Columbia Faculty and Lecturers meet with Vietnam President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc

September 30, 2021

Vietnamese President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc Gifts Inscribed 15-Volume History of Vietnam to Columbia (Photo by Thong Nhat for TTXVN)

In a formal gathering on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Vietnamese President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc presented an inscribed a complete set of Lịch Sử Việt Nam [History of Viet Nam], a significant recent study of the nation’s history, to faculty of Columbia University. In remarks during the ceremony, which took place on September 22, 2021 at the Vietnam Permanent Mission to the UN, President Phúc recognized the contributions of the Vietnamese Studies at Columbia for promoting greater understanding between Vietnam and the United States. This recognition was part of President Phúc’s goodwill mission that recognized the contributions of the Vietnamese-American community, including Columbia, for promoting greater awareness of Vietnam, for the outpouring of assistance during COVID, and for strengthening relations between the two countries.

Receiving the gift on behalf of Columbia, Vietnamese Studies cofounder and Dorothy Borg Associate Professor in the History of the United States and East Asia Lien-Hang Nguyen highlighted the initiative’s incredible success to date in educating students and shaping the wider field of Vietnamese studies. Professor Nguyen concluded, though, that their job is not complete and emphasized the need to raise funds for a Center for Vietnamese Studies at Columbia. Also representing Columbia at the ceremony were John Phan, Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures; as well as distinguished language instructors Phuong Chung Nguyen and Vinh Nguyen.

The exchange follows a series of successful events underscoring Columbia’s growing reputation as a destination for scholarship on Vietnam, including a discussion on “Trauma and Memory in Vietnamese America” that attracted the attendance of more than 700 online participants. Since its inception, the Vietnamese Studies initiative has brought together students and scholars through academic programming, events, and workshops. While Vietnam studies in the US have historically focused on the Vietnam War and its repercussions, Columbia’s initiative seeks to foster deeper understanding of the language, culture, and history of Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora, and puts into context the country’s strategic position as a cultural and geopolitical bridge between East and Southeast Asia. Read more about Columbia’s Vietnamese Studies initiative here.

A Vietnam Plus article about the event (in Vietnamese) is available here. Watch Vietnam TV’s coverage of the event (in Vietnamese) here.