Indiana University is increasing its presence in Vietnam. School officials are meeting with leaders from two national universities and marking the launch of a new Alumni Association chapter in the Asian nation. May 29, 2015
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel is in Vietnam this week to expand collaborations for IU faculty and create opportunities for students. She also is celebrating the new IU Alumni Association chapter in Vietnam.
Robel's visit comes one year after IU President Michael A. McRobbie's historic trip to Vietnam, the first official visit to Vietnam by a standing IU president, and one of few such trips by the president of any major U.S. university.
During her trip, Robel will meet with officials from Vietnam National University of Social Sciences and Humanities and the Vietnam National University of Science. Among many other connections, these meetings will help promote collaborations in Southeast Asian studies; advance progress toward an exchange with IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs; and further efforts to initiate summer research projects with the IU departments of biology and geology, both in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Robel will also launch the U.S.-Vietnam Public Administration Co-Teaching Program at the National Academy of Public Administration. U.S.-Vietnam PACT is a collaborative program between IU, Vietnam’s National Academy of Public Administration and the U.S. Embassy that brings scholars and practitioners — from IU and elsewhere in the U.S. — to Vietnam, where they present monthly talks.
The IU delegation includes Anh Tran, IU Bloomington assistant professor and director of Vietnam Initiatives at SPEA. The IU Vietnam Initiatives include the world’s largest hub for research and training in public policy for Vietnam outside the country. Robel has met with the National Assembly of Vietnam, which regularly requests and receives policy briefs from the Vietnam Initiatives.
She has also met with officials from the Ministry of Education and Training, which jointly sponsors the prestigious Vietnam Young Leader Awards with SPEA/IU. Each year, Vietnam Young Leader Awards selects and brings about 15 outstanding government employees to Bloomington for a two-year Master of Public Affairs program.
Vietnam is the world’s 13th most populous country, with nearly 100 million people. It is also one of Asia’s fastest-growing and most dynamic economies, with an annual economic growth rate of about 6 percent annually.
The country also has a celebrated history of higher education: Vietnam’s first national university, the Imperial Academy, was established in 1076 and remained open until 1779. It was housed in Hanoi’s Temple of Literature, one of several temples dedicated to Confucius and Vietnam’s oldest and foremost monument to education. Robel is in Vietnam at the invitation of Vietnam National University, the only Vietnamese university to report directly to the prime minister, allowing for meaningful faculty and student interactions with ministries, governmental bodies, cities and provinces.
The provost will attend the May 30 launch of the IU Alumni Chapter in Vietnam. IU has more than 300 living alumni in Vietnam, with nearly 40 Vietnamese students enrolled at IU campuses.
On June 1, Robel will travel to Ho Chi Minh City to visit the Fulbright School, where she will meet with Nguyen Xuan Thanh, director of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program.
The study of Asian languages, cultures, history and politics at IU spans more than 20 departments and professional schools on the Bloomington campus, including the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, which recently marked its 50th anniversary; and the Title VI-supported East Asian Studies Center. IU soon will announce details of a new Southeast Asia Studies Center.
Four IU Bloomington student-athletes are also going to Vietnam this month as representatives of Coach for College, a program that uses athletics to motivate children in developing countries to pursue a college education while developing leadership skills, learning in the classroom and playing sports.