Ambassador Kritenbrink Remarks: Fulbright University Vietnam Groundbreaking Ceremony

Thursday, June 6, 2019
Saigon Hi-Tech Park, Ho Chi Minh City

I would like to thank President Dam Bich Thủy for the outstanding honor of joining you today to break ground at the future site of the beautiful Fulbright University Vietnam campus.

The bilateral relationship between the United States and Vietnam is stronger than it has ever been. Our two countries are working together for our mutual benefit – the definition of a comprehensive partnership. When my Vietnamese friends describe our relationship as one with strategic substance, I certainly agree.

My mission statement and our fundamental goal is for the United States to be a vital partner in supporting the development of a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam that contributes to international security, engages in free, fair, and reciprocal trade, and respects human rights and the rule of law.

We are committed to this relationship and we are invested in Vietnam’s future. This investment is what brings me here today.

There is perhaps no better example that underscores our investment in Vietnam’s future than Fulbright University Vietnam.

FUV is Vietnam’s first not-for-profit, independent, liberal arts university. FUV is a remarkable example of the people-to-people ties that strengthen the bonds between our nations on a personal and lasting basis. It is evidence of the great things we can achieve together.

The United States has a long connection with the institution we now know as Fulbright University Vietnam. For over two decades, its predecessor, the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program, trained more than 1,200 of Vietnam’s top leaders in public policy with our support.

Fulbright University Vietnam represents the next step for Vietnam’s education system. It is the start of something bigger and more vital for Vietnam’s future. FUV takes the best of the American tradition of liberal arts and sciences education and advances it through the lens of Vietnam’s aspirations, identity, and history, as well as through its rich cultural heritage. It is building an institution dedicated to serving Vietnamese society through innovations in education and technology, as well as through a spirit of discovery.

Fulbright University is helping Vietnam respond to this country’s undeniable thirst for modern education. This university is growing as a laboratory to develop and test new ideas about institutional independence, academic freedom, autonomy, admissions criteria, the relationship between students and teachers, research and development, student life, citizenship, communications, and technology. The success of these experiments translates into success for Vietnam’s education system, people, and society.

Higher education institutions are already major actors in the U.S. – Vietnam relationship I expect that FUV will bring our people even closer together in the future, through exchanges, collaborative research, mutual learning, joint problem solving, and much more.

FUV’s promise to all of us is to help a new generation of leaders and values emerge and advance Vietnam towards modernization and global integration. When I interact with FUV’s amazing students, I am confident that this promise will be kept and that FUV will serve as a model in the region of what is truly possible in promoting higher education.

Thank you all and congratulations on the first step in what will surely be a successful future.