On the morning of October 26th, 2020, Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, Fulbright University Vietnam hosted a ceremony to welcome the Master of Public Policy cohort of 2020-2022 (MPP 2022), with over 80 new students in attendance.
During his opening speech, Dean of Fulbright School of Public Policy Management, Professor Pham Duy Nghia emphasized the long partnership between Fulbright Economics Trading Program, now FSPPM, and the United States. For 25 years, FSPPM has grown alongside the US-Vietnam bilateral relationship, with the support of the Vietnamese government and the U.S. State department to train effective policymakers, devising sound policies in the economic, political, and social context of Vietnam.
“To individuals, more knowledge means greater freedom. And at the national level, a good public policy identifies mechanisms for effective management of resources and impartial distribution of public welfare,” said Mr. Nghia. This role has never been more important than in the context of the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the devastation wrought by floods along the coasts of Vietnam.
This sentiment was echoed by Marie C. Damour, U.S. Consul General to Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, who attended the inauguration. In her words, “in our uncertain times, one thing is clear: we need policymakers and leaders that can rise to the challenges of our uncertain times, and find new ways of thinking and new approaches that can improve policy and improve lives.”
Students were filled with excitement and anxiousness in equal measure during the ceremony, with the promising but arduous journey ahead. The new cohort includes many students who will balance family life, careers, as well as studies, a challenging task, especially this year, as acknowledged by Mr. Nghia.
And yet, as Dr. Le Thai Ha, Director of Research at FSPPM explained in her closing remarks, at Fulbright, students are never alone. Convocation marks their entrance in a new community, where everyone will learn from their peers as much as from their teachers, where students were selected based on their strengths and rich experiences, in their lives and in their work. Here begins a new journey for the future policymakers, entrepreneurs, elite faculty and researchers, connected by a shared commitment to the betterment of Vietnamese society, who can support each other on their way to success.
“The most unique aspect of this school compared to other international learning environments is the friendship and compassion among colleagues, teachers and students, and fellow students. It is a valuable asset that will stay with you beyond graduation,” Dr. Le Thai Ha concluded.