Following the Vietnam-UK Women in Business (WIB) event in London on 2 October, a networking event took place on the evening of 3 October in New College, Oxford. It was organised by the Vietnamese Society in Oxford (VOX) under the dynamic leadership of Dr ThaoNguyen Nguyen, Acting President of VOX alumni in the UK.
At least 50 people attended the working session, networking and dinner, including a delegation of entrepreneurs from Vietnam, VOX and VietPro members, several senior University figures, representatives of the Vietnamese and UK media, and a number of British and Vietnamese followers of Vietnam-UK affairs. The Vietnam-UK Network was represented by Chairman Warwick Morris and Treasurer Jakki Lydall. Thao Griffiths, a panellist at the previous day’s WIB event, also attended, thanks to arrangements made by VUKN Committee member and Oxford alumni Bao Ha Pham. With Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day celebrated on 13 October the idea was to start looking at possible scope for business cooperation between Oxford and Vietnam, with a view to a possible more formal and high profile Vietnam – Oxford Entrepreneurs Forum in 2020.
After warm words of welcome from Dr Thao-Nguyen Nguyen, and remarks by VOX and VietPro representatives, there were excellent presentations by Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health, and senior member of VOX, on his and the University’s work in Vietnam, and by Dr Stephen Benn, Vice-President, Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, on the STEM for Britain project and on HMG’s INNOVATE UK scheme. He suggested that such schemes might possibly be replicable in Vietnam in due course.
Following warm thanks to the speakers, sponsors, special guests and volunteers from VOX, and to Nguyen Thu Le for her and the Embassy of Vietnam’s strong support, there were closing remarks by the host.
Much lively and useful discussion continued over a fine dinner in New College’s magnificent Hall. On behalf of the Special Guests the VUKN Chairman and Former Ambassador of UK to Vietnam Mr. Warwick Morris closed the evening by renewed thanks to the hosts for this potentially exciting initiative and by congratulating those present for being highly effective ‘bridge-builders’ between the UK and Vietnam.
This largely informal event was a ‘first’ of its kind, and one at which it was great to see the Vietnamese student body in Oxford playing an active role. The organisers are to be congratulated on putting together an enjoyable and informative event, much bigger than originally envisaged. It is to be hoped that ways can be found in the future to develop greater synergy and cooperation between Oxford’s intellectual assets on the one hand and Vietnam’s SMEs and other businesses on the other.