Institute for Asia Inaugurates Master's in Public Policy Program at Vietnam's Fulbright School

October 16, 2008
Institute for Asia Inaugurates Master's in Public Policy Program at Vietnam's Fulbright School

Cambridge, Mass. – Today the Rajawali Institute for Asia of the Ash Center announced the launch of its two-year Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) program at the Fulbright School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. A partnership between the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the University of Economics-Ho Chi Minh City, the Fulbright School works directly with the Vietnamese Government’s Ministry of Education as the country’s first public policy institute.

The school’s new MPP program trains policymakers, public officials, and private sector professionals to better address Vietnam’s unique economic and policy challenges with sustainable, actionable solutions. Drawing upon the public policy foundations of Harvard Kennedy School, the program offers an intensive and research-driven curriculum in pubic policy, market economics, and public sector leadership within Vietnam’s specific socio-economic context. MPP graduates earn a degree from the University of Economics.

The Fulbright MPP

Unlike the more pervasive regionally-based and Hanoi-focused training programs common in Vietnam, the Fulbright MPP offers a broader, country-wide perspective on Vietnam’s pressing challenges ranging from urbanization to governing with limited resources. In the first year, students build a strong analytical and theoretical framework including micro- and macroeconomics and quantitative methods. Students delve more deeply into Vietnam-specific policy issues including globalization and rural transformations in the program’s second year. Coursework addresses development finance, trade institutions, public leadership and management, and public sector economics. At the conclusion of the program, students write a master’s thesis on a specific public sector challenge building upon course teachings, research, and faculty guidance.

Rich Classroom Discussion

Class discussion is enriched by students’ wealth of professional experience as well as the school’s ongoing dialogue with regional and national policymakers. The program’s teaching staff includes two Harvard Kennedy School professors as well as professionals from Vietnam. Teachings incorporate original case studies on Vietnam’s core challenges as well as Harvard Kennedy School cases.

“Increasingly Vietnam is confronting challenges to its macroeconomic stability including urbanization and globalization,” said Anthony Saich, director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. “Now, more than ever, the country needs leaders capable of crafting innovative and sustainable solutions to pressing national and global issues. We are pleased to offer Vietnam’s public and private sector leaders the country’s first ever two-year MPP program, providing an invaluable resource for public policy analysis, management, and leadership to flourish.”

Institute for Asia's Broad Focus on Vietnam

The new MPP program represents just one area of the Institute for Asia’ broad focus on Vietnam’s future development and integration into the world economy. In January of 2008, members of the Vietnam Program met and presented Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung with an analytical report of Vietnam’s socioeconomic development strategy. At the recent online event “Choosing Success: The Lessons of East and Southeast Asia and Vietnam’s Future”, a panel of experts including authors of the report elaborated on its recommendations. To watch a recording of the event, please visit

For more information, please contact:
Kate Hoagland
Ash Center

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. The Ford Foundation is a founding donor of the Center. Additional information about the Ash Center is available at