21.11.2016 - 25 November 1971 is a memorable milestone for Norwegian-Vietnamese relations, as the day when diplomatic ties were established 45 years ago. Since then, the two countries have developed a multifaceted relationship within areas such as trade, investment, education, environment and climate change, energy, governance, fisheries, human rights and gender equality.
Norway and Vietnam are both countries with long coastlines, both are maritime oriented cultures and both are among the world’s largest seafood producers. As a result, Norway and Vietnam have a long history of strong cooperation within the marine and maritime sectors.
Among many highlights of this long-term friendship is the two-decade long academic cooperation between the Norwegian Government and the Norwegian research institutions Tromsø University, Bergen University, NTNU and Nha Trang University (NTU), with the aim to building a strong academic centre with high quality education and capacity in the marine sector. Through this period, NTU has transformed into a multidisciplinary university and one of the prestigious training institutions in the South Central and Highland regions. Support from the Norwegian Government and institutions has been an essential driver in this development. Many of the NTU’s staff and faculties have followed master, doctoral, post-doc as well as short-term training programmes at prestigious Norwegian universities on subject matters such as fishery economics, aquaculture, biotechnology, and fishing technology. Whereas NTU had nine lecturers with PhD degrees in 1997, the support from Norwegian government has added 17 doctors and 39 masters who have been trained in Norway.
Inspired by Norway’s advancement in gender equality, gender has become a theme cutting across all academic plans of the University. The number of female participants in master programmes, short-term courses and research projects has increased substantially, and NTU has adopted a plan to further scale this up. Furthermore, NTU has implemented a mentoring programme on career development for female lecturers.
With the Norwegian Government’s support, NTU’s research capacity has gradually improved and led to new findings. As a result, hundreds of articles have been published in national and international scientific journals. Along with the improved research capacity comes improvement in the University’s training capacity. The university is now able to offer trainings (both short courses and degrees) for international students - especially students from developing countries. Among the degrees are international master’s programmes in Fisheries and Aquaculture Economics and Management (NOMA-FAME) and Marine Ecosystems Management and Climate Change (NORHED). NTU has established a Centre of Aquatic Animal Health and Breeding Studies that focusses on culturing seabass breed for supply both inside and outside the country.
The cooperation with Norwegian institutions has increased NTU’s focus on the business sector in training and research partnership, including through formal agreements with the private sector partners. The university’s training and research efforts not only address domestic needs, but reach out to regional and international cooperation. Many business leaders and private sector workers have enrolled in the master and higher education courses of the University. NTU also regularly deliver short-term training courses to the community on food safety management. This is a win-win situation: Inputs from private sector and community outreach help ensure that academic researches address cases of actual concerns and facilitate sustainable economic growth.
Norwegian partners and NTU have been companions in the course of development of the university and of Vietnam’s fishery industry. Norway and Vietnam are among the world’s largest producers of seafood, and both countries have a large potential in the Blue Economy. On 23 November, the Norwegian Embassy and Innovation Norway will address this potential at a business seminar on Blue Economy in Ho Chi Minh City, with the contribution of Norwegian competence and technology and of Nha Trang University.
Through the spirit of committed partnership, Norwegian partners and NTU have overcome many challenges and built a strong relationship based on mutual understanding and respect. This is a solid basis for NTU to continue cooperation and establish relationship with new universities and institutes, and to continue facilitating sustainable economic growth in Vietnam.