At a recent ceremony in Hanoi, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam H.E. Craig Chittick welcomed home more than 60 Australia Awards alumni who have recently returned to Vietnam upon completing their postgraduate studies in Australia and told them of support available from the Australian Government to apply what they studied for their home country’s sustainable development.
The alumni are part of a dynamic network of nearly 60,000 alumni of Australian education in Vietnam. They represent a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and influence and are making valuable contributions to Vietnam’s sustainable socioeconomic development and strengthening links between the two countries.
“Australia’s experience in harmonizing economic development and environmental protection really made an impression on me throughout my studies in Australia,” said alumnus Hoang Xuan Thin, a researcher at the Scientific Technological Center for Environmental Protection in Transportation. “I think that Australia’s lessons learned are very helpful to Vietnam in sustaining its socioeconomic development and I am incorporating these lessons into my work.”
Australia Awards recipients are a remarkable and talented group of Vietnamese scholars. They go through a very challenging and competitive process to win the awards and must then meet the rigorous academic requirements of Australia’s world-class education system with many, many examples of outstanding performance, according to Ambassador Chittick. “However, this is just a part of their success,” he said. “When they return home, they strive to apply the knowledge, experience, and links gained in Australia to help Vietnam realize its aspirations of being a more prosperous, secure, and inclusive country.”
The Australian Government therefore has a global strategy to mobilize, connect, and celebrate Australian alumni and this is represented in Vietnam through the Australian Alumni in Vietnam Strategy, which strengthens and grows the network of Australian alumni in the country through various social and professional activities, such as building professional groups and organizing networking activities, seminars, and workshops.
The Australian Government’s commitment continues upon the alumni’s return to Vietnam, through support to assist them apply the knowledge and skills gained in Australia in their workplace and community and for Vietnam’s development. Ambassador Chittick encouraged the alumni to actively participate in the Australian Alumni Small Grants Fund, an initiative to empower alumni to consolidate their professional knowledge and skills and strengthen links between Australia and Vietnam, through undertaking applied research, organizing training courses and workshops, and improving their workplace systems and processes.
With knowledge and skills gained in Australia, Dr. Vo Thi Hoang Yen, Founder and Director of Disability Resources and Development (DRD), on behalf of more than 60 newly-returned postgraduates attending the ceremony, said she will develop DRD as a professional social work center providing social services including counselling, mental health treatment, and information to people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. “I would like to thank Australia for the knowledge, experience and confidence I gained to make a difference in Vietnam,” she said.
Meanwhile, alumnus Nguyen Thi Kim Dung, a lecturer at the Social Work Faculty at Thang Long University, said the Small Grants Fund had enabled her to organize training courses on empowering girls through the life skills program Shine. The training has helped girls discover their strengths, become more confident, and lead a useful life. As a trainer, she had the opportunity to put theory into practice and sharpen her actual on-the-ground experience when engaging with the girls through their life stories.
Last year, the Australian Government provided nearly A$500,000 ($380,000) in grants to alumni through the Australian Alumni Small Grants Fund. The 2018 round recently closed and results will be announced later in the year- Vietnam Economic Times.
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