My time at Columbia ended with a trip to Vietnam with a Columbia Delegation to help bring awareness to Columbia’s burgeoning Vietnam Studies program, led by Profs. Lien-Hang Nguyen and John Phan. We presented in Hanoi as well as Ho Chi Minh City to state officials, alumni, entrepreneurs, and youth about building a global-minded Vietnam Studies curriculum at Columbia. I had the very easy task of talking about how I conduct research at Columbia, and I can give it to you here in a nutshell: it has very little to do with burying myself behind books at the library (though Columbia does have a very extensive collection of works on Vietnam) but everything to do with being involved in the community, getting my students excited about Vietnamese history by incorporating research into my teaching, and working alongside experts of other regions beyond Vietnam.
In this new relationship with Columbia, Fulbright University Vietnam – my new home institution – will similarly think about Vietnam beyond its immediate boundaries and consider how such partnerships with universities around the world can broaden resources for research and teaching. Signing the MOU with Columbia is an important step for both institutions, and it was a great privilege to be the hinge for such a partnership. You can read more about the MOU here.