Columbia University: Vietnamese President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc Gifts Inscribed 15-Volume History of Vietnam to Columbia

In a formal gathering on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Vietnamese President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc presented an inscribed complete set of Lịch Sử Việt Nam (History of Viet Nam), a significant recent study of the nation’s history, to faculty of Columbia University. In remarks during the ceremony on September 22, 2021, at the Vietnam Permanent Mission to the U.N., President Phúc acknowledged the contributions of the Vietnamese Studies program at Columbia for promoting greater understanding between Vietnam and the United States.

This ceremony was part of President Phúc’s goodwill mission to recognize the contributions of the Vietnamese-American community, including those at Columbia University, for promoting greater awareness of Vietnam, for the outpouring of assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for strengthening relations between the two countries.

Receiving the gift on behalf of Columbia, Liên-Hằng Nguyễn, Vietnamese studies initiative co-founder and Dorothy Borg Associate Professor in the History of the United States and East Asia, highlighted the program’s incredible success to date in educating students and shaping the wider field of Vietnamese studies. Professor Nguyễn said that their job is not complete and emphasized the need to raise funds to establish a research center focused on scholarship on Vietnam at the university. Also representing Columbia at the ceremony were John Phan, assistant professor in the department of East Asian languages and cultures; as well as distinguished language instructors Phuong Chung Nguyen and Vinh Nguyen.

The exchange followed a series of successful events underscoring Columbia’s growing reputation as a destination for scholarship on Vietnam, including a discussion on “Trauma and Memory in Vietnamese America” that attracted the attendance of more than 700 online participants. Since its inception, the Vietnamese studies initiative has brought together students and scholars through academic programming, events, and workshops.

While Vietnam studies in the U.S. have historically focused on the Vietnam War and its repercussions, Columbia’s program seeks to foster deeper understanding of the language, culture, and history of Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora, and puts into context the country’s strategic position as a cultural and geopolitical bridge between East and Southeast Asia.