Hồ Chí Minh City
+ Phan Thiết


Engaging With Vietnam
VNU HCMC Engaging With Vietnam
Đại học Phan Thiết Engaging With Vietnam


15-21 December 2018
Ho Chi Minh City & Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province

Co-Organizing Partners

Engaging With Vietnam, University of Hawaii at Manoa - USA, University of Social Sciences and Humanities – Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City - University of Phan Thiet

Founders of Engaging With Vietnam

Phan Le Ha & Liam C. Kelley (Co-Founders of Engaging With Vietnam, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA & Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei)


Phan Le Ha & Liam C. Kelley (University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA & Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei), Ngo Thi Phuong Lan (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City), Vo Khac Thuong (University of Phan Thiet), and Tran Kien (School of Law, Vietnam National University, Hanoi)

Key Conference Organizing Committee Members of the 10th Engaging With Vietnam Conference

Tran Anh Tien (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City), Duong Ngoc Thang (University of Phan Thiet), Le Thuy Linh (Engaging With Vietnam), Chau Duong Quang (SUNY Albany, USA and Engaging With Vietnam), and associates.


Lê Thùy Linh


Beyond Dichotomies: Vietnam from Multiple Perspectives

2018 marked a milestone for Engaging With Vietnam – its 10th anniversary.Participants at the 10th Engaging With Vietnam Conference experienced another stimulating and enriching gathering that will took place in both Ho Chi Minh City and Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan, a coastal province in Central Vietnam.

To continue its interdisciplinary engagement, this 10th conference focused in particular on dichotomies, the dichotomization of knowledge, and the discursive constructions of dichotomies in Vietnam-related knowledge production and scholarship. Among the topics that were examined were ones that dealt with dichotomies and dichotomization in the form of ‘Self and Other’ and/or in pairs of contrasts, such as ‘global – local’, ‘traditional – modern’, ‘Western values – Asian values’, ‘Vietnamese women – foreign women’, ‘nationalism – cosmopolitanism’, ‘developed – underdeveloped/developing’, ‘urban – rural’, ‘privileged – disadvantaged’, ‘active – passive’, ‘critical thinking – passive and rote learning’, ‘Global North – Global South’, and ‘Vietnam – ASEAN’, etc. 

Keynote and Invited Speakers

Phan Le Ha Engaging With Vietnam founder

Phan Lê Hà

Dr. Phan Lê Hà (Phan is the family name), is a Full Professor in the College of Education, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, USA, and a Senior Professor in the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education (SHBIE) at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Professor Phan also holds adjunct positions at universities in Vietnam and Australia. Her expertise includes language-identity-pedagogy studies, knowledge mobility and production, TESOL, and international and higher education.

Phan Lê Hà is the founder of Engaging with Vietnam, which since 2009 has brought together policy makers, researchers, and professionals working in a wide range of countries and organizations to engage with Vietnam-related scholarship from inter- and multi-disciplinary perspectives and approaches. She looks forward to your helping the Initiative to blossom and sustain itself as a continuing rigorous dialogue.

Phan Lê Hà’s expertise, knowledge and experiences are largely informed by her work in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and North America. She has been supervising/advising research projects at Honours, Master’s and PhD levels on a wide range of topics, including identity studies, English language education in global contexts, transnational/offshore education, and the internationalisation of education more broadly.

Her publications can be found on:



Professor Phan is currently developing a new interest in engaging with the arts, the media and the digital world to produce multimodal multidisciplinary scholarship and to push research and knowledge production into new directions.

Engaging With Vietnam co-organizer Liam C. Kelley

Liam C. Kelley

Dr. Liam Kelley is an Associate Professor in the History Department at the Univeristy of Hawaii at Manoa and an Associate Professor in the Institute of Asian Studies at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. His research and teaching focuses on mainland Southeast Asian history, and premodern Vietnamese history. He has published a book on envoy poetry (thơ đi sứ), co-edited a book on China’s Southern frontiers, and published articles and book chapters on the invention of traditions in medieval Vietnam, the emergence of Vietnamese nationalism and spirit writing (giáng bút) in early twentieth century Vietnam. He has also completed English translations of the outer annals (ngoại kỷ) of the Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư and the Khâm định Việt sử thông giám cương mực. Dr. Kelley is currently writing a monograph on the modern search for Viet origins and developing his arts-inspired interests on knowledge production which can be found on his personal blog (leminhkhai.wordpress.com) and its associated YouTube channel.

Dr. Liam Kelley, since 2011, has been co-developing the Engaging with Vietnam initiative with Dr. Phan Lê Hà.

Ngô Thị Phương Lan

Dr. Ngô Thị Phương Lan is President of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH), Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City. Trained as an anthropologist, Dr. Lan’s research focuses on environmental anthropology, economic anthropology, cultural ecology and livelihood.

Among her many works, From Rice to Shrimp: The Behavior of Reducing Risks and Exploiting Social Capital in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam is an important scientific work in economic anthropology and the economic development of Vietnam. This research, which is based on long-term field-work data and the combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses, not only clarifies the strategy to distribute and minimize risks of farmers in the Mekong Delta, but also determines the role of social networks or social capital in this strategy. She is currently working on a new interesting research project on the development of tourism in An Giang province.

Dr. Lan’s expertise and knowledge contribute very much to her leadership. In being responsible for scientific management, she has been establishing and maintaining partnerships between USSH and universities of ASEAN, and cooperation with foreign partners to carry out the research activities. Moreover, she has been running The Center for Rural Development, which has the function of organizing research programs and applicable projects in rural development.

Khuất Thu Hồng Engaging With Vietnam

Khuất Thu Hồng

Dr. Khuất Thu Hồng, is the founder and Director of the Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS), an independent research organization located in Hanoi, Vietnam. She has a B.A. in psychology and a Ph.D. in sociology. Before establishing ISDS, she worked for the Institute of Sociology, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences for sixteen years and for UNDP as the gender specialist from March 2000 to May 2001. Her major fields of studies include gender, sexuality and social inclusion.

Trần Kiên

Dr. Trần Kiên is a lecturer in law at the School of Law, Vietnam National University, Hanoi. He earned both his PhD and Master degrees at the University of Glasgow in 2015 and 2010, respectively. Prior to his postgraduate studies overseas, he had completed his first law degree at Vietnam National University, Hanoi (2007).

At the School of Law, Kiên’s teaching is primarily focused on private law including but not limited to Roman law, Civil law, and Intellectual property law at both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. However, Kiên’s research is more diverse and interdisciplinary. His research on child support, family and marriage law, immigrant workers, human rights and the constitution has been published in a number of domestic as well as international journals and books. Presently his research interests lie in the reform and development of law in Vietnam. He is also interested in understanding how other fields of social science such as history, art and economics can inform or influence our perception about law.

Simon Soon Engaging With Vietnam

Simon Soon

Dr. Simon Soon is a Senior Lecturer in art history at the Cultural Centre, University of Malaya. His broader areas of interest include comparative modernities in the art, urban histories, and art historiography. He has written on various topics related to 20th-century art across Asia and occasionally curates exhibitions, most recently Love Me in My Batik: Modern Batik Art from Malaysia and Beyond. He is the Penang Field Director of Site and Space in Southeast Asia, a research project funded by the Getty Foundation Connecting Art Histories initiative. He is also an editorial member of Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, and a team member of the Malaysia Design Archive, a repository, education and research platform on visual cultures of the 20th century.

Vo Van Sen Engaging With Vietnam

Võ Văn Sen

Professor Võ Văn Sen (Ph.D.) is currently serving as Chairman of the Academic and Training Affairs Council, University of Social Sciences & Humanities – VNU-HCM. He has also been Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Historical Association since 2007. Professor Sen was Head of the Faculty of History (USSH – VNU-HCM) before serving as President of USSH – VNU-HCM from 2007 to April 2018.

He was a Harvard-Yenching Institute visiting scholar from 1992 to 1993; and from 1998 to 2000, he was a visiting professor at the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Asian Studies, Nagoya University of Commerce and Business Administration, Japan. Since then Professor Sen has extensively engaged in teaching Vietnam history and culture courses and seminars both in Vietnam and abroad.

Professor Võ Văn Sen has authored various highly-regarded publications on the history and culture of Nam Bộ (Southern Vietnam).

Noor Azam Haji-Othman Engaging With Vietnam

Noor Azam Haji-Othman

Dr. Noor Azam Haji-Othman is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Universiti of Brunei Darussalam (UBD), where he teaches linguistics, communication and media studies.  He was the first Director of the UBD-FPT Gobal Centre in Da Nang, Central Vietnam, from July 2017 to May 2018.  Prior to that Noor Azam had been the Director of UBD Language Centre, Dean of FASS, and Director of Centre for Advanced Research.  His research focuses on the interplay between languages in the context of state policy and education in Brunei. He received his PhD from the University of Leicester and he holds an MA in Applied Linguistics from Cardiff University.

Miriam Stark Engaging With Vietnam

Miriam Stark

Dr. Miriam Stark is a Professor of Archaeology and Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has conducted archaeological research in the Philippines and Cambodia and has published extensively on not only her specific research but on Southeast Asian archaeology more generally.

Nguyễn Hoa Cương Engaging With Vietnam

Nguyễn Hoa Cương

Nguyễn Hoa Cương is Deputy Director General of the Agency for Enterprise Development of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Viet Nam.

Cương got his Master’s degree in International Economics and Finance in 2001 from the University of Queensland after having completed the first degree on Civil Engineering and a second degree in English.

Joining the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s then newly-established Agency for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development (now the Agency for Enterprise Development) in 2002, Cương served different assignments involving SME policy making and international cooperation for SME development in Viet Nam.

Cương has participated in formulating, appraising, managing and coordinating ODA programs in SME development since 2003. He was the Director of Project Management Unit, World Bank – funded Vietnam Inclusive Innovation Project (2014-2017), for science and technology development, research bodies and innovation organizations in 03 selected sectors – agriculture and fishery, traditional hebs and medicine, and IT – and for business community to work for the low income community.

He co-chaired the regular meetings of the Partnership Group for SME Promotion and Private Sector Development, an initiative jointly led by the government and donor community for the SME sector in Viet Nam. He also acted as the coordinator for publishing the SME White Papers in Viet Nam. And finally, Cương acted as the chief coordinator for the APEC SME Ministerial and related meetings in 2006 in Viet Nam and has been the focal point for SME issues in APEC since 2003. He was the Chair of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME) in 2016 and has been the Chair of the APEC SME Working Group in 2017 and 2018.

His external interests cover information technology, automobiles and travel.

Gerard Sasges Engaging With Vietnam

Gerard Sasges

Dr. Gerard Sasges is Assistant Professor of History at Singapore National University. His work uses technology as a means to explore processes of historical change. His book, Imperial intoxication: Alcohol and the Making of Colonial Indochina (University of Hawaii Press, 2017) uses the introduction of new technologies for producing alcohol to explore how colonial rule was elaborated and experienced. Along the way, it sheds new light on topics like colonial economic development, interactions among Vietnamese, French, and Sino-Vietnamese, the operation of the colonial state in space, and political change. His current work uses marine science and fisheries technologies to explore processes of decolonization, nation-building, economic development, and environmental change in the late colonial and Cold War periods. Alongside all of this, Gerard has an abiding interest in documenting how ordinary Southeast Asians make their ways and live their lives in a period of rapid change. Since 2010 Gerard and his students have been interviewing people about their jobs, first in Vietnam and now in Singapore. One result has been a book, published in English as It’s a Living: Life and Work in Vietnam Today (NUS Press, 2013), and in Vietnamese as Việt Nam ngày nay – Chuyện mưu sinh (NXB Thái Hà, 2014). Another is the forthcoming Hard at Work: Life and Labor in Singapore, also with the NUS Press, slated for publication in 2018.

Lê Thùy Linh

Dr. Lê Thùy Linh (PhD, Education, Monash University, Australia) has been a lecturer at Hanoi National University of Education (HNUE), Vietnam since 1999. She is currently the head of the English department at Baxter Institute and teaching TESOL at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She has been actively involved in English language training and teacher education through her work with various professional development projects in Vietnam and Australia over the last 18 years. Her research interests include Teacher Education and Teacher Identity, Pedagogy and Assessment in TESOL, Professionalism in ELT, and recently Vocational Training and Education (VET).

Trần Nguyên Khang Engaging With Vietnam

Trần Nguyên Khang

Trần Nguyên Khang is a lecturer in the Faculty of International Relations, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hồ Chí Minh City. Khang got his Bachelor and Master Degree in Political Science in France (2008). In 2017, he earned his PhD in International Relations, with honors, at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam. At USSH, his teaching is mainly focused on Globalization, Global Issues, Power in International Relations and Intercultural Communication. In 2016, Khang was invited as a Guest Lecturer by the University of Findlay, Ohio, USA. Khang’s research interests now concentrate on the comparative study of soft power, and he has published and presented on this topic in domestic as well as international academic journals and conferences. In 2018, his first book came out, a work that covers theoretical and practical issues concerning France’s use of soft power. In the same year, Khang was chosen for a research fieldtrip program in Japan to study the soft power of that country.

Professor Trần Lê Hoa Tranh Engaging With Vietnam

Professor Trần Lê Hoa Tranh

Associate Professor Trần Lê Hoa Tranh is chair of the Department of Foreign Literature and Comparative Literature in the Faculty of Literature at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, HCMC. She specializes in Oriental Literature, Contemporary Vietnamese and Chinese Literature and Female Literature. She is the author/co-author of Chinese Women Literature from the End of 20th to the Early of 21th Century, Lu Xun- the Spirit of Modern China. She has written on diverse topics like Lu Xun, Jin Yong, female literature, and immigrant literature. In 2007, she joined the Faculty Exchange Program at the University of Findlay in Ohio, sponsored by the ASEAN Network. In late 2010, she was a Fulbright Scholar at UC Berkeley. She is presently the guest speaker and producer of the HTV7 program Pure with Vietnamese.

Vũ Minh Hoàng Engaging With Vietnam

Vũ Minh Hoàng

Vũ Minh Hoàng is a Ph.D candidate in History at Cornell University. He received a BSc. in International Relations and History in 2014 from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a dissertation entitled “Facing the Inevitable Vietnam’s Decision to Invade Cambodia, 1977-78.” He is currently working on his dissertation, “The Third Indochina War and the Making of Present-Day Southeast Asia, 1975 – 1995” under the guidance of Professors Keith Weller Taylor, Fredrik Logevall, Peter J. Katzenstein, and Tamara Loos.

Le-Na Dao Engaging With Vietnam

Le-Na Dao

Dr. Le-Na Dao holds a PhD in Literary Theory and Criticism. She is a lecturer in the Faculty of Literature, Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City. Her teaching activities include: Introduction to film studies, Screenwriting, Enjoying and creating short stories, Introduction to art studies. Research orientation: Film studies, Arts studies, Adaptation studies. Her most recent book is: The Horizon of Pictures: From Literature to Film through the Case of Kurosawa Akira, Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City Press, 2017. Now she is the Chair of the Department of Creative Writing and Drama & Film Criticism.

Lisa Stenmark Engaging With Vietnam

Lisa Stenmark

Dr. Lisa Stenmark teaches Humanities and Comparative Religious Studies at San Jose State University. She is the author of Religion, Science and Democracy: A Disputational Friendship, on scientific and religious authority in public life, and has written numerous articles on the relationship between religion and science, with particular interest in exploring the ways cultural narratives perpetuate—intentionally or otherwise—destructive practices of science, technology and religion. She has recently begun exploring these issues in the context of Viet Nam, where she has been travelling regularly since 2000. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Viet Nam in 2017. She earned an MDiv/MA from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary/ the Graduate Theological Union, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Vanderbilt University. In her spare time she runs ½ Marathons, practices Aikido and reads way too much science fiction.

Past Conferences

Engaging With Vietnam Conference #9

HCMC, Bình Dương & An Giang

28 Dec. 2017-4 Jan. 2018

Engaging With Vietnam Conference #8

Honolulu, Hawaii

4–10 October 2016

Engaging With Vietnam Conference #7

Hanoi & Bắc Ninh

7-8 July 2015

Engaging With Vietnam Conference #6

Eugene, Oregon

5-7 November 2014

Thai Nguyen

16-17 December 2013


8-9 November 2012


4-5 December 2011

Engaging With Vietnam Conference #2


30 Nov.-1 Dec. 2010


23-24 February 2010