Sunday, November 8, 2009

From Liberation Struggle to University Presidency in Vietnam

Dr. Bui Tran Phuong at UCI's Langson Library. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang 2009.

Updated with audio link: To listen to our interview with Dr. Phuong, click here: .

On the 9 November 2009 edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, we talk with a university president from Vietnam. Dr. Bui Tran Phuong is president of Hoa Sen University in Ho Chi Minh City and she has an interesting story to tell, one that is rarely heard publicly in Orange County, California.

When she was ten, his father, who was in the Viet Minh resistance movement, was arrested with her by the south Vietnamese police under then-Pres. Ngo Dinh Diem. She was released after a day, but her father spent several years in prison, enduring torture.

Thus began her political awakening, that brought her to Paris where she
joined in distributing agitprop resisting both the south Vietnamese
government and U.S. invaders to her homeland, from the political active and (at the time) leftist Vietnamese diaspora abroad. After graduating from Sorbonne, she returned to Saigon and took part in the liberation movement.

Today she is a university president and grappling with the challenge of improving higher education in Vietnam. In an era of globalization, at her university, juniors and seniors will soon be offered the choice to be taught in English. But her enduring passion remains history; she is hoping to organize an international network of scholars interested in women and war.

Dr. Phuong visited UC Irvine this past Thursday, 5 November 2009.

The show airs Monday 9 November 2009 from 9-10 a.m. on KUCI, 88.9 fm in Orange County, California, and is simulcast via

Podcasts will be available afterwards. Interviewing her is show host Daniel C. Tsang.

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