Professor Vo Van Toi decided to return to Vietnam to bring his knowledge and skills to serve his home country’s development after more than 40 years living abroad.

“I had lived abroad for too long and I wanted to return home to devote myselves for the country and make my desire to help the development of the country come true,” Prof. Toi said.

Prof. Toi had a stable life in the US as an academic at Tufts University and Executive Director of the Vietnamese Education Foundation (VEF). His return to a country of many difficulties caused great surprises to his family, friends and colleagues.

“I don’t think so! I still see many golden chances for further development in Vietnam . I want to create an environment on my own, not wait to return when the environment is good,” Prof. Toi added.

After more than 40 years of living abroad, Prof. Vo Van Toi resigned from VEF and took an early retirement from Tufts University to come back to Vietnam to become the Head of the newly created Biomedical Engineering Department at the Ho Chi Minh City International University. He plans to create a magnet to attract the Vietnamese diaspora to help Vietnam in higher education.

With his prestige, Prof. Toi invited lecturers from major universities to come to Vietnam .

As the Executive Director of VEF in 2007, he contributed a great deal to help develop and reform the education system in Vietnam, especially with his initiative “On the Way Home”, a programme to sponsor Vietnamese students to study abroad and then return to work in Vietnam.

“I see the desire to work in those students, and I want to give them a platform to develop, and a desire to return to Vietnam,” Prof. Toi said.

His programme has provided scholarships to 300 students. So far, 30 PhD students have returned to work in Vietnam, while others have decided to return to work in Vietnam as soon as they finish their own studies.

“Vietnam has great demand for medical equipment, as well as the human resources to use the equipment,” Prof. Toi said.

He also expects that the production of “Made in Vietnam" medical equipment will soon become a reality.

Prior to his appointment at Tufts, Dr. Toi served as a post-doctoral fellow at the Biomedical Engineering Center in the Division of Health Sciences and Technology -- a combined program of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During his career at Tufts, while on sabbatical, he was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the US and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland.

He also helped create, and was vice-director of, the Eye Research Institute in Sion, Switzerland . Dr. Vo Van Toi dedicated his expertise to helping Vietnam by co-founding the Vietnamese North American University Professor (VNAUP) network; and also by creating the Biomedical Engineering Consortium of Vietnam-International Universities and the Vietnamese Association of Biomedical Engineering.

“My life in Vietnam is very comfortable. It’s a pity to live abroad so long,” Prof. Toi said more than one year after returning to his home country./.