New financing builds on a long legacy of U.S. support for Fulbright University Vietnam and its educational, economic, and cultural impact
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam // Washington – U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) today announced the financial commitment of $37 million via a 20-year direct loan to support the construction of Fulbright University Vietnam’s new campus in Ho Chi Minh City. Fulbright University Vietnam is Vietnam’s first independent, non-profit liberal arts university. This project will support the Phase I construction of accommodations, academic buildings, and dining and recreation facilities for up to 1,500 students.
“DFC is excited to continue the United States’ commitment to Fulbright University Vietnam,” said DFC Chief Operating Officer David Marchick. “The new campus in Ho Chi Minh City will advance inclusive economic growth in Vietnam and the entire Indo-Pacific region.”
DFC’s investment in Fulbright University Vietnam will help close the gap between the demand for skilled employees in Vietnam’s workforce and educational opportunities in the country, which fall short of what is needed. Fulbright University Vietnam’s mission is to overcome this disconnect to advance economic opportunity and inclusive growth in Vietnam. While Vietnamese students perform well on standard academic tests, employers consistently report that students lack the skills needed to excel, as reflected in the high underemployment rate of college graduates.
“DFC and Fulbright share a commitment to supporting the development of quality, accessible education in Vietnam. Our eyes are set to the future. This significant support of DFC would bring us closer to one that is sustainable and community driven, and to a home for the leaders of tomorrow.” Fulbright University’s President Dam Bich Thuy said.
The United States government has a long history of support for Fulbright University Vietnam. The university traces its roots to a 1991 bill sponsored by Senator John Kerry to develop an exchange program for Vietnamese students and government officials. Following the success of this program, in 1994 the Department of State funded the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University to partner with Vietnamese university to establish the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program, Vietnam’s first center of public policy. Both the exchange and graduate public policy programs are still in operation today and have trained over 2,000 public and private sector decision-makers.
In 2016, the public policy center incubated by Harvard transitioned to Fulbright University Vietnam, becoming the university’s first academic program. Today, Fulbright University Vietnam offers three academic initiatives – the Undergraduate Program in Engineering and the Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, and a problem-focused research program.
This project is aligned with U.S. foreign policy objectives and enjoys broad support from the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam. The direct loan will advance DFC’s 2X Women’s Initiative, as Fulbright University Vietnam’s current student ratio of women in its undergraduate program at its temporary campus is 65%, and the university will target to recruit an average of 63% women students for its programs when it shifts to the permanent campus. In addition, Fulbright University Vietnam is implementing a broad range of advanced energy and water efficiency strategies in the design of its campus facilities.
Fulbright University Vietnam’s campus will be built in the Saigon High-Tech Park on a 15 hectare parcel of land donated to the university by the Vietnamese government. The campus will be the most environmentally advanced education complex ever built in Vietnam and will serve as a living sustainability laboratory for students, faculty and the interested public.
About the DFC:
U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology. DFC also provides financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs in order to create jobs in emerging markets. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.