. I’m not saying no impact but less of an impact and less of a direct impact than what you all are going to have on the future of Vietnam. … [T]hink about the intellectual challenges that you’re being afforded here and as well the opportunities to solve some of those intellectual challenges in a real-world way. That impact on your country is exceptional, but it’s not just your country, it’s east Asia and the whole world,” Ms. Glick emphasized.

Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick, President Dam Bich Thuy and Fulbright students and staffs

Student’s question: “Why investing in FUV was a choice and why did you made that choice? Each and everyone of us takes a leap of faith, a risk to come here. What was your risk, USAID’s risk of funding us?”

“Normally when you think about an investment you think what will be the return on the investment. And sometimes, if you make an investment in a financial instrument, you see a quick return on the investment, or you lose your money.

 “When we think about investing in young people, and when we think about investing in a place like Fulbright University Vietnam, we are thinking about a long-term return on the investment. So you all are going to be the return. And that doesn’t have anything about getting back stuff or money to the United States. That’s not what we’re interested in.

 “We are interested in knowing that Vietnam’s future is so incredibly bright because student who has been trained academically in a way of thinking that incorporates all ideas, is going to be beneficial to the global environment, not just to the Vietnamese environment. You all are going to be raised intellectually to think broadly, think about ways that you in the future can partner with the United States. For us that will be 100+ percent return on our investment,” the Deputy Administrator answered.

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