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January - April 2010

Education Conference a Success!

January 15, 2010
Ambassador Michalak’s opening remarks at the third Education Conference.  This conference allowed the participants to address the ways toward the goal of establishing American-style universities in Vietnam

Ambassador Michalak’s opening remarks at the third Education Conference. This conference allowed the participants to address the ways toward the goal of establishing American-style universities in Vietnam

Ambassador Michalak’s third Education Conference, Building Partnerships in Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges for the U.S. and Vietnam, drew more than 600 educators from the U.S. and Vietnam for talks on how to reach a variety of educational goals.  The Conference, held January 14-15, 2010 in Hanoi, provided a forum for representatives from more than 250 schools and companies with educational programs in Vietnam, to discuss ways to improve Vietnamese universities through more and deeper linkages with American universities, colleges and companies, ways to increase the number of Vietnamese studying in the U.S., and ways to promote the creation of American-style universities in Vietnam.  

American universities and companies participating in the Conference included University of California, University of Wisconsin, University of Washington, University of Missouri, Michigan State University, Portland State University, Arizona State, University of Houston, California State University, Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, General Electric, U.S. AID, Texas International Consortium, College of Staten Island, Vietnam Education Foundation, Harvard Kennedy School, Houston Community College and John Hopkins University.  The Embassy is grateful to co-organizers Vietnam National University, Hanoi, and the Ministry of Education and Training for their cooperation in organizing the Conference, and to the many American companies that provided sponsorship of the Conference.

Export Control and Regulated Border Security (EXBS) Training Seminar held in Hanoi

January 20, 2010
Participants of the EXBS Training Seminar.  Mr. Orona and Mr. Hao pictured front row, left sideParticipants of the EXBS Training Seminar.  Mr. Orona and Mr. Hao pictured front row, left side

Participants of the EXBS Training Seminar. Mr. Orona and Mr. Hao pictured front row, left side

On January 20, U.S. Embassy Political Officer, Michael Orona and Mr. Dao Duc Hao, Deputy Director of the Government of Vietnam Department of Customs delivered opening remarks at the first Export Control and Regulated Border Security (EXBS) training seminar of 2010 in Hanoi.  The three day workshop focused on establishing capabilities to detect, interdict, investigate, and prosecute illicit transfers of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), WMD-related materials, and conventional weapons.  The seminar increased consultation, cooperation and “best practices on EXBS issues affecting the international community.  After the conference, Michael Orona and William Comley, EXBS Regional Advisor, met with members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to brief them on highlights from the 2009 EXBS program.

Internet Freedom Speech and Follow-On Discussion

January 22, 2010
Political Officer Christian Marchant leads a discussion following the Secretary’s speech on Internet Freedom.

Political Officer Christian Marchant leads a discussion following the Secretary’s speech on Internet Freedom.

On Friday January 22, 40 Vietnamese young people gathered at the American Center in Hanoi to watch clips from the Secretary's speech on Internet Freedom and discuss how the topic related to Vietnam. After watching about 30 minutes of the speech, Christian Marchant, Political Officer led a lengthy discussion with participants about the role of the Internet in the life of Vietnamese youth.

Access Students Visit the American Center

January 30, 2010
Access students visit the American Center

Access students visit the American Center

On January 30, 16 students from the U.S. Embassy-funded Access program made their first visit to the American Center. The students were accompanied by one of their teachers and several administrators from the Cleverlearn English Language Center. (Participants in the Access program are high performing students from underserved areas around Hanoi. The Access scholarship provides them English language training at Cleverlearn school for four hours a week over a two year period.) The American Center Director and the Public Affairs Assistant welcomed the group and provided a comprehensive look at the American Center’s services and products. Students were quizzed on the presentation and were asked to introduce themselves and show where they lived on a map. Students then toured the American Center and took time to familiarize themselves with its resources.

Ambassador Michalak Holds Press Conference on Bilateral Relations

February 3, 2010
Ambassador Michael W. Michalak briefing journalists about the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vietnam at the press conference on February 3, 2010

Ambassador Michael W. Michalak briefing journalists about the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vietnam at the press conference on February 3, 2010

Ambassador Michael Michalak held a press conference on February 3, 2010 to describe the U.S. Mission’s accomplishments over the past year and to describe its goals for the coming year.  In his remarks, Ambassador Michalak described the excellent cooperation the Mission and the Government of Vietnam have had in such areas as economics, education, health, and the environment.  He also described areas in which the two governments do not see eye to eye, including the areas of human rights and freedom of expression.  And, the Ambassador also described the many events that are planned in 2010 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam.  The full text of the press Conference is available here.

"Slanguage: American Slangs"

February 3, 2010
Participant (left) tries out American slang while the AC presenter listens on

Participant (left) tries out American slang while the AC presenter listens on

On February 3, approximately 80 attendees participated in a program titled “Slanguage: American Slangs”. Students enjoyed a lively presentation on the topic. The presenters first provided some background on the use of slang in America. They then gave examples of words, their definitions and sample sentence use. Audience members were encouraged to create their own sentences. The final activity required patrons to use their new vocabulary to create and share short dialogues. Prizes were awarded for participation.

Mental Health Program at the American Center

February 4, 2010
Bach-Tuyet Brown collects pre-surveys from participants at Mental Health program

Bach-Tuyet Brown collects pre-surveys from participants at Mental Health program

On February 4, Martha Lincoln, PhD student in medical anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center and Hanoi School of Public Health and Bach-Tuyet Brown, Psychotherapist presented a program on mental health. The audience of 50 learned about the basics of mental health: the meaning of “mental health”, different forms of mental illness and simple advice for caring for their own mental health and well-being. 

Embassy Outreach to Central Danang

February 5, 2010
U.S. Embassy Political Officer/American Presence Officer, Michael Orona exchanges gifts with Mr. Lam Quang Minh, Director of the Danang People’s Committee – Investment Promotion Center

U.S. Embassy Political Officer/American Presence Officer, Michael Orona exchanges gifts with Mr. Lam Quang Minh, Director of the Danang People’s Committee – Investment Promotion Center

From February 3-5, Michael Orona, Political Officer/American Presence Officer, visited Danang as part of the U.S. Embassy’s outreach program to Central Vietnam. During his three day visit, Orona met with a number of government officials including Mr. Van Huu Chien, Vice Chairman of the Danang People’s Committee, Mr. Luong Minh Sam, Director of the Foreign Affairs Department, President Bui Van Ga of Danang University and representatives of the Ministry of Public Security. Discussions focused on how to increase relations in light of the 15th anniversary of the reestablishment of U.S. – Vietnam bilateral relations, Vietnam’s role as ASEAN chair, promoting greater investment in Central Vietnam and how to increase the number of educational and professional exchange programs. During his visit, Orona attended Tet holiday functions and give remarks on behalf of the U.S. Embassy. 

Deputy Assistant Secretary Marciel Visits Hanoi

February 4-8, 2010
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs Scot Marciel

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs Scot Marciel

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs Scot Marciel visited Hanoi from February 4-8 to exchange views on U.S.-Vietnam relations in the context of the fifteenth anniversary of bilateral relations and Vietnam's Presidency of ASEAN. While in Hanoi, he met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Finance, Office of the Government, Diplomatic Academy, National Assembly, American Chamber of Commerce and the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha.

Treasury’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Dohner Visits Vietnam

February 24, 2010

Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, Robert Dohner, Treasury’s highest-ranking official with responsibility for Asia, visited Hanoi on February 24 & 25.  While here, DAS Dohner held several successful economic meetings with the Deputy Governor of the State Bank, Vice Minister of Finance, Chairman of the National Assembly Economic Committee, Vice Chairman of the Office of Government and the Vice Chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Committee.  In addition, Ambassador Michalak also hosted a lively dinner for Mr. Dohner with economists and local Vietnamese and American business representatives.  Mr. Dohner discussed a wide range of macroeconomic stability issues with Vietnamese officials and they expressed their appreciation for the extensive and valuable technical assistance being provided by Treasury banking experts to the State Bank of Vietnam.

U.S. Government Donates Equipment to the Ministry of Public Security

March 5, 2010

On March 5, 2010, the Ministry of Public Security Forensic Institute received forensic analysis equipment donated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State's Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program.  The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy & Negotiations Eliot Kang and the DEA Country Attaché Scott Sutherland spoke at the handover ceremony, remarking on the importance of supporting Vietnam's efforts to combat the illicit drug trade as well as to detect precursors to weapons of mass destruction.  The equipment was sent from DEA’s Special Testing and Research Laboratory (STRL) in Dulles, Virginia and DEA will be sending Forensic Chemists from STRL and from DEA’s Western Regional Laboratory in San Francisco, California, to assemble the equipment and provide training on its use related to drug analysis.  Because of the versatile nature of the equipment, EXBS will also be providing training to Forensics Institute chemists related to the analysis of precursor chemicals and compounds used in the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction. 

DCM Virginia Palmer Hosts Women in Vietnam Program

March 5, 2010
DCM, Virginia Palmer and guest panelists at Women in Vietnam: Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities event.

DCM, Virginia Palmer and guest panelists at Women in Vietnam: Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities event.

On Friday, March 5, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Virginia Palmer hosted Women in Vietnam: Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities, a panel program discussing the lives and challenges of women in Vietnam today. In recognition of International Women’s Day, more than 80 participants joined in a lively discussion with Ms. Palmer and panelists, Madeline Felix, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Luu Hong Anh, Student, Hanoi and Raffles University, Le Hong Tam, Student, Foreign Trade University and Le Hong Diem, Student, Hanoi University. This event also kicked off a program series to be hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi in partnership with the U.S. consulate in HCMC to explore the issues that are impacting the lives of women in modern day Vietnam.  As part of the yearlong series, events with students, academics, journalists, business and political leaders, men and women will be held on issues such as health, sexuality, leadership in business and politics, and domestic violence.

U.S. Embassy Outreach at IIE Higher Education Fair

March 11, 2010
Staff answer questions at the busy American Center information table at the IIE Higher Education Fair

Staff answer questions at the busy American Center information table at the IIE Higher Education Fair

On Thursday, March 11, the U.S. Embassy Hanoi conducted several outreach activities at the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Higher Education Fair, held at the Melia Hotel.

Consular Officers Bill Weissman and Theresa Matthews hosted information sessions about the U.S. student visa process for Vietnamese students and parents as well as educational representatives from the U.S.

In addition, Public Affairs Staff Elisabet Garriga gave a presentation to students and parents about the upcoming opening of EducationUSA’s Advising Center at the U.S. Embassy.

The American Center and EducationUSA were both represented at busy information tables. Staff answered questions and provided free books and promotional materials to approximately 1,100 visitors.

The goal of the IIE Education fair is to bring representatives from accredited U.S. institutions to meet with prospective Vietnamese students and their parents and give them the opportunity to learn about  studying in the U.S. from reliable sources. The fairs are open to the public and free of charge.

Envoy for Energy Affairs visits key Ministries in Hanoi

March 15, 2010

Secretary Clinton’s Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, Mr. David L. Goldwyn, came to Hanoi Mar. 15-16 to explore ways to share U.S. expertise and help Vietnam secure its energy resources for the future, through the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative (EGCI). He spoke with officials from the Ministries of Finance, Industry & Trade, as well as large energy companies PetroVietnam and Vietnam Electricity (EVN). He and his team covered many energy-related topics, including Vietnam’s potential for natural gas development, energy security, increasing value and efficiency in oil and gas production, and other areas in which Vietnam may want technical assistance.

Student Life in the United States: Expectations and Realities

March 17, 2010

On March 17, the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi hosted a session entitled Student Life in the United States: Expectations and Realities, attended by approximately 70 students with an interest in studying in the United States. The speaker, Senior English Language Fellow Helen Huntley, first led a discussion of students' expectations of academic life in America, followed by the viewing of a video, Voices of Experience: Cross Cultural Adjustment, which highlights the stories of international students' adjustment to life in the U.S. Following the movie, participants discussed some of the issues raised, such as culture shock, different teaching styles, American behavior, and homesickness.

DCM Palmer Speaks at University of Education in Hue

March 22, 2010
U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Virginia Palmer speaking about women’s roles in the U.S. at the University of Education in Hue

U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Virginia Palmer speaking about women’s roles in the U.S. at the University of Education in Hue

On March 22, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Virginia Palmer, met with a largely female group of students at the University of Education in Hue to speak about women’s roles in the United States.  Ms. Palmer spoke about the ongoing advancement of women’s roles socially, academically and professionally post World War II. She also discussed the impact of the women’s rights movements in the U.S. and subsequent constitutional laws regarding equality for women.  Ms. Palmer also informed attendees of the new U.S. visa renewal program and its advantages for Vietnamese students studying in the United States.

New Visa Form Required for Travel to U.S.

March 24, 2010
U.S. Embassy Consular staff process the first DS-160 form which was completed by an 80 year old visa applicant.

U.S. Embassy Consular staff process the first DS-160 form which was completed by an 80 year old visa applicant.

The Embassy of the United States of America Hanoi is transitioning to a new nonimmigrant visa application form. The new DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, is a fully integrated online application form that will be used to collect the necessary application information from persons seeking a nonimmigrant visa. On March 24, the Consular Section processed the first DS-160 form which was completed by an 80 year old visa applicant.

Fore more information, please click here.

VNU HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities Visits American Center

March 25, 2010
Students from HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities visits the American Center in Hanoi

Students from HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities visits the American Center in Hanoi

On March 25, 180 second year students and lecturers from Ho Chi Minh City’s University of Social Sciences and Humanities visited the American Center for a presentation on U.S. Foreign Policy.  Political Officer, Christian Marchant spoke to the group generally about U.S. Foreign Policy and some specifics about the U.S. –Vietnam relationship. Mr. Marchant took several questions from the audience. In addition, students learned about the American Center and its products and services.

USAID-supported MTV EXIT Concert Rocks Hanoi

March 27, 2010
Ambassador Michalak greets the audience at MTV's EXIT concert in Hanoi

Ambassador Michalak greets the audience at MTV's EXIT concert in Hanoi

U.S. Ambassador Michael Michalak took the stage Saturday night, March 27, to welcome an enormous crowd of fans gathered at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi for the USAID-sponsored MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) concert. Korean pop stars Super Junior and Australian vocalist Kate Miller-Heidke headlined the concert, which was a free, ticketed event. Organizers report that the Hanoi concert drew approximately 40,000 people, making it the largest of the U.S.-supported MTV EXIT concerts in Asia to date. The MTV EXIT nationwide concert tour is designed to raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking, which adversely affects millions of people worldwide. Next stops are Ha Long Bay on April 3, Can Tho on April 10, and Ho Chi Minh City on April 17.

U.S. Ambassador Visits Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam

March 29, 2010
Ambassador Michalak and DAV President Dương Văn Quảng in a group photo with DAV students

Ambassador Michalak and DAV President Dương Văn Quảng in a group photo with DAV students

On March 29, Ambassador Michael Michalak visited the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) for a lively discussion with 100 DAV students on U.S.-Vietnam relations.  Hosted by DAV President, Ambassador Dương Văn Quảng, Ambassador Michalak noted that the U.S.-Vietnam relationship has grown rapidly on all fronts, from economics, trade, and education, to military, and humanitarian assistance.  The discussion covered a wide diversity of issues, bilateral and multi-lateral, through which Ambassador Michalak highlighted achievements during his three year term and expressed his optimism for the future of U.S.-Vietnam relations.

Ambassador Michalak Co-Chairs Health Partnership Group

March 30, 2010
Ambassador Michalak Co-Chairs the first Health Partnership Group meeting of 2010

Ambassador Michalak Co-Chairs the first Health Partnership Group meeting of 2010

On March 30, U.S. Ambassador Michael Michalak co-chaired 2010’s first meeting of the Health Partnership Group with Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu at the Ministry of Health in Hanoi. The group, now in its sixth year, has brought together donors, technical agencies, and non-governmental organizations to coordinate joint efforts with the Vietnamese government to advance health development. In his remarks, the Ambassador noted that approximately 75 percent of overall U.S. government assistance focuses on Vietnam’s approach to public health and that the U.S. is committed to assisting Vietnam strengthen its health systems capacity.

Signing Ceremony for Nuclear Energy Cooperation

March 30, 2010
Ambassador Michalak and Vice Minister Le Dinh Tien toast to the signing of the MOU for nuclear energy cooperation

Ambassador Michalak and Vice Minister Le Dinh Tien toast to the signing of the MOU for nuclear energy cooperation

On March 30, Ambassador Michael Michalak and Vice-Minister of Science and Technology Le Dinh Tien signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Government and the Government of Vietnam concerning cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. In his remarks at the ceremony which was held at the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ambassador Michalak stated that the MOU “is a key step in furtherance of our common non-proliferation goals, and a significant building block in the development of Vietnam’s peaceful, civilian nuclear power program.”  The Ambassador further commented that this agreement will facilitate the two nations’ cooperation and that he hopes Vietnam will one day become a model for countries seeking to develop civilian nuclear power.

Baseball Connect 2010: The Continuing Growth of Baseball in Vietnam

March 30, 2010
Coach Phil talks about the “little life lessons” one can learn from playing baseball

Coach Phil talks about the “little life lessons” one can learn from playing baseball

On March 30, Coach Phil Rognier, the Executive Director of FirstSwing Foundation, spoke at the American Center to 45 students. The lively and inspiring presentation updated the audience on the progress of the Baseball Connect program in Hanoi and shared some of the important life lessons that can be learned through the sport.  Sponsored by FirstSwing, Microsoft and Danaher Industries, the Baseball Connect program began in April 2009 and seeks to develop the sport of baseball in Vietnam by connecting the Vietnamese community, local and foreign businesses, and educational institutions in a cooperative effort to improve academic and physical education, and provide a fun and healthy outside sports activity.

U.S.-Vietnam Climate Change Working Group

March 31, 2010
Members of the U.S.-Vietnam Climate Change Working Group

Members of the U.S.-Vietnam Climate Change Working Group

On March 31-April 1, the United States-Vietnam Climate Change Working Group will conduct its first formal meeting in Hanoi. The two nations formed the working group during Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s 2008 visit to Washington D.C. Led by Dr. Gregory Smith, Director of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and Dr. Tran Thuc, Director General, Vietnam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment, participants include top climate scientists from both governments, along with representatives from civil society and the private sector. During the meeting, these experts will review areas of likely future cooperation, including forecasting, mapping, adaptation, and mitigation. This cooperation will build on existing climate change projects in Vietnam being carried out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and USAID.

International Ministerial Conference on Animal and Pandemic Influenza (IMCAPI) to be held in Hanoi, April 19-21

April 9, 2010

Several agencies and offices of the U.S. Embassy Hanoi including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are currently working in conjunction with the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and several other key international agencies in animal and human health, to finalize planning for the upcoming International Ministerial Conference on Animal and Pandemic Influenza scheduled for April 19-21 in Hanoi. IMCAPI Ha Noi 2010 is expected to set a new global milestone by providing a way forward on animal and pandemic influenza, and endorsing the need for further international collaboration to address emerging health threats arising at the interface between animals, humans and our changing environment. The conference is expected to bring together over  500 key stakeholders.

USAID Supports Anti-Trafficking in Persons Hotline: 04 37759327

April 1, 2010
A telephone operator takes calls on the USAID-sponsored anti-trafficking hotline in Hanoi. Photo: Richard Nyberg, USAID

A telephone operator takes calls on the USAID-sponsored anti-trafficking hotline in Hanoi. Photo: Richard Nyberg, USAID

USAID is funding a new hotline for persons to learn more about human trafficking and take steps to protect themselves. The Center for Studies and Applied Science in Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents, a local organization, will operate the number -- 04 3 775 93 27 -- through September 2011 under a program carried out in collaboration with the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP). The hotline number was featured on tickets and other promotional material in the MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) March-April 2010 public awareness campaign, also financed by USAID in the region. USAID has supported Vietnam's efforts to curb human trafficking since 2005. Please visit USAID homepage for more information.

When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can, Too:

April 6, 2010

World-renowned primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall urges the public to help reduce demand for products made from illegally hunted wildlife in the Public Service Announcement titled: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can, Too. Dr. Goodall emphasizes the power of consumer activism to influence the urgent cause that threatens the existence animals such as tigers, elephants, rhinos, and sharks as well as the health of humans.  Wildlife trafficking is a black market industry worth an estimated $10 billion a year. The U.S. State Department is a partner of the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT) that works in conjunction with conservation group WildAid, producers of this high profile PSA campaign.  For more information, please go to www.CAWTglobal.org.

Under Secretary Hormats Visits Foreign Trade University

April 12, 2010
Standing ovation for Under Secretary Robert Hormats at Foreign Trade University.

Standing ovation for Under Secretary Robert Hormats at Foreign Trade University.

On Monday, April 12, visiting Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, Robert Hormats spoke to Foreign Trade University students and faculty on U.S.-Vietnam relations in the new global economy.  Hosted and chaired by FTU President, Prof., Dr. Hoàng Vãn Châu, Under Secretary Hormats talked about the rapidly growing trade ties between the U.S. and Vietnam, and expressed his optimism about the future of  the two country’s relationship.  He also stressed the importance of free trade, increased transparency and intellectual property protection as the foundations for U.S.-Vietnam economic relations and Vietnam’s long term prosperity. To read Under Secretary Hormats’ speech at FTU click here

U.S. Embassy Hosts English Language Training Conference

April 10, 2010
English Language Training Conference session at the U.S. Embassy Hanoi.

English Language Training Conference session at the U.S. Embassy Hanoi.

On April 10, the U.S. Embassy hosted three concurrent conferences on Selected Topics in English Language Teaching for sixty Vietnamese English teachers from various universities in Hanoi and other northern provinces. Presentation topics at the conferences included Pronunciation, Teaching Young Learners, and Using Debate and Drama in the English Language Classroom. The conferences were conducted by the Embassy’s Senior English Language Fellow, Helen Huntley with assistance from an American Fulbright English Teaching Assistant from Hai Duong Teacher Training College. All the Vietnamese presenters were participants in previous ELT professional enhancement programs in Vietnam and abroad.

American Center Holds Book Club Web Chat

April 10, 2010
Participants at the American Center’s first web chat learn about the challenges of being an introvert in the workplace.

Participants at the American Center’s first web chat learn about the challenges of being an introvert in the workplace.

On April 10, 77 Book Club participants gathered at the American Center to watch the Center’s very first web chat. The web chat, which was shown on two screens due to an over capacity crowd, featured author Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D. discussing her book, “The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength”. Participants also joined the presentation on-line. Ms. Kahnweiler gave a PowerPoint presentation outlining some of the major points of her book and incorporated questions from the audience that had been sent to her prior to the event. After the web chat, an American Center intern led a lively discussion of the book and its main points.

Exploring American Poetry at the American Center

April 15, 2010
Writer and blogger Andy Engelson speaks to American Center patrons about American poetry.

Writer and blogger Andy Engelson speaks to American Center patrons about American poetry.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Andy Engelson, an American writer and blogger living in Hanoi, presented a program on poetry at the American Center. A group of 52 patrons attended the session on April 15 and received an introduction to American poetry and its history. Participants looked at and discussed examples of American poetry and then wrote their own poetry in English. One attendee admitted that it was the first poem that she had ever written in English. Participants also engaged Mr. Engelson on questions about his own writing and inspiration.

U.S. Commercial Service Supports U.S.-Vietnam Architecture and Construction Collaborations

April 15, 2010

On April 15, the U.S. Commercial Service organized a webinar presentation on Vietnam's architecture and construction markets for American architecture, construction and building technology companies. Principal Commercial Officer Jim Mayfield was joined by real estate firm CB Richard Ellis's Marc Townsend in presenting an overview on the market for construction and real estate development in Vietnam to an audience of 40 participants. Vietnam's growing economy and demand for new infrastructure is creating opportunities for American and Vietnamese firms to collaborate on planning and designing major building projects throughout the country. For more information on sector opportunities, including the American Pavilion at Viet Arc Expo June 3 – 6 in Ho Chi Minh City, please visit:  http://export.gov/vietnam/doingbusinessinvietnam/successstoriesinvietnam/index.asp

U.S.- Vietnam Information and Communications Technologies Commercial Dialogue Meeting

April 20, 2010

The Annual Working Group Meeting of the U.S. - Vietnam  Information and Communications Technologies Commercial Dialogue will take place in Hanoi from May 11 -13.  Sponsored by the U.S. Commercial Service and the Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications, Dialogue participants include Mary Saunders, the International Trade Administration's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services, the U.S. business delegation and members of the Vietnamese government and business community. If you are interested in participating in the U.S. business delegation, please RSVP Elizabeth Nightengale, Deputy Chairwoman of the Amcham Hanoi ITTI Committee at Elizabeth.Nightingale@bakermckenzie.com or for other questions concerning the event, contact Commercial Officer Brent Omdahl at Brent.Omdahl@mail.doc.gov.

Political Section Visit to Thach That District

April 16, 2010
Participants of the Parent Association seminar held at a local school in Thanh That District.

Participants of the Parent Association seminar held at a local school in Thanh That District.

On April 16, Political Officer Michael Orona, accompanied Catholic Relief Service Country Director Andrew Wells-Dung and Ms. Britton Buckner on a visit to Thach That District to take part in a Parent Association (PA) project site visit. During the visit, Mr. Orona met with parents, district officials, and school administrators while attending a PA training seminar. In the Thach That District, the Parent Association project is quickly becoming a model of community participation in which parents, administrators and local officials are active in developing strategies and sharing ideas in a cooperative effort to best to address their children’s educational needs.

Earth Day Event at the American Center

April 17, 2010
A participant in the American Center’s Earth Day Drawing Event creates a work of art about the environment.

A participant in the American Center’s Earth Day Drawing Event creates a work of art about the environment.

On April 17, a total of 86 participants attended the American Center’s Earth Day Drawing Event.  As the theme of this year’s Earth Day was Biodiversity, the event commenced with a presentation on biodiversity in Vietnam by U.S. Embassy Hanoi’s Environment, Science, Technology and Health Officer (ESTH), Andrew Herrup.  After the presentation, patrons choose to either create a drawing or watch a documentary film on the topic of sustainable energy called “The Big Energy Gamble”.  Those who created drawings received a beautiful 2010 Earth Day poster. Some of the works of art created that day were chosen be exhibited in the American Center. 

Vietnam Signs on to Nuclear Security Summit Communiqué

April 13, 2010
The first plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2010.

The first plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2010.

On April 12-13, Vietnamese Prime Minster Nguyen Tan Dung participated in the successful Nuclear Security Summit convened by President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. The Summit brought together the leaders of 47 nations to advance a common approach and commitment to nuclear security at the highest levels. President Barack Obama invited Vietnam to participate in the Summit due to Vietnam’s commitment to nuclear nonproliferation as well as its rising stature in regional and global affairs. At the conclusion of the two-day event, a Summit Communiqué, a high level political statement aimed at strengthening nuclear security and reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism, was signed by all participants including Prime Minister Dung. In addition to signing on to the Summit’s Communiqué and Work Plan, the Government of Vietnam made two additional commitments to support the Summit’s goals. The first was a commitment to convert a highly enriched uranium research reactor in Dalat, while the second was a commitment to join the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. President Obama, who initiated the global effort in a speech in Prague in April 2009, called the collective agreement “a testament to what is possible” in multilateral partnership.

Asst. Secretary Jones Visits Viet Duc High School on Earth Day

April 22, 2010
Assistant Secretary Jones chats with Viet Duc students after the Earth Day event.

Assistant Secretary Jones chats with Viet Duc students after the Earth Day event.

To mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs visited Viet Duc High School in Hanoi on April 22. During her visit to the school, Dr. Jones spoke with 120 students about the importance of the environment and biodiversity. She also participated in a tree planting ceremony and donated to the school, a collection of books on science, the environment, and English language learning. Earth Day, which is celebrated each year on April 22, is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. Although the event was first marked in the U.S. in 1970, Earth Day is now celebrated in many countries around the world annually. Dr. Jones’ event was widely covered by the local press.

Intellectual Property Talk at VNU’s School of Law

April 26, 2010
Adam Ross, Economics Officer, U.S. Embassy Hanoi poses with students of VNU’s Hanoi School of Law after a presentation on Intellectual Property

Adam Ross, Economics Officer, U.S. Embassy Hanoi poses with students of VNU’s Hanoi School of Law after a presentation on Intellectual Property

On the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day on April 26, U.S. Embassy Hanoi Economic Officer Adam Ross gave a presentation on Intellectual Property to 50 law lecturers and students at Vietnam National University’s Hanoi School of Law. Mr. Ross’s presentation provided these future Vietnamese legal professionals with a primer on intellectual property rights and stressed the importance of intellectual property protection to economic growth and social development. He also highlighted a bright future for Vietnamese legal professionals who might choose to specialize in intellectual property and fielded numerous questions from the audience.

CDC Signs Letter of Intent with Vietnamese Government

April 21, 2010
Dr. Bruce Gellin, Deputy Assistant Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development ‘s Acting Director General Luong The Phiet sign Letter of Intent regarding Research of Influenza Viruses and Other.

Dr. Bruce Gellin, Deputy Assistant Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development ‘s Acting Director General Luong The Phiet sign Letter of Intent regarding Research of Influenza Viruses and Other.

On April 21, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vietnam Influenza Program and the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) signed a Letter of Intent to establish new collaborative activities to identify and respond to gaps in the animal-human interface (AHI) of zoonotic diseases, and therefore help prevent the transmission of these diseases, including influenza, between humans and animals.  This new collaborative effort builds upon current CDC activities with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), initially established in 2005, such as national surveillance for influenza-like illnesses and research on health care burdens. The Letter of Intent was signed at the International Ministerial Conference for Animal and Pandemic Influenza (IMCAPI) conference held in Hanoi. One of the signatories of the LOI, Dr. Bruce G. Gellin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said of the document,” "We are very pleased that the cooperation and activities described in this Letter of Intent continue.  These efforts will enhance the existing collaborative efforts and partnerships between the United States and Vietnam."

The Letter of Intent (PDF, 24KB)

Press Release: United States and Vietnam to Strengthen Activities Related to Influenza and other Animal - Human Diseases

USDA Under Secretary Avalos's Remarks on the Letter of Intent (PDF, 12KB)

IMCAPI Conference Paves Way for More Collaborations

April 21, 2010
The United States' delegation to IMCAPI:(L to R) Assistant Secretary (Department of State) Jones, Under Secretary (USDA) Avalos, Deputy Assistant Secretary (HHS) Bruce Gellin.

The United States' delegation to IMCAPI:(L to R) Assistant Secretary (Department of State) Jones, Under Secretary (USDA) Avalos, Deputy Assistant Secretary (HHS) Bruce Gellin.

The International Ministerial Conference on Animal and Pandemic Influenza (IMCAPI) held in Hanoi April 19-21 drew more than 650 stakeholders from 70 different countries working in the areas of animal and human health. Participants gathered to seek further international collaboration to address emerging health threats arising at the interface between animals, humans and our changing environment. Conference organizers included the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) with the assistance and participation of several U.S. agencies including Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At the conference, a Letter of Intent (PDF, 24KB) was signed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vietnam Influenza Program and the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to establish new collaborative activities between the two countries to identify and respond to gaps in the animal-human interface (AHI) of zoonotic diseases.

USDA Under Secretary Avalos’ Opening Remarks at IMCAPI (PDF, 16 KB)

American Center Presentation a Primer on U.S. Government

April 27, 2010
Professor Muego presents the basic concepts related to the U.S. system of government to students at the American Center

Professor Muego presents the basic concepts related to the U.S. system of government to students at the American Center

On April 27, 65 young patrons gathered at the American Center to hear a presentation on U.S. government by visiting American professor, Benjamin Muego of Bowling Green University.  Professor Muego explained the basic tenets of the U.S. system of government, covering the three branches of government and presidential eligibility requirements. After the presentation,  several excellent questions from the audience showed a real understanding and interest in the subject matter.

Ambassador Joins Supreme People's Court Portal Launch

April 22, 2010
Ambassador Michalak and Chief Justice Dang Quang Phuong at the launching of the Supreme People’s Court web portal

Ambassador Michalak and Chief Justice Dang Quang Phuong at the launching of the Supreme People’s Court web portal

On April 22, U.S. Ambassador Michael Michalak joined the Supreme People’s Court in launching the first electronic portal for the Court: www.toaan.gov.vn. The establishment of the portal, supported in part by USAID, demonstrates the Supreme Court’s commitment to justice, transparency, and implementation of Vietnam’s Bilateral Trade Agreement and World Trade Organization commitments. It also highlights the fruitful cooperation between Vietnam and the United States in strengthening the judicial sector. Commending the Supreme Court for taking the lead in developing and using the portal, Ambassador Michalak noted that the portal is powered by fully licensed American technology (Oracle Portal) which has been customized to the needs of the Supreme Court. The online portal features all rules of procedures, a manual for judges and more than 240 cases submitted for SPC review and judgment between 2002 and 2006. In addition, the Supreme Court has taken advantage of the portal by making its draft laws and regulations available online for public comment.

Ambassador's Remark

AES Signs Long Term Power Purchase Agreement in Vietnam

April 22, 2010
The Signing Ceremony of Mông Dương 2 Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Project Contracts.

The Signing Ceremony of Mông Dương 2 Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Project Contracts.

On April 22, American power company, AES signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Electricity Vietnam (EVN), the state-owned power company, for Mong Duong II, a 1,200 MW coal-fired power plant.  In support of this agreement, AES VCM also entered into a supply agreement with Vinacomin, the state-owned coal and mineral company, to supply locally sourced fuel to the facility, which will be located in the Quang Ninh province. Both the PPA and fuel supply agreements are for a 25-year term. U.S. Ambassador Michalak attended the signing ceremony and noted that AES’1.8-billion-dollar investment demonstrates a long-term commitment to developing energy in Vietnam. In addition, he said “this project, which will add 1200 megawatts of power to Vietnam's electricity grid, represents another key addition to Vietnam's energy production and overall infrastructure.”

•  Ambassador Michalak's Remarks at the Signing Ceremony

•  AES's Press Release: AES Signs Long Term Purchase Commitments in Vietnam, Achieving Key Development Milestone for 1,200 MW Mong Duong II Coal Plant

Kick Off Meeting for USTDA/MARD Flood Project

April 6, 2010

On April 6th, the Flood Modeling and Early Warning Capacity Pilot Program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) held its kickoff meeting in Hanoi.

The 18-month project, begun in April 2010, aims to build human and technological capacity of the Disaster Management Center (DMC) to forecast flood events, assess their impacts, and disseminate warnings to disaster managers and civil authorities. The project area
includes Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue provinces. The project supports a long-term objective of building regional capacity for disaster management and hazard assessment in 7 coastal provinces of central Viet Nam.

The implementing partners for this project are the Department of Dyke Management, Flood and Storm Control (DDMFSC), Disaster Management Center (DMC), and the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) managed by the University of Hawaii. In Viet Nam, the PDC works in cooperation with the Water Resources University.

Press Release: USTDA Awards Grant to Vietnam for Flood Forecasting and Early Warning Project (PDF, 34.3KB)

Southwest Chamber Music Society in Hanoi for Cultural Exchange Program

March 19, 2010
Southwest Chamber Music Society harp master class at Vietnam National Academy of Music. (Photo: Southwest Chamber Music Society)

Southwest Chamber Music Society harp master class at Vietnam National Academy of Music. (Photo: Southwest Chamber Music Society)

From March 16-19, a group of 19 American artists from the Southwest Chamber Music Society visited Hanoi for an exchange program with the Vietnam National Academy of Music titled "Emerging Cultural Leaders: Ascending Dragon Cultural Exchange Program". The group’s activities in Hanoi included several cultural exchange residencies, master classes & open rehearsals, and a cultural leadership forum for local artists. On March 19th, the groups presented a joint public performance of newly-commissioned classical works by American and Vietnamese composers at the Hanoi Opera House. This cultural exchange program is part of the events celebrating the 15th anniversary of normalized relations between the U.S. and Vietnam.

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