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The Atlantic Philanthropies, Inc. Awards Grant to Build English Language Capacity in Vietnam

$420,000 Grant Establishes Scholarships, Teacher Training, Workshops and Seminars, and UH Inter-University Center in Hanoi

University of Hawaiʻi
Lori Abe, (808) 956-6774
University of Hawaii Foundation
Kate Wester, (808) 956-9095
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Nov 19, 2003

Recognizing the University of Hawaiʻi‘s (UH) long history with higher education in Vietnam and the quality of its department of Second Language Studies, The Atlantic Philanthropies has awarded a $420,000 grant to the University of Hawaiʻi system through the University of Hawai?i Foundation (UHF). The aim of the grant is to expand English language and applied linguistics capacity in Vietnam and will involve the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and the Community Colleges in a cooperative effort.

"The University of Hawaiʻi is uniquely positioned to help address the language education issues facing Vietnam. The university is widely recognized for its expertise in English as a second language, applied linguistics, English for special purposes and second language studies, more generally," said University of Hawaiʻi Foundation President Betsy Sloane. "The Atlantic Philanthropies grant is an example of the kind of grant that makes the University of Hawaiʻi a world class system of higher education defined by excellence in teaching, research and service to the community."

At the heart of the program will be the University‘s work to improve the quality of post-graduate education and teacher training for second-language professionals in Vietnam, especially for teachers of English and specialists who teach English for specific purposes. A second key component will be the establishment of a UH Inter-University Center in Hanoi. The center will serve as a hub for UH activity in Southeast Asia and support research and partnerships throughout the region in a number of areas to include, but not limited to, public health, business, American studies and tourism.

"Hawaiʻi‘s unique geographic position and the diversity of our population demand that we develop and strengthen research and educational ties with Asian partners," said UH President Evan Dobelle. "Over the last 30 years, the University of Hawaiʻi has been a pace setter in creating relationships that make us one of America‘s premier centers for research and teaching related to Vietnam.

"Our department of Second Language Studies has academic standards among the highest in the world and a distinguished faculty with extensive national and international contacts in the field. This new grant will enable one of our best UH departments to collaborate with the leading university for language training in Hanoi, the Hanoi University of Foreign Studies."

Michael Lestz, former Senior Adviser to the President for Global Affairs who served as principal investigator for both a previous Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) seed grant as well as the larger grant just funded, commented: "We are delighted to receive this grant. Vietnam‘s global horizons are expanding in a remarkable way and the Atlantic Philanthropies grant will also allow the University of Hawaiʻi to be part of this process."

Beginning in spring of 2005, the project will award scholarships to bring accomplished Hanoi University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) Master educators to UH to obtain an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Second Language Studies offered by the university‘s Department of Second Language Studies.

In addition, over a two-year period, approximately 10 pedagogical workshops will be presented at HUFS to include topics like language teaching methodology, foreign language learning, foreign language testing and assessment; esol teacher training; and English for specific purposes relating to business, tourism and hospitality, and American studies. The program will also include an exchange workshop bringing HUFS teachers to UH for a workshop involving intensive language training, teaching methodology and classroom practice.

The members of the steering committee that led the development of this project and who will oversee its implementation include:

Michael Lestz, former Senior Adviser to the President for Global Affairs

Robert Bley-Vroman, Associate Professor, Department of Second Language Studies, UH Manoa

Leon Richards, Senior Academic Dean, Kapiʻolani Community College

Tung Bui, Matson Navigation Co. Distinguished Prof. of Global Business, UH Manoa

Thomas Hudson, Associate Professor, Department of Second Language Studies, UH Manoa

Stephen O‘Harrow, Director of Research and Development for Indo-Pacific Languages, UH Manoa

Jenny Samaan, Project Coordinator, UH Office of International Education

James O‘Brien, Director of Foundation Relations, University of Hawaiʻi Foundation

About the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation
The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization whose purpose is to raise funds according to priorities determined by the academic leadership of the University of Hawaiʻi. Founded in 1955, the UH Foundation provides a full range of fund raising and alumni relations services for all 10 UH campuses, providing leadership and implementation of UH's private fund raising efforts. For more information on the UH Foundation, visit