New Fulbright University Vietnam to Build Upon Collaborative Effort between HKS’ Vietnam Program and the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City

August 14, 2015

Cambridge, MA -- The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School today hailed the government of Vietnam’s decision to formally provide a license for the establishment of Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV).  The license, which was presented to the Board of the Trust for University Innovation in Vietnam by Nguyễn Phú Trọng, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam during his groundbreaking visit to the United States last month, marks a critical milestone in the creation of FUV.  The new university will be built on the foundation of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program, a collaboration between the Harvard Kennedy School's Vietnam Program and the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City, that is widely regarded as Vietnam's preeminent school of public policy.

“Harvard’s over two decade-long collaboration with the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program has been of tremendous value,” said Archon Fung, the Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and the Acting Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School. “We look forward to contributing to the enhancement of Vietnam’s higher education sector through future collaborative endeavors with FUV.”

The Ash Center, which houses the Harvard Kennedy School’s Vietnam Program, has long been an enthusiastic supporter of FUV. "The granting of this license will do enormous good by helping to establish Fulbright University and strengthening the higher education sector in Vietnam," said Professor Tony Saich, Director of the Ash Center.  "It is my hope that FUV will blossom into a beacon of intellectual rigor and educational excellence as well as serve as an important partner of the Ash Center's work in the Mekong region." 

Thomas Vallely, a senior advisor for Southeast Asia at the Ash Center, helped spearhead the application for the license in his capacity as chairman of the Trust for University Innovation in Vietnam, an independent nonprofit corporation established to coordinate the project and mobilize resources for the new university. “Congress and the Administration understand that FUV represents a new, forward-looking chapter in the ongoing reconciliation between the US and Vietnam,” said Vallely. “FUV will embody American values including academic freedom, autonomy, meritocracy, and transparency.” During the award ceremony, Mr. Trong voiced his unequivocal support for granting FUV a unique governance system, noting that “Mr. Thomas Vallely observed that a level of autonomy greater than that enjoyed by other universities will be required and I am in complete agreement." The leadership of Vietnam further endorsed its support for granting FUV unparalleled levels of autonomy during Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Vietnam last week. 

FUV hopes to welcome its first class of students in the fall of 2016.

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. Three major programs support our mission: the Program on Democratic Governance; the Innovations in Government Program; and the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia. For more information, visit www.ash.harvard.edu

About the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program

A collaborative initiative of the Vietnam Program and the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City, the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program studies the economic development of Vietnam. Its flagship teaching program is a two-year Masters of Public Policy program, the first public policy degree to be offered in Vietnam, issued by the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City. The Fulbright School’s faculty works with colleagues at Harvard Kennedy School to pursue a diverse research agenda, the results of which inform the MPP program curriculum and enable the Fulbright School to engage in a policy dialogue with public and private sector stakeholders. For more information, visit www.fetp.edu.vn/en

About Fulbright University Vietnam

Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) will be an independent, nonprofit Vietnamese higher education institution that will be located in Ho Chi Minh City. The FUV initiative enjoys the support of a broad network of stakeholders in Vietnam and the United States. FUV will inherit the human and intellectual capital of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program and will develop new programs in collaboration with a consortium of international academic institutions, including Harvard University.  FUV will recruit students and faculty from around Asia and beyond, and will operate according to the highest standards of governance and academic excellence.