By Nguyen Lan Anh
Dr. Carlos Alberto Torres, UNESCO UCLA Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education, Co-Chairmen of Global Citizenship Education Network, along with Mr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Global Citizenship Education Network, and Chair of the International Advisory Committee of UNESCO-UCLA Chair in Global Citizenship Education, and Dr. Ana Elvira Steinbach, member of the Global Citizenship Education Network, visited Vietnam in late December 2016 and early 2017.
On December 21, 2016, Dr. Torres had an official meeting with President of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang. During the meeting, President Quang respectfully expressed his support for the deployment of the Global Citizenship Education program in Vietnam, and praised Dr. Torres for his dedication to global citizenship and education. According to the President, the Vietnamese government aims to develop sustainable and high-quality human resources in the country, making training and education important goals connected to strategic growth. In particular, global citizenship education will have a positive influence to help achieve these goals. President Tran Dai Quang believes that the Global Citizenship Education program organized within the UNESCO UCLA Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education will further promote the relationship between Vietnam and the United States. To honor the future collaboration with the Global Citizenship Education Network, President Tran Dai Quang presented Dr. Torres and the Global Citizenship Education Network with a ceramic Tran Dynasty blue dragon, a cultural gift with significant symbolic meaning.
On December 23, 2016, Dr. Torres and other delegates met with Minister of Education and Training, Phung Xuan Nha to discuss the implementation of the Global Citizenship Education program in Vietnam. During the two-hour meeting, Minister Phung Xuan Nha confirmed that the program’s content and objectives are consistent with the orientation of the Vietnamese government. At the same time, the program will help certify the Vietnamese people’s capability of working within the current era of globalization. Minister Phung Xuan Nha also proposed that Dr. Torres and the Global Citizenship Education Network should provide the Ministry of Education and Training a full range of content, data and criteria for this program. For better deployment of the program, the Minister tasked the Vietnam Institute of Educational Science and the Department of Higher Education to cooperate and integrate the Global Citizenship Education program’s content into the Vietnamese general education curriculum. During the meeting, Dr. Nguyen Minh Thuyet, a representative of the Vietnam Program and Textbook Editing Committee, also favored bringing the Global Citizenship Education program’s content into the Vietnamese general education curriculum, due to the current reorganization of the Vietnamese education system and content. However, it should be noted that implementation in reality will not be easy. There is a large gap between the social understanding of the majority of Vietnamese people and the connotations of the Global Citizenship Education Program.
In the afternoon of December 23, 2016, Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien from the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism and artist Thanh Ngoan, General Director of Vietnam Cheo Theater, joined the visiting delegation for a meeting. Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien looked forward to receiving support from the Global Citizenship Education program in educating Vietnamese artists to become Global Citizens as well as to introduce the noble value of Vietnamese culture to the Global Citizenship Education Network. Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien also presented to the Global Citizenship Education Network a gift representing Vietnamese culture, the Ngoc Lu kettledrum symbol.
On the morning of December 27, 2016, Hoa Sen Group Chairman Le Phuoc Vu organized a talk with Dr. Torres attended by over 400 youth leaders. During this lecture, Hoa Sen Group officials expressed their eagerness in receiving help and support from the Global Citizenship Education Network in training their employees to become global citizens.
In the afternoon, the delegation joined Dr. Huynh Thanh Dat, President of Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City in a meeting. This meeting was followed by Dr. Torres giving a lecture on global citizenship education to over 300 students from the university.
In the afternoon of December 28, 2016, The Governor of Le Duc Vinh Province, Governor Khanh Hoa, received Dr. Torres and the delegation in a meeting at the Governor’s Office. Governor Le Duc Vinh welcomed Dr. Torres and the delegation to Nha Trang, and confirmed the eagerness of the citizens of Nha Trang to become global citizens, based on the consistency of their traditions of academic excellence, humanity and values, with those of the Global Citizenship Education Network.
Dr. Torres’ lecture ended with an enthusiastic discussion with students. He was particularly impressed with an 11-year-old student for his hope to become a global citizen and his willingness to become a volunteer to promote the Global Citizenship Education Network.
After all the meetings, seminars, lectures and discussions that he had with the Vietnamese people, government officials, young leaders and students, Dr. Torres was impressed with the enthusiasm and determination for global citizenship education. He respects Vietnamese people for their resilience and bravery in preserving their independence and dignity throughout the nation’s history. He acknowledged Vietnam to be an altruistic, chivalrous nation with a long and rich history. Vietnam is an Asian country that has stood strong after many invasions. Vietnam still keeps its peace and continues to hold good relationships with it’s neighbors even when those countries caused pain and lost to Vietnamese people in the past. Vietnam is a country where the government willingly accepts its faults and agrees to change; where the government officials respect and listen to their people to make better changes. As a symbol of forgiveness, tolerance, and friendship for the world, Vietnam is a country that will be an excellent representative for the world’s global citizenship education.
Dr. Torres believes that the Global Citizenship Education program will be very suitable for Vietnam since this country is in the process of positive government-led economic reforms. Global Citizenship Education will become a general value that helps Vietnam in being more competitive among other countries. With its future success in economic and cultural development, Vietnam will contribute valuable lessons to the Global Citizenship Education program worldwide. As examples of countries that have transcended their past as rivals to join hands, U.S. and Vietnamese cooperation on global citizenship education is an important symbol for reconciliative spirits, and one factor among many that helps create a more peaceful and secure world.