The U.S. Department of State has named Nguyen Van Anh, a Vietnamese alumna of the International Visitors Leadership Program, as State Alumni Member of the Month. Throughout August, her leadership and promotion of community service will be recognized on the State Alumni website (https://alumni.state.gov), the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ official website for the more than one million Department-sponsored exchange alumni worldwide. Each month, the Bureau’s Office of Alumni Affairs, which supports alumni as they build on their exchange experiences, confers the award to an outstanding alumnus or alumna.
Nguyen’s participation in the International Visitors Leadership Program on Volunteerism in 2004 increased her understanding of volunteerism and non-profits in the United States. Upon her return to Vietnam, she applied what she had learned in order to seek to improve the lives of vulnerable people. She collaborated with Vietnamese civil society to lobby for the country’s first law combating domestic violence. Nguyen also advocates for the rights of sexual minorities through workshops, discussions and documentary screenings. Her efforts have shed light on previously ignored issues, stimulated public discourse, and showcased how alumni can build on their exchange experience to make a difference in their communities.
Nguyen started Vietnam’s first domestic violence hotline in 1997. It currently receives more than 5,000 calls per day in twenty-one cities. She also founded the Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women, and Adolescents in 2001. The center uses art and culture-based approaches to combat domestic violence and human trafficking, advocate for sexual minorities and campaign against corporal punishment for children.
An active alumni leader, Nguyen and fellow International Visitors Leadership Program alumni hosted a series of talk shows and an educational exhibition for academia, non-profits and government as part of Vietnam’s first Alumni Festival Success and the American Experience in July 2008. Building on this success, Nguyen received a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi to organize a series of workshops, in partnership with alumni and several women’s groups, on combating domestic violence and to stress the importance of volunteerism. The program created television programming on domestic violence awareness and women’s empowerment, and a victims’ art exhibition. It also established Vietnam’s first network of volunteers to support victims of domestic violence, which involves local communities and provincial leaders.
For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ website at http://exchanges.state.gov/alumni/alumnus.html. Media Contact: Carla Coolman, CoolmanCH@state.gov , phone (202) 632-3356.