Sandy Hoa Dang: Overseas intellectuals will eventually return to homeland

Update: 16:08 | 12/10/2019
TGVN. Being awarded the title of outstanding citizen in Washington D.C. (USA) and leaving special impression in the fields of education and charity fundraising, Sandy Hoa Dang has still been implementing her plan to contribute to improving the leadership and the voice of Vietnamese people.
sandy hoa dang overseas intellectuals will eventually return to homeland A 'colorful' overview on citizen protection during the first months of 2019
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sandy hoa dang overseas intellectuals will eventually return to homeland
Sandy Hoa Dang. (Photo courtesy of Dang)

In 2014, US President Barack Obama entrusted you with the position Executive Director of the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) which was a special initiative of the US Congress to improve the bilateral relations through educational exchange activities. Can you share with us about your four-year experience at the VEF?

Being appointed as the VEF’s Executive Director at that time, I was faced with a number of challenges in term of management of the Foundation, especially the task of how to change the habits and culture of VEF, which include the way to behave with many partners in Vietnam and the US, the third partners, and students.

In addition, during the years of travelling between Vietnam and the US and meeting many alumni and scholars, I know that a majority of VEF’s alumni have been becoming leaders in agencies, organisations and businesses in Vietnam. Therefore, their behaviours will change the future of above-mentioned organisations which is also the future of Vietnam.

I also realized clearly that there are many excellent people who dedicated to contribute to the country’s development. Although the VEF has stopped working after 20 years of operation with impressive achievements, I has still returned to Vietnam in various projects to train leaders. I held the leadership classes and passed on the experiences that I learned from the Harvard Kennedy School. In my opinion, Vietnamese students are very good at techniques but lack of some skills acquired from the international advanced environment.

What do you think about the policy to promote the knowledge and intelligence of overseas Vietnamese in country’s development, which is being paid special attention by the Vietnamese state?

I witness many overseas Vietnamese who are excited by this policy and want to contribute to Vietnam. However, there must be a way for them to realize that wish.

While living in the US, I met some overseas Vietnamese who lived in the US for a long time. They also concerned about finding a way to return but still found it stuck. I believe that if the Vietnamese state creates a good opportunity, intellectuals eventually will return to homeland.

Frequently returning to the homeland recently, what do you find most impressive about Vietnam?

I am most impressed by the wave of start-up and innovation of Vietnamese people who are young, hardworking, progressive and ambitous.

I am also happy that there are many Vietnamese people want to cooperate with me to develop together. I think the world is changing everyday, so we must change ourself, create new things, keep pace with that pace of development as well as meet the world’s demands.

Can you share with us your new work and projects?

Currently, I am the Chairperson of 11+ Philanthropy that provides leadership training, capacity building, strategic planning for individual donors, foundations and non-profit organisations. I had founded 11+ Philanthropy before joining the VEF and now trying to devote myself to organisation development.

The organisation also provides information for overseas Vietnamese planning to return to the homeland. Through its activities, the organisation helped bringing new skills to Vietnam, facilitating opportunities to study at the Harvard University, sharing management and start-up experience for youngsters.

Recently, I joined the Women Leaders’ International Network (WLIN Global) and embarked on creating WLIN Washington D.C. community to connect women leaders in global network with business and study opportunities in D.C.

I hope my experience can help and guide women to gain knowledge and skills of a leader as well as the way to promote image and role of women to a new level.

Thank you, Mrs.!

Born in Ha Noi, Mrs. Sandy Hoa Dang left Vietnam at the age of 10 and settled in the US from 13 years old.

For more than a decade, she has been the founder of and executive director of the Asian American Youth Leadership Empowerment and Development (AALEAD) – an organisation that supports immigrant and refugee families through society and education services.

In addition to her master’s degree in Administrative Management from the Harvard Kennedy School, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the Duke University and a master’s degree in Social Work from the Catholic University of America.

Mrs. Sandy Hoa Dang got many prestigious awards for her outstanding community leadership, including the title of “Washington D.C. Outstanding Citizen” in 2001, a membership of the Community Advisory Board of the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center and WETA Television Show. She is also a speaker who has compiled and presented valuable speeches, presentations and proposals for call for investment.

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Quang Chinh