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Vietnam National Alumni Conference Considered a Big Success

The Vietnam National Alumni Conference, held in Hanoi on 14-15 December 2013, was the first Australian alumni conference on a national scale in Vietnam. It was organized under the auspices of the Australian Embassy with the support of the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training and was open to all Vietnamese alumni who had graduated from Australian tertiary institutions.

The Conference was a key event in the commemorative program celebrating the 40-years of Australia-Vietnam Diplomatic Relations. Its theme was “Celebrating 40 years of Australia-Vietnam Relations: Education for Development: Future Collaboration and Directions.”

Professor Quy speaks at VNAC

Vice Minister of Education and Training, Professor. Dr. Tran Quang Quy, spoke at the conference.

A total of 412 people participated in the conference, of whom 330 were alumni. The seven Australian presenters were prominent academics from six Australian universities: the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Curtin University and Victoria University.

Opening the conference Mr. Phillip Stonehouse, Charge d’Affaires a.i.,said, “I am proud to see how the ties between our two nations have grown over the years, and thousands of alumni from Australian universities are playing an active role in strengthening this relationship.”

In his welcome remarks, Vice Minister of Education and Training, Professor. Dr. Tran Quang Quy said: “The Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam highly appreciates the role of Australia and Australian universities in training high-quality personnel for Vietnam. Thousands of Vietnamese alumni are actively contributing to the country’s development in various fields.”

The keynote speech of Professor Geoff Gallop (University of Sydney) emphasized that when higher education is a key contributor to sustainable development, higher education brings the spirit and the results of science to the economy and society.

Alumni listening to Dr Kevin Laws’ (University of Sydney) presentation on education.

The conference was multi-themed with six parallel session sub-themes. The sub-themes were selected as they related to alumni expertise in key issues facing Vietnam. The six parallel sessions were on (i) Vietnam’s health sector reform, (ii) better education outcomes for Vietnam, (iii) sustainable agricultural development in Vietnam, (iv) developing Vietnam’s human resources, (v) Vietnam’s regional economic integration, and (vi) environmental sustainability for development.

Prof Nguyen Xuan Trach - VNAC

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Trach, Vice Rector, Hanoi University of Agriculture (first left), making his presentation while Professor Neal Menzies (Dean of Agriculture, University of Queensland, third from right) and alumni listened.

There was also a special session on public sector reform, conducted by Professor Gallop and Dr. Dinh Duy Hoa, Director of the Department of Public Administration Reform, Ministry of Home Affairs. The public sector reform session took place in parallel with two well-attended, training workshops on journal article writing and visual presentation skills.

Mr Philip Stonehouse at VNAC

Mr. Phillip Stonehouse being interviewed by several television channels.

The conference was covered by many media organisations. The feedback from participants was very positive. One of the Australian presenters said: "I just want to say the conference was a great success. A conference like that would, from my experience, involve a lot of preparation, organisation, management and fund-raising.”

An alumnus, who was the chairperson of a conference sub-session, wrote in her email to the conference organisers: "It was my pleasure to be part of the conference. I found it a very useful and meaningful event." "It was a big opportunity for me to share my thinking with related people", one of the alumni presenters commentee”.


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