The Vietnam-UK Network held its second AGM on 29 June 2016 in the London office of Arup, who generously provided refreshments. Almost 40 people attended and there were apologies from around 15. Networking took place before and after, and it was good to see several new faces.
After a welcome from Arup’s Peter Budd, Chairman Ben Chapman reported on the past year’s varied activities and growing following. He reminded those present of the VUKN’s aims, and that it is run by a Committee of volunteers. Following approval of the minutes of the last AGM and a report by Treasurer Lisa Hayward, Vice Chairman Paul Smith said that, though the Network was in a healthy state financially, he hoped more sponsors would come forward to enable to Network to continue to make an impact, to meet its goals and to increase its activities. Warwick Morris, Vice Chairman, then presented the Network’s Constitution, which was adopted by those present without dissent. Ben Chapman vacated the Chair while the new Committee and its Officers was approved. On resuming his post, Ben welcomed and introduced Lord Puttnam CBE, the Prime minister’s Special Envoy for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and the Ambassador of Vietnam HE Mr Nguyen Van Thao, both tireless supporters of the Network. Lord Puttnam spoke movingly of the even greater need for the UK’s bilateral ties around the world to be strengthened in light of the decision to leave the EU. Ambassador Thao underlined the welcome increases in trade and investment between the two countries, and the growth in the number of Vietnamese studying in the UK, and praised the Network for its important contributions.
The formal part of the AGM
concluded with the presentation of a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ to Lord Puttnam, and another to Prudential, a key Corporate Member, accepted by Wilf Blackburn, CEO of Prudential Vietnam. These were in recognition of their outstanding support for the work of the Network and for the bilateral relationship in general.
Britain’s world-renowned financial services company Prudential, headquartered in London, and Prudential’s business in Vietnam, have been strong supporters and generous sponsors of the VUKN since its establishment in 2013. In addition to providing a representative on the VUKN Committee since the start, Prudential hosted in London the Network’s first business seminar, with the then Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, in April 2014, as well as the Network’s first AGM in June 2015. In Ho Chi MInh City they provided a place for the Network’s Committee to meet on its visit in May 2015. Their involvement in the Vietnam market began in 1990s. Today they are the biggest foreign Life Insurer in Vietnam, a major employer, and an important contributor to the country’s economic and social development. This has been recognized by a series of Vietnamese Government and other awards for their business achievements and contributions to social programmes in Vietnam, adding to Britain’s high reputation there.
Lord Puttnam of Queensgate, CBE is well known as a film producer and executive, educator and political figure. But it is David’s work to promote a closer relationship with Vietnam that the Network especially wishes to recognise. As the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to the region since November 2012, by the end of the year he will have made 5 busy high level visits to Vietnam. As a result, his contribution to the bilateral relationship has been quite unprecedented. He has been a particular friend to the Network, participating generously in a number of our events. We are delighted to offer this Certificate of Excellence in recognition of an outstanding contribution to UK-Vietnam relations.