US Secretary of State John Kerry and HCM City Party Committee Secretary Đinh La Thăng yesterday presided over the official launching ceremony for Fulbright University Vietnam in HCM City.
The chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Nguyen Thanh Phong, handed over the decision for establishment of the university to former US Senator Bob Kerrey, who is chairman of the FUV Board of Trustees, and Fulbright University Việt Nam’s Founding President Đam Bich Thuy.
With the decision, the university will be in a position to welcome its first intake of students later this year and begin preparations to build a flagship campus at Sai Gon High Tech Park in District 9.
The city government has allocated 25 hectares of land to the university.
Kerry said at the event that US-Việt Nam relations had changed a great deal over the years, and that the ties were stronger than ever.
“The people here are very dynamic, and Vietnamese students will study at this university and be able to take part in the world economy,” he said.
Noting that Việt Nam has 25 million people under 25 years old, Kerry said that education would decide the future of the country.
“It took more than 20 years to heal the wounds from the war. It will take an additional 20 years for better achievements in friendship of the two countries, and this university can be seen as a seed planted today,” Kerry said.
“I am confident that FUV will contribute meaningfully toward the emergence of HCM City as a hub of innovation for the region and the world,” he said.
Former US Senator Bob Kerrey said the university would open an exciting new chapter in the history of US-Vietnam cooperation in higher education, as it would “embody meritocracy, freedom of academic inquiry, autonomy and accountability”.
The US government has committed more than US$20 million in funding to support the launch of the innovative new university.
The university has secured more than US$60 million in funding commitments in cash and in-kind.
However, the school needs to mobilise US$100 million over the next three years, according to founding president Đam Bich Thuy.
Kerry, who has been visiting Việt Nam for decades, said he had long wanted to strengthen education cooperation between the two countries.
In December 2013, visiting Vietnam for the first time as Secretary of State, Kerry met members of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program. The idea of establishing a Fulbright University in Vietnam was then proposed.