In 2008, VGAC – The Australian Alumni in Vietnam organised the first Australian Alumni Awards successfully in HCMC. The second one was held in 2011 in Hanoi. Mr. Nguyen Van Duyen, who won the 2011 Australian Alumni Award for Sustainable Social Development said that: “I am very proud of the Award, it gives me great encouragement for my career as sustainable development is the key for our future, where the economic development should be balanced with environment protection and benefit for all people. Surely, Australian education is essential for my work as regional environmental management specialist.”
Ms. Trish Franklin, who won the 2011 Australian Alumni Award for Friendship shared that: “I received the Australian Alumni Award for Friendship – granted by VGAC. It was a great honor to be given this award and to be affiliated with an exceptional body of graduates who have studied in Australia. They are to be particularly respected and admired for their academic achievements and their return to Vietnam after graduation – with the vision of making dynamic contributions to many sectors of growth within Vietnam. I am also ever grateful for VGAC’s recognition of those within Vietnam who have made altruistic outreaches and who compliment the whole of society.”
Following the success of the previous Australian Alumni Awards, VGAC hosted the 2014 Australian Alumni Awards Ceremony, which was supported by Australian Government, on 8th November 2014 in HCMC. The ceremony honoured outstanding alumni of Australian universities and colleges who have made major contributions to Vietnam in fields such as education, arts and culture, innovation and research, business, and sustainable social development.
H.E. Hugh Borrowman: “I want to acknowledge the close and enduring bonds that Australia shares with Vietnam. From my vantage point as Ambassador, our bi-lateral relationship is in good shape. Education is one of the cornerstones of our relationship with in excess of 40,000 alumni from Australian institutions in Vietnam.
The development of human capital is a key feature of Australia’s engagement in Vietnam. For example, much of our development assistance (and we are Vietnam’s sixth largest donor) is designed to develop human capital.
The contributions nominees have made to the social and economic development of Vietnam since graduating were all remarkable. While the Australian Alumni Awards can only commend one person in each category, I want to recognise all nominees and finalists. Their achievements are a testament to their abilities and, I’d like to think that their Australian education played a role in helping them reach their potential.”
Below is a full list of awardees in 2014.
Mr. Le Van Phong, a University of Queensland alumnus, won the Special Award for Outstanding Achievement. He is currently the Project Manager of Children of Vietnam, focusing on helping disadvantaged children and their family in Da Nang and Quang Nam province. This project receives great attention from both the government of Vietnam and donors elsewhere as it bases its operation on principles and methodologies of community development through case management model and an emphasis in a public and private partnership. His current contributions play a big role for social sustainable development of Vietnam, particularly for the well-being of disadvantaged people.
Ms. Ho Tran Da Thao, an Douglas Mawson Institute of Technology (TAFE SA) alumnus, was awarded the Australian Alumni Award for Media, Culture and Arts. She is currently the Founder and Creative Director of Tsafari Label – her Love of Culture and History always brings the identity and meaningful stories into her TSAFARI artworks which she aims to preserve Vietnamese hand-made techniques and traditional culture by ensuring a sustainable work for rural women and presenting Vietnam on the world fashion stage. She received Mercedes-Benz Asia Fashion Award 2004 and International Young Fashion Entrepreneur Award 2008.
Ms Thuong Nguyen Sobey, an alumnus from the University of Technology, Sydney was awarded the Australian Alumni Award for Sustainable Social Development. Being diagnosed by advance breast cancer, despite despair and fear, the disease led Thuong to seek information about breast cancer and found the Breast Cancer Network Vietnam (BCNV) in 2013, which improves the quality of life for hundreds of women affected by breast cancer and educating breast cancer awareness to communities in Vietnam. She also awarded for Outstanding Achievements in Community Development Work by Hanoi Women Union.
Mr. Vo Hung Tien, graduated a Master of Accounting from the Swinburne University of Technology. He won the Australian Alumni Award for Business Leadership, sponsored by Eden Saigon Hotel. He is the Board Chairman and General Director of A&C Auditing and Consulting Co., Ltd and was awarded the Certificate of Merit from the Prime Minister of Vietnam in 2014. With many years of working experiences in the fields of finance and accounting, he has directly managed the works of auditing and consultancy on finance, accounting and tax for State-owned companies, joint stock companies, foreign-invested capital companies, operating in various industries as well as for the projects financed by foreign organisations in Vietnam.
Dr. Tran Thi Tuyet, an alumnus from La Trobe University, won the Australian Alumni Award for Research and Innovation. She is currently working as the Director of Language Education and Quality Assurance Research Center, ULIS, Vietnam National University, Hanoi. She has produced extensive academic publications over the past few years and received Certificate of Excellent from the President of Vietnam National University, Hanoi for outstanding achievement in Scientific Research in 2014. Upon her return to Vietnam, she has shared her research skills with other colleagues and made significant contributions to the National Foreign Languages Project 2020 of Vietnam.
Dr. Nguyen Xuan Trach, an alumnus from the University of New England, won the Australian Alumni Award for Education, sponsored by the University of Queensland. In the role as the Vice President for International Affairs, Quality Assurance, PhD training, Vietnam National University of Agriculture, he has overseen many collaborative projects between VNUA and international partners which enhance the university’s teaching and research as well as national development, particularly in the agricultural sector. His extensive work experience to date has led him to his current position of executive responsibility at the VNUA, where he is able to influence the education of both Vietnamese nationals as well as international students, particularly as a driver for animal welfare teaching in Vietnam.
Mr. To Xuan Vu, a Curtin University alumnus, won the Outstanding Young Australian Alumni Award, sponsored by Curtin University. He is the Producer and Director of Documentary series for Vietnamese National TV Station, HTV9 & HTV7. At his young age, he has produced series of documentaries which allowed Vietnamese audience an insight into the people, the education, culture, society, history and the scenic vistas of Australia.
Mr. Alistair Briscombe graduated from the University of Newcastle and won the Friendship Award, which was decided after considering the significant and long-lasting contribution that he has made to the Australia – Vietnam bilateral relationship. Being a HIV and Human Trafficking Specialist in Central Mekong Delta Connectivity Project, CDM Smith, he has contributed to the understanding of health issues in Vietnam through his research work including one focusing on the elimination of Dengue via community programs in Central Vietnam and the second on improved methods for data collection for public health purposes in Vietnam.
The ceremony was attended by senior Vietnamese and Australian officials including the Senior Trade Commissioner, business’ and universities’ representatives from Vietnam and Australia, and hundreds of Australian alumni.