Connecting Vietnamese minds for the homeland

Thursday, 2020-01-23 12:32:13
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Prof. Dr. Nguyen Duc Khuong, president of the AVSE Global, speaks at the 2019 Vietnam Global Leaders Forum in France.
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NDO – The traditions of patriotism and acting towards helping the homeland following the appeal of President Ho Chi Minh nearly 100 years ago, has been maintained by young Vietnamese experts and scientists in France, aiming to bring their knowledge, experience and international technology to serve the development of the country.

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Duc Khuong recalled that 20 years ago when he just came to France to study, research and then work here, he had two wishes. The first was to work out how to become an expert in the field of finance. Explaining the wish, he said at the time, the Vietnamese stock market had just been established, so international-level experts were desperately needed for the process of opening the doors to trade exchange and integration. His second desire, according to him, was how to gather the young generation and Vietnamese students in France to help each other in their studies, as well as to introduce each other employment and promotion opportunities abroad.

In the early years of the 21st century, the operations of the overseas Vietnamese intellectuals’ association were no longer the same as they once were previously, while more and more young people came to France to study, initially over 2,000 and then to 5,000 and 6,000. At this time, Khuong had a third wish, which was to build an organisation gathering Vietnamese experts and intellectuals around the globe.

On May 21, 2011, the Association of Vietnamese Scientists and Experts in France (AVSE) (later called as AVSE Global) was established in Paris, including 12 members on the advisory council and 18 members on the executive committee, with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Duc Khuong (Paris Institute of Commerce) serving as the president. The idea of setting up the association in France stemmed from the fact that many famous overseas Vietnamese intellectuals here had returned home on the call of President Ho Chi Minh to contribute to the country during the resistance war period until peace was finally reached, such as Prof. Tran Dai Nghia, Doctor Tran Huu Tuoc, Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Huyen and engineer Vo Quy Huan.

Right from the inital days of its establishment, AVSE Global has contacted and connected many young intellectuals and experts through organising scientific seminars on nuclear power, high-speed rail transportation, food chemistry and sustainable construction, which in turn attracted attention from policymakers in Vietnam. AVSE Global has also cooperated with Vietnamese universities and agencies to successfully organise dozens of annual seminars and policy forums on the digital economy, leadership and public policy, finance-banking, renewable energy, offshore exploitation and sustainable construction, in addition to many advanced training programmes for technicians and future leaders. The work has been implemented systematically and effectively through linking experts with important development projects and topics currently implemented in Vietnam. “In addition to the force of core experts in France, we have built a network of members and collaborators in Vietnam and many other countries around the world to make the most of the quintessence and creativity to further serve the development of Vietnam,” Khuong said.

From an initial 20 members, AVSE Global now brings together more than 300 permanent participants in domestic cooperation projects and programs. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Duc Khuong clearly understands that the collective strength is a very important factor to mobilise forces for every activity of AVSE Global. This way, the vision for Vietnam will be large, multi-dimensional and useful enough, especially in providing consultations and advice for the Government and localities.

AVSE Global has the dynamism and enthusiasm to carry out its activities and receives extremely important support of the Advisory Board, which groups successful members in French society, and leading scientists and intellectuals in France. Those who assisted AVSE Global to take the first steps included Prof. Le Van Cuong, Prof. Vu Quang Kinh, Prof. Vu Ngoc Can and Doctor Vo Toan Trung, operating in the fields of scientific research, industry and health. AVSE Global then was energised by Vietnamese experts and scientists in other fields in several developed countries, such as Singapore and the US. The size and cooperation of the association has constantly been growing, creating favourable conditions for its connections with partners from around the world.

Delegates to the forum.

One of AVSE Global’s most impressive activities is the Vietnam Global Leaders Forum (VGLF) that debuted in Paris in March 2019. This was the first time influential Vietnamese people in various fields, who are living and working in many countries around the world, met to discuss national brands and build a network of intellectuals and experts who share the same desire to contribute to developing and enhancing Vietnam’s position. At the forum, the excitement of the delegates was palpable and could clearly be felt as they were enabled to participate in professional activities for the development of the country, and could proactively convey trust to their surrounding people, towards thinking and building projects in accordance with the capabilities and needs of the country. Prof. Tran Thanh Van, an overseas Vietnamese scientist in France who has connected Vietnamese science with the world for many years, shared: “I see that young people in France now are very active, successful, enthusiastic and competent through the connection. This shows that many Vietnamese people in France as well as other countries have the desire to contribute to the development of Vietnam within their abilities.”

Doctor Nguyen Toan Trung, head of the neurosurgery rehabilitation department at the Bullion Hospital (France), has joined his French colleagues to implement many medical projects to help Vietnam and is an advocate of AVSE’s ideas and working methods right from the very first day. He said that the 2019 VGLF met the expectations of overseas Vietnamese intellectuals who always thought about the future of the country, especially during the the time of a strong transformation period that will go on to decide Vietnam’s development over the next 30-50 years. Assoc. Prof. Tran Ngoc Anh, a lecturer of the Indiana University in the US, also agreed that the force of experienced technical scientists who are working abroad and are willing to contribute to the development of the country is an extremely important advantage to Vietnam.

Within the framework of the forum in Paris, the Vietnam Global Leaders Network was established, marking a milestone long expected by AVSE Global to create close connections and make positive contributions across various fields to the country in the future.

The convergence of influential Vietnamese people in Paris last year shows that Vietnam still has a lot of potential yet to be effectively exploited, and has not fully connected and made use of all the available resources yet. Looking back on the past journey, Prof. Nguyen Duc Khuong said: “Vietnam is facing a big development problem, especially as they require people who are capable of constructing professions, schools, research institutes and world-class enterprises. The question is what are the mechanisms to attract and use overseas Vietnamese intellectuals, towards ensuring each expert returning to Vietnam has a suitable working environment that can help them full tap into their capabilities to contribute to the country?”

The overseas Vietnamese are an integral part and a valuable resource of the country. In 2020, Prof. Dr. Nguyen Duc Khuong and AVSE Global are planning a number of projects, together with the expansion of the network of Vietnamese talents around the world. “In my opinion, in the integration period, where we live is not important, provided that we can contribute well to the development of our homeland and our country,” he said wholeheartedly.

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Duc Khuong currently serves as Deputy Director in charge of international cooperation and research and head of the Finance Department at IPAG Business School. He ranks seventh among the world’s 200 leading young economists who have a publication published by RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) over the past 10 years – In February 2016. He is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group and also participates in providing advice for other governments in Asia.