Colombia University promotes Vietnamese studies programme hinh anh 1Columbia University is one of the eight“Ivy League” schools in the US. (Source:
New York (VNA) – Columbia University, one of the eight “Ivy League” schools in the US, has opened a Vietnamese studies programme aimed at helping young people not only from the United States but from around the world learn more about Vietnam.

It was initiated by Vietnamese-American professors Lien Hang Nguyen and John Phan.

Their idea for the programme stemmed from the fact that knowledge of Vietnam among many Americans is still associated with the war, although it ended nearly 50 years ago.

Lien Hang Nguyen, director of the programme, told Vietnam News Agency that the idea came to her in 2017 when she was invited to teach history, mainly history of America and East Asia, at Columbia University. At that time, she focused mainly on the war in Vietnam and its foreign relations with other countries after the war, while John Phan, her colleague at the Department of Culture and Language East Asia, specialised in the study of the pre-modern history of Vietnam, specifically the origin and development of the Vietnamese language. Their idea subsequently received the support of Columbia University, and they started to build a curriculum they jointly teach.

Colombia University promotes Vietnamese studies programme hinh anh 2Professor Lien Hang Nguyen (left) grants an interview to Vietnam News Agency. (Photo: VNA)
According to Lien Hang Nguyen, the programme includes both undergraduate and graduate courses on Vietnamese studies, including Vietnamese history and seminars on Vietnam, especially in the fields of language and culture. The courses stand out compared to studies on Vietnam offered at other top US universities.

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lien Hang Nguyen and her colleagues succeeded in holding two international conferences in 2019. The programme was canceled in 2020 but they still held webinars and other activities for students and those who were interested in Vietnamese studies.

This helped ensure that studies were sustained through those difficult times.

During his visit to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc acknowledged the contribution of Lien Hang Nguyen and her colleagues in promoting an understanding of Vietnam in the US.

The meeting with President Phuc prompted Lien Hang Nguyen and her colleagues to expand the programme. They have decided to return to Vietnam at the end of July this year to organise two seminars, one in Hanoi and the other in Ho Chi Minh City, in order to spread the word about the programme./.