A New Chapter in a Remarkable Story

Fulbright University Vietnam is a new venture, but it also represents the continuation of a long history of educational exchange between the United States and Vietnam, beginning with the launch of the Fulbright Exchange Program in 1991. Significant milestones in this remarkable story are presented in the timeline below. Other highlights include the establishment of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program in 1994 and the Vietnam Education Foundation in 2000. These initiatives were made possible by visionary leadership in both countries.

In the United States, bipartisan support in Congress and from administrations from both parties have been vital to sustaining and growing these endeavors and to making Fulbright University Vietnam a reality. In Vietnam, the government’s confidence in the FUV endeavor is reflected in the university’s unique level of operational autonomy and academic freedom.

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1991: Senators John Kerry and John McCain begin work to improve the relationship
The two senators lead a Senate select committee tasked with investigating POW/MIA issues.

1994: US ends embargo President Clinton abolishes 19-year economic embargo against Vietnam.

1995: US and Vietnam resume ties
President Clinton resumes formal diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Embassies opened in Hanoi and Washington.

1995: President George H. W. Bush visits Vietnam
President Bush visits as a private citizen.

1997: Internet Comes to Vietnam
The growth of the Internet in Vietnam is a story of successful public policies and entrepreneurism.

2000: Bilateral Trade Agreement signed
Trade and investment ties flourish. The US is a major investor in Vietnam; access to the US market helps spur private sector growth in Vietnam.

2006: President George W. Bush visits Vietnam
President Bush becomes the second president to visit Vietnam since 1975.

2009: Rapid growth of Vietnamese students in the US
According to the Institute of International Education, in 2009, more than 12,000 Vietnamese study in the US, placing Vietnam among the top ten countries of origin for international students in the US. In 2016, IIE reports that there were more than 21,000 Vietnamese students in the US.

2009: Intel announces $1 billion investment in Ho Chi Minh City
Intel selects Vietnam as site of its largest chip assembly and testing facility.

2010: USS John McCain visits Danang
Expanding military-to-military ties heralds broadening of the bilateral relationship.

2015: 30 Million Vietnamese on Facebook
Thanks to significant government investment and competition, Vietnam is among the most wired developing countries.

2016: President Barack Obama visits Vietnam
President Obama receives enthusiastic welcome during trip to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City; meets with national leadership, entrepreneurs, and young leaders.


1989: Harvard scholars engage with Vietnam
The Harvard Institute for International Development starts the Harvard Vietnam Program, initiating policy research and dialog activities with Vietnam.

1991: Fulbright Scholarship Program established
Thanks to the efforts of Senators John Kerry, John McCain, Bob Kerrey and other Vietnam-era veterans, Congress allocates $300,000 to create the Fulbright scholarship program. Today Fulbrighters are leaders across Vietnamese society, from the Politburo to the private and nonprofit sectors.

1994: Fulbright Economics Teaching Program established
FETP is a partnership between the Harvard Vietnam Program and the University of Economics of Ho Chi Minh City.

2000: Vietnam Education Foundation launched
Congress establishes VEF to award scholarships for Vietnamese to pursue advanced degrees in STEM fields. Over fifteen years, VEF awards nearly 600 fellowships.

2008: FETP establishes Masters in Public Policy Program
FETP’s MPP program is the first in Vietnam, blending research-based case studies with international and comparative perspectives.

2012: Trust for University Innovation in Vietnam incorporated
TUIV convenes stakeholder dialog aimed at charting the future of the Harvard-managed FETP, out of which the FUV concept emerges.

2013: FUV highlighted by US-Vietnam leadership
Presidents Obama and Sang signal support for FUV in joint statement.

2014: Congressional support for FUV
Congress allocates $17.5 million remaining in the Vietnam Debt Repayment Fund to institutional innovation in Vietnam.

July 2015: Land granted to FUV
During General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s historic visit to the United States, Ho Chi Minh City grants 15 hectares of land to FUV project.

August 2015: Online Discussion of FUV
Secretary of State John Kerry, FUV president Dam Bich Thuy, and US ambassador Ted Osius participate in an online roundtable about education and FUV. More than one million people follow live on the Internet.

October 2015: FUV founding leadership announced
TUIV board of directors appoints Dam Bich Thuy founding president of FUV and Senator Bob Kerrey founding chairman.

May 2016: License granted to FUV
Following President Obama’s announcement, the Vietnamese government awards FUV its establishment license, at a ceremony witnessed by Secretary Kerry and the Ho Chi Minh City leadership.

June 2016: FUV opens project office
FUV president Da Bich Thuy opens FUV’s project office in the Bitexco Tower in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

September 2016: Fulbright Economics Teaching Program transfers to FUV
FUV assumes responsibility for FETP’s people and programs, which become the nucleus of FUV’s inaugural academic unit, the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management

2017: Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management admits first masters (projected)
An expanded public policy program aimed at the next generation of Vietnamese public sector leaders and innovators is launched.

2018: First undergraduates admitted (projected)
FUV will offer an undergraduate program in engineering and the liberal arts and sciences.

© 2017. Trust for University Innovation in Vietnam.