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Việt Nam Studies an evolving discipline

Update: December, 03/2016 - 13:36
Vũ Minh Giang

For the first time, Việt Nam Studies will be integrated with the scientific work of climate change and technology transfer, Professor Vũ Minh Giang, President of the Council for Science and Training under the Hà Nội National University tells the Viêt Nam News Agency (VNA).

The 5th International Conference on Việt Nam Studies will be organised in Hà Nội later this month (December 15-18).  Can you compare this year’s event with previous editions?

The conference is a forum for scientists, policy makers and enterprise leaders from five continents to present papers on different aspects of the discipline. It is an opportunity to further understand contemporary issues that the country is facing in the context of global changes.

The first Viet Nam Studies conference was organized in 1998 with the participation of more than 300 international scientists from 27 countries. The second, third and fourth conferences were held in 2004, 2008 and 2012 respectively.

The 5th conference in Hà Nôi will focus on: “Sustainable Development in the Context of Global Change”

The previous conferences focused mainly on social science and humanities, but this year, it will focus on knowledge and technology transfer as well as climate change adaptation, a huge challenge facing the country.

Tell us something about the faculty of Việt Nam Studies?

The faculty is under the management of the Việt Nam National University (VNU). One of its main functions is to learn from the experiences of other countries. When the faculty was assigned to host the first international conference on the subject, we felt that it was a great honor for us and for the VNU itself.

Of course, there has been considerable interest in learning about Việt Nam, but making it a scientific discipline by itself was something totally new. Before 1998, studies focusing on the Vietnamese nation and its culture were never heard of. Now, there are more than 90 institutions across the nation teaching the subject, or something similar to Việt Nam Studies. More importantly, the subject is listed as major in the curricula prepared by the Ministry of Education and Training.

However, the teaching materials vary from institution to institution. The research focus differs, too. For example, in some tourism universities, they focus more on culture and history of the Vietnamese nation while others focus on the country’s political systems and economic development.

In my opinion, we need to have a unified curriculum, and developing this is an important mission for the Việt Nam National University (VNU).

So far, the VNU has successfully developed training curricula for BA, MA and Doctorate degrees at the Hanoi University for Social Sciences and Humanities; and the Institute of Vietnamese Studies and Development Sciences.

More recently, the VNU co-operated with the Việt Nam – Japan University to launch the Regional Study, in which a part of the university curriculum will focus on Việt Nam Studies and Japan Studies. This initiative lays a foundation for the standardisation of teaching Việt Nam Studies at different levels.

Which are the offices or agencies that will employ graduates majoring in Việt Nam Studies?

This is a big question for both the students and the MOET!

There are many Việt Nam Studies graduates whose talents have not been properly used by their employers. For example, many of them have deep knowledge about biodiversity in the Central Highlands, particularly its land and topography, so it will be very useful for local authorities to ask them to be part of working groups and write general reports about the region.

I’m confident that the International Conference on Việt Nam Studies will offer good opportunities for Vietnamese and foreign experts to share experiences in several fields.

For example, Japanese Professor Sakurai Yumio is a good example for us to learn from. He was among a few foreigners who stood side by side with the Vietnamese in the fight against foreign aggressors. His studies cover many countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia, but Việt Nam remained in his mind and heart. He has traveled extensively to many localities Việt Nam.

Japanese Professor Furuta Motoo, former deputy director of the Tokyo University, now Dean of the Việt Nam-Japan University, is a key figure in developing the education aspect of Japan-Việt Nam relationship. -- VNS

 

 

 

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