Ambassador Osius’ Remarks at the USAID Vietnam Scientific Research Community Workshop

Ambassador Osius Giving Remarks at the USAID Vietnam Scientific Research Community Workshop

August 8, 2017

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Good morning everyone, and welcome to the first USAID Vietnam Scientific Research Community Workshop.

Thank you to our distinguished guests from the Government of Vietnam and academia and our USAID and ASEAN fellows and PEER researchers, whose work is on display here today. We are also honored to be joined by my friend, the Kingdom of Thailand’s Ambassador to Vietnam, His Excellency Manopchai Vongphakdi. In just a moment, I will explain more about our special connection to a new study the United States is looking forward to supporting in Vietnam. Also, thank you to the students and teachers who are joining us today. You are the next generation of innovative thinkers, so let this event inspire you to never stop exploring the world around us.

The United States proudly supports scientific research with partner institutions in Vietnam including the Hanoi University of Science, the Vietnam National Tuberculosis Program, and Vietnam National University, to name a few. These partnerships create teams of American and Vietnamese researchers that discover innovative approaches to improve policy and further our shared goal of sustainable development. As scientists, engineers, and champions of innovation, you know that smart policy is built upon sound scientific evidence and information.

Knowledge that comes from scientific research sparks tomorrow’s technological advances that improve human health and safeguard our precious biodiversity and natural resources. Today, researchers are working to provide clean, reliable energy to our homes and our businesses and drive down the cost of generating electricity from renewable sources. They are also optimizing our ability to withstand intense natural hazards and improving agricultural productivity and land management.

Through the efforts of those of you here today, Vietnamese researchers and the U.S. National Science Foundation are building the resilience of Vietnam’s coastal and delta communities. Together our countries are using cutting-edge DNA technology to improve management of fisheries that communities rely on while conserving the rich biodiversity of the Mekong.

We’re also working together to battle the scourge of tuberculosis, a disease that kills 29,000 people annually here in Vietnam. The U.S. National Institute of Health and Vietnam’s National Tuberculosis program are working to identify risk factors and gender-differences to understand the particularly high rates of TB among men in Vietnam.

And, just before I officially open the workshop, I wish to make a special announcement. Dr. Ngo Thi Thuy Huong and her team submitted a proposal to study an innovative approach to apply vetiver grass to remediate dioxin contaminated soil at the Bien Hoa Airbase. This technique of using living green plants to treat contaminated soils was championed in the Kingdom of Thailand by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. As I mentioned a moment ago, I first learned of this innovative approach from my close colleagues in the Royal Thai Government. I’m very pleased to announce that USAID will soon build upon the Thai experience by working with Dr. Ngo and her team to understand how this approach may work in Vietnam. Dioxin remediation is extremely important to both our countries and I am excited we are able to bring together the smartest minds to the task. Congratulations to you and your impressive team!

The joint studies presented here today highlight the power of science, technology and innovation to solve pressing problems we face in Vietnam, the United States, and around the world. The United States is committed to working with Vietnam to understand better how we can protect human health, expand our economies, and preserve our life-sustaining natural resources.

Congratulations to all of you on your important work, and I wish you great success in your future endeavors.

Chúc các bạn sức khỏe, hạnh phúc và thành công. Xin cảm ơn.