Congratulations to the six Australian Alumni Award winners from Vietnam!

On April 19, The Australian Embassy and Vietnam Australia Friendship Association co-hosted the inaugural Australian Alumni Awards, honouring the achievements of Vietnamese who have studied in Australia. Six award winners were chosen from 200 nominations, contributing to Vietnam development and ambassadors for the bilateral relationship.

🎓 Alumni of the Year: Prof., Dr Tran Tho Dat

Professor, Dr Tran Tho Dat is the Chairman of the Academic Board of the National Economics University (NEU), Hanoi, Vietnam. He is also a member of the Economic Advisory Board to the Prime Minister of Vietnam, a member of the National Financial and Monetary Policy Advisory Council, and the Chairman of the State Professorship Committee in Economics. He joined NEU in 1982 and over a 40-year career has lectured on various subjects from statistics to economics, before becoming the Director of the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Management Department and then Graduate School, then NEU Vice President, and then President from 2014 until 2019. He was then Chairman of the NEU Council from 2019 to 2021. While working at NEU, he also served as the Manager of the World Bank Higher Education Project in Vietnam. He has Bachelor of Economics and a Ph.D in Statistics from NEU and a Master of Economics of Development and Ph.D in Economics from the Australian National University. His research interests include higher education financing, credit markets, economic growth models and digital economy. He is also active in economic consulting, particularly focused on higher education financing, monetary policy and economic stabilisation for organisations and government.

💸 Business and Innovation Award: Ms Dang Thi Huong

Dang Thi Huong is a social entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of HopeBox, a Vietnamese social enterprise that provides employment, training, and opportunities to survivors of gender-based violence. She also co-founded WExchange, an educational company that provides experiential study programs in Vietnam for international university students. Prior to this, she was Director of Partnerships and Strategy at KOTO, an organisation that aids and empowers at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. She completed a Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology, during which she was named Victoria’s International Student of the Year. In 2017, she was one of ten young leaders to represent Vietnam in the Australia-Vietnam Leadership Dialogue and in 2021 she was the winner of the Women of the Future award in the Social Entrepreneur category. In 2022, she participated in the Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program at Yale University and took part in a 4-month residential program at Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs. In 2023, she participated in the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leader program, representing social entrepreneurs from Vietnam. She used to teach Innovative Business Practices at Swinburne University Technology Vietnam.

👩‍🏫 Women in Leadership Award: Dr Vo Thi Hoang Yen

Dr Vo Thi Hoang Yen is an active and longstanding disability advocate in Vietnam. She is the founder and executive director of the Disability Research and Capacity Development Center, and the founder of a Scholarship and Mentoring Program that supports students with disabilities studying in universities and colleges in Ho Chi Minh City. She is also an experienced trainer and coach for youth and non-profit organisations in the southern region of Vietnam. She was recognized by Forbes as one of the 50 most influential women in Vietnam in 2019 and has received a number of awards for her work, including the 2019 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards (USA), the 2018 Ramon Magsaysay Award (also called the Asia Nobel), the 2010 US President’s Call to Service Award and the 2009 Kazuo Itoga Prize (Japan). She has also been recognised by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and provincial departments for her work in empowering persons with disabilities in Vietnam to participate in society and changing attitudes about disabilities. She completed a Master of Human Development at the University of Kansas, USA, in 2004 and a PhD in Social Work at La Trobe University, Australia, in 2018.

👥 Social Action Award: Ms Nguyen Thuy Tien

Nguyen Thuy Tien is a social activist, public speaker, entrepreneur, and writer. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Breast Cancer Network Vietnam, established in 2013 when her sister, Thuong Nguyen Sobey (also an Australia Award alumni) died from breast cancer. She provides training, organises talk-shows and public events, and develops community services to increase awareness of breast cancer. She has received numerous awards, including the Certificate of Merit for Contribution to Asian Sustainable Development (2016), the National Volunteer Award (2014) and Promising Young Citizen of the Year (2014). She was listed as a 30 Under 30 social activist by Forbes Vietnam in 2016 and a Vietnamese Outstanding Young Icon in 2015. She received an Australia Award in 2017 to complete a Master of International Development at La Trobe University, in Melbourne.

👨‍💼 Young Alumni Award: Mr Ho Thai Binh

Ho Thai Binh is the Director of Survival Skills Vietnam (SSVN) and co-founder and Deputy Director of SiGen. He studied a Bachelor of Commerce at RMIT Vietnam and a Master of Commerce at the University of Queensland. From 2013 to 2017, he worked in the Department of Industry and Trade of Ba Ria – Vung Tau. He continues to promote foreign investment and collaboration in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, as a member of Western Australia – Vietnam Business Council and a researcher at the PerthUSAsia Center. In 2014, he and his father founded SiGen to develop and commercialise the invention of an anti-mosquito, odourless stormwater catch basin, 2014. Their invention received numerous awards and is being implemented in a growing number of cities across Vietnam. In 2018, he joined SSVN as a volunteer to develop the First Aid SSVN app to help Vietnamese people access life-saving instructions in emergencies. He then joined the founding team to transform SSVN into a social enterprise, to continue providing programs on a non-profit basis. SSVN has now provided first aid education to more than 90,000 Vietnamese people.

🌏 Climate Action Award: Dr Pham Thu Thuy

Dr Pham Thu Thuy is a senior scientist who leads the Global Program on Climate Change, Energy and Low-Carbon Development at the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry Center. She completed First Class of Honours at the University of Queensland and a PhD at Charles Darwin University, Australia. She has supported more than 20 countries (including Vietnam), global financial institutions, multinational companies, civil society organisations and indigenous communities to design and implement effective, efficient, and equity climate change policies and projects. In 2016, she was recognised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for her contributions towards Vietnam’s forestry sector development and the successful implementation of the National Policy on Payment for Forest Environmental Services. She has led events at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences of Parties and as well as international, regional and national policy dialogues on climate finance. She is a member of the Global Scientific Steering Committee, Global Landscape Forum; the Asia Steering Committee of the International Land Coalition; and the Steering Committee of Global Forest, People, Climate Initiative’s Carbon Market Strategy. She is an editor for the international Journal of Land Use Science and Journal of Forest and Society. She has published more than 200 scientific publications and provided training on climate change policies for policy makers, private sector, civil society organisations, academia, journalists, and local communities across the world.