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VEF 2.0 helps over 100 young Vietnamese study for doctorates in the US

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A program that helps hundreds of young Vietnamese become postgraduates at prestigious schools in the US has been successful because of assistance from former doctoral students and scholarships granted abroad.

VEF 2.0 helps over 100 young Vietnamese study for doctorates in the US

Nguyen Tien Cuong, the founder of VEF 2.0 Program, said the program is so successful because of the connection among Vietnamese students who studied or are now studying in the US. In different ways, they try to make contributions to the country’s development. Cuong talks about the program in the following interview:

The ‘two-no’ program

For many Vietnamese postgraduates who went to the US 20 years ago, VEF (Vietnam Education Foundation) was a priceless time in their life. Is that the reason why your program is called VEF2.0?

After 14 years of operation, VEF helped nearly 600 Vietnamese citizens pursue postgraduate studies (mostly for doctorates) and nearly 60 citizens pursue postdoc studies at leading schools in the US.

VEF ended its mission in Vietnam after 14 years of operation in 2016 and it closed in the US in 2018. At that time, VEF alumni, doctoral students and scholars and I were concerned about how to continue to help young Vietnamese obtain opportunities for graduate studies in the US.

And that was why VEF 2.0 was established. This both means the next version of VEF, and means a ‘two-no program’ – no government scholarships and no binding commitments, i.e., a program implemented entirely on a voluntary basis, self-sustaining by the network’s members.

At the establishment, we hoped that we could help bring 5-6 people to the US each year. However, the figures are higher – 22 people in 2021 and 30 in 2022. We have helped more than 100 people gain graduate study (more than 95 percent at the doctoral level) at prestigious universities in the US, including MIT, Stanford University, Cornell University, University of California at Berkeley and Georgia Tech.

What is the difference then?

It is the large and prestigious network built under the previous VEF program (2003-2016). Universities in the US are familiar with the strict selection process carried out by VEF, as well as the virtues and qualifications of Vietnamese students. Therefore, when we implemented VEF2.0, with improvements, we got support from the schools.

Rice University even waived application fees for all the candidates introduced by VEF 2.0, which shows high confidence in the quality of our selection process.

Another point that makes a difference is that candidates who pass the interview round of VEF 2.0 will be helped by at least one predecessor (who is or has studied in the same or close industry) in editing and completing their profile as well as answering their questions.

For example, there are some friends who have high capability and good CVs but did not succeed. With the support of VEF2.0, they finally successfully enrolled in the prestigious schools they wanted.

How does VEF 2.0 help Vietnamese from the preparation for application to the day of arriving in the US?

It is a very thorny path from the day of application to the day of fulfilling the doctoral study. Money doesn’t have much significance because in general the schools in the US pay all expenses, and most students understand that they will be ‘poor’ or can only cover their basic needs during doctoral study.

Young people contact VEF 2.0 to seek help in the most important period of the application. The year before making the application is the time when they have many questions and many things to prepare. Most of them are confused with so much information on the internet. Besides, they may feel lonely.

VEF 2.0 can help with not just the letter of introduction, but also with encouragement and support from predecessors and connections with like-minded people.

Before young people begin their path, VEF 2.0 organizes an orientation period, called pre-departure orientation (PDO), which aims to prepare them with necessary knowledge, including academic knowledge and knowledge about life in the US.

When they come to the US, we also organize an annual conference for them to meet and exchange information with panel speakers on many different topics.

Studying abroad is no longer something unusual. However, there are worries that students won’t return to Vietnam after they finish studying, and the brain drain remains a hot topic of discussion. What do you think about that?

Every year, we have many students who study abroad on scholarships that they have found themselves. They don’t have any commitments and don’t have to return to Vietnam after graduation, but I believe they want to make a contribution to the country’s development.

VEF 2.0 is keeping the link between young people and the country. Through the VEF 2.0 network and personal relations, they give support to students at schools where they studied before, or the labs where they worked before. This support is really precious and is the beginning for more support in the future. 

Lan Anh

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/vef-2-0-helps-over-100-young-vietnamese-study-for-doctorates-in-the-us-824434.html

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Typhoon Noru weakens after wreaking havoc in central Vietnam

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Typhoon Noru weakened on Wednesday morning after making landfall and wreaking havoc in central Vietnam, while heavy downpours are still in the forecast over the next few days.

The typhoon made landfall between Da Nang City and Quang Nam Province at around 3:30 am on Wednesday, unleashing winds of 103-133km per hour, according to the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting.

At 7:00 am the same day, the wind speed decreased to between 62 and 74km an hour.

A restaurant is damaged in Da Nang City, Vietnam following the landfall of Typhoon Noru, September 28, 2022. Photo: Le Trung / Tien Phong

A restaurant is damaged in Da Nang City, Vietnam following the landfall of Typhoon Noru, September 28, 2022. Photo: Le Trung / Tien Phong

The storm is expected to travel west in the next 12 hours and be downgraded to a tropical depression and later a low-pressure area.

Due to the influence of the storm, provinces in central Vietnam and the northern part of the Central Highlands recorded massive rainfall of about 200-300 millimeters on Tuesday night.

More downpours are forecast for these localities on Wednesday and Thursday, posing a high risk of flash floods and landslides in mountainous areas as well as serious flooding in low-lying locations.

People fix power lines in central Vietnam following the landfall of Typhoon Noru, September 28, 2022. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tien Phong

People fix power lines in central Vietnam following the landfall of Typhoon Noru, September 28, 2022. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tien Phong

On Wednesday morning, scores of uprooted trees were recorded in Da Nang, according to the observations of Tien Phong (Youth) newspaper reporters.

Many roofs of houses were also seen lying on the streets.

Some residents began cleaning up areas around their homes even though the city was still affected by strong winds.

Officers remove an uprooted tree from a street in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: B.D. / Tien Phong

Officers remove an uprooted tree from a street in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: B.D. / Tien Phong

In Quang Nam, residents also reported uprooted trees and blown-away roofs following the landfall of Noru.

Multiple houses were submerged as serious floods hit the province’s Phu Ninh and Tay Giang Districts.

In north-central Quang Tri Province, nearly 1,400 people in Vinh O Commune were isolated after a bridge was swept away by floodwaters.

Officers remove an uprooted tree from a street in Da Nang City, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tien Phong

Officers remove an uprooted tree from a street in Da Nang City, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tien Phong

Authorities in north-central Thua Thien-Hue Province reported that more than 70 houses had their roofs blown away and eight others collapsed during the storm.

Noru and its circulation affected the power supply to about 1.2 million households in the central and Central Highlands regions, according to Vietnam Electricity (EVN).

Fishermen check their boats following the landfall of Typhoon Noru, September 28, 2022. Photo: Truong Trung / Tien Phong

Fishermen check their boats following the landfall of Typhoon Noru, September 28, 2022. Photo: Truong Trung / Tien Phong

A utility pole is broken due to strong gusts in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: B.D. / Tien Phong

A utility pole is broken due to strong gusts in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: B.D. / Tien Phong

A neighborhood is flooded in Phu Ninh District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: Le Trung / Tien Phong

A neighborhood is flooded in Phu Ninh District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: Le Trung / Tien Phong

A neighborhood is flooded in Phu Ninh District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: Le Trung / Tien Phong

A neighborhood is flooded in Phu Ninh District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: Le Trung / Tien Phong

A house is submerged in Tay Giang District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: P.L. / Tien Phong

A house is submerged in Tay Giang District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: P.L. / Tien Phong

A house has its roof blown away in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: Van Linh / Tien Phong

A house has its roof blown away in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: Van Linh / Tien Phong

A house has its roof blown away in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: Van Linh / Tien Phong

A house has its roof blown away in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, September 28, 2022. Photo: Van Linh / Tien Phong

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220928/typhoon-noru-weakens-after-wreaking-havoc-in-central-vietnam/69294.html

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Concurrence of rain, high tide causes misery on Ho Chi Minh City streets

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A rainstorm triggered by the circulation of Typhoon Noru coincided with high tide peaking on the Saigon River on Tuesday afternoon, submerging roads and stalling vehicles in Ho Chi Minh City.

The water level in canals across Ho Chi Minh City began to rise and flow into the streets at around 5:00 pm.

As a result, several streets in low-lying District 7 such as Tran Xuan Soan and Huynh Tan Phat were dozens of centimeters below water, impeding traffic.

An alley down Huynh Tan Phat Street is submerged under floodwaters in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, September 27, 2022. Photo: Tien Phong

An alley down Huynh Tan Phat Street is submerged under floodwaters in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, September 27, 2022. Photo: Tien Phong

Many commuters tried to wade through the inundated routes, while several others ended up with broken-down vehicles.

Local vendors also struggled as floodwaters submerged their stalls.

A woman displays her food stall on a flooded alley down Huynh Tan Phat Street in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, September 27, 2022. Photo: Tien Phong

A woman displays her food stall on a flooded alley down Huynh Tan Phat Street in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, September 27, 2022. Photo: Tien Phong

“This road has been flooded every tidal season for more than ten years,” said Le Thi Ly, a 56-year-old resident of Huynh Tan Phat Street.

“Every time floodwaters flow into our houses, we have no choice but to move furniture to higher positions to avoid damage. 

Floodwaters inundate a residence in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, September 27, 2022. Photo: Tien Phong

Floodwaters inundate a residence in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, September 27, 2022. Photo: Tien Phong

“I hope the local tidal sluice project will soon be operating so that we will be less miserable every high tide season.”

Ly, like many other local residents, had to use boards to keep water out of her house.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220928/concurrence-of-rain-high-tide-causes-misery-on-ho-chi-minh-city-streets/69293.html

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Vietnamese deputy foreign minister expelled from Party

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Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung was expelled from the Party following his arrest over the allegations of receiving bribes during the organization of repatriation flights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong chaired a meeting of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat on Tuesday to consider the disciplinary actions against Deputy Minister Dung and Nguyen Quang Linh, assistant to the permanent deputy prime minister.

The Secretariat stated that Dung lacked responsibility and violated the Party’s regulations and state’s laws in directing and organizing repatriation flights for Vietnamese citizens abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deputy minister was also investigated and arrested on suspicion of bribery.

Meanwhile, Linh took advantage of his position, compromised working principles, and violated the Party’s regulations and the state’s laws during the selection of enterprises to organize repatriation flights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Linh was apprehended later the same day on suspicion of receiving bribes during the organization of repatriation flights.

Nguyen Quang Linh, assistant of the permanent deputy prime minister, in this photo provided by officers

Nguyen Quang Linh, assistant to the permanent deputy prime minister, is seen in this photo provided by officers

The violations of Dung and Linh resulted in serious consequences and adversely affected the reputation of the Party organization.

The Secretariat thus decided to expel both Dung and Linh from the Party.

The arrests of Dung and Linh were part of a wider investigation where officials were accused of taking bribes from Vietnamese citizens abroad who wanted to return to the country when commercial flights were not available during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the Ministry of Public Security launched an investigation into the case in late January, a score have been prosecuted and detained, including many officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Transport, and former leaders and officials of the Immigration Department.

During a press meeting in June, investigators stated that the bribes were worth tens of billions of dong. (VND10 billion = US$421,100). 

Vietnam organized nearly 2,000 repatriation flights during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Public Security.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220928/vietnamese-deputy-foreign-minister-expelled-from-party/69291.html

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