His passion for promoting civic engagement among youth led him to participate in the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Professional Fellows Program, where he travelled to Missoula, Montana to study NGO development and civil society at the University of Montana.
Upon returning to Vietnam, Viet revamped the curriculum of the “Dream & Do School Vietnam” to bring students outside the classroom to focus on environmental education and leadership. This new program has taught over 5,000 elementary students about nature conservation and sustainability, helping young people develop the tools they need to be environmental stewards.
By tapping into the YSEALI network and exchange alumni community in Vietnam, Viet has been able to significantly expand his efforts. This year, he is bringing together other YSEALI fellows to serve as mentors and facilitators for youth leadership camps. At the camps, his new conservation curriculum will reach 400 elementary and high school students in different regions of Vietnam.
Viet’s influence and leadership does not end at Vietnam’s border, as he sees the importance of investing in all of ASEAN’s youth. In 2018, he served as a mentor and a speaker at the YSEALI Marine Debris Expedition in Jakarta. Additionally, he has been working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on several projects. Recently, he participated in the “Empowering Youths Across ASEAN” program, which highlights the importance of youth and community building across all ASEAN countries.
Viet had the honor of representing the YSEALI program and the exchange alumni community when he spoke to a delegation of U.S. senators during a reception at the Chief of Mission’s Residence in Hanoi. He described the YSEALI program as a life-changing experience for himself and for many Vietnamese youth. Viet explains why the YSEALI program impacted his life so deeply: “YSEALI programs are not only a forum for young people in Southeast Asia, it also shows the trust and commitment of the U.S. government to young people in the area. It inspires me to keep believing in the power of future generations in my country.”
Each month, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Office of Alumni Affairs recognizes one outstanding alumnus or alumna. Congratulations to Viet on being named May 2019’s Exchange Alumni Member of the Month! We look forward to seeing what Viet will do next.