Secretary Kerry highlights the role of education and exchanges for U.S.-Vietnam relations

On a trip to Vietnam last week, Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the importance of educational partnerships between the U.S. and Vietnam, and the role exchanges have played in the transformation of U.S.-Vietnamese relations.

During remarks delivered in Hanoi on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between the two countries, Secretary Kerry noted:

"Our citizens are getting to know each other better through student exchanges, business deals, tourism, family ties … Twenty years ago, there were fewer than 60,000 annual American visitors to Vietnam. Today, there are nearly half a million. Twenty years ago, there were fewer than 800 Vietnamese students studying in the United States. Today, there are 17,000. … These aren’t just statistics. They are a measure of one of the most remarkable transformations in history."

Speaking about the importance of education, Kerry further commented on the necessity for graduates to gain the skills they need “to succeed in today’s global economy.” One way to do so “is to create partnerships between top academic institutions,” Kerry said, listing a number of ongoing and planned partnerships between U.S. and Vietnamese institutions:

"The Institute of International Education has sponsored a series of partnerships between U.S. universities and Vietnam. The University of Hawaii offers an Executive MBA program that is accredited in the United States and in Vietnam. And … we’re moving ahead with the founding of Fulbright University in Ho Chi Minh City …"

At a Fulbright University Vietnam Youth Event that included 100 YSEALI students, Kerry further discussed the future and possibilities of the non-profit institution that will be associated with Harvard University. Expressing his excitement about the future of Fulbright University Vietnam Kerry underlined his and the Obama administration’s commitment to the Fulbright program:

"And what an exciting journey the Fulbright Program is on and the possibilities of the Fulbright University are just extraordinary. We’re very, very committed to it, and I will do everything I can to help … make this a reality."

"Fulbright University will be an incredible asset to Vietnam, because with academic freedom and with the energy and association with Harvard and all of the things that will come from it, they’ll be just a great asset for this country to take its education levels to an even higher level."