A delegation of officials from Vietnam led by a Minister-ranked politician visited Portland State University this summer for a political leadership training program through the Hatfield School of Government’s Center for Public Service. The program provided fifteen high-ranking Vietnamese public leaders and officials with the advanced leadership skills and competencies to help them to lead the country during the current period of transition.
The EMERGE Political Leadership Training Program is the result of a partnership between the Center for Public Service (CPS) and the Monitoring Office of Program 165, Vietnam, a national office established to provide public leadership, management, and English language training opportunities for Vietnamese Communist Party and Government leaders and officials. Portland State University was chosen to host the training because of its strong commitments and partnerships in Vietnam. A deep understanding of the socio-economic situation and political culture of Vietnam allows PSU faculty and staff to design and develop relevant leadership programs for Vietnamese public leaders and officials.
Since 2003, Portland State University has been expanding its partnerships with institutions in Vietnam as an integral part of its Comprehensive Internationalization Strategy. In 2006 the Hatfield School of Government began working with the Ho Chi Minh National Academy for Politics and Administration in Hanoi to co-produce an innovative political leadership curriculum (the EMERGE Leadership Framework), and to support the establishment of a new Center for Public Policy and Leadership at the Ho Chi Minh Academy. The Ford Foundation provided more than a half-million US dollars in grant funding for this project.
The curriculum of the EMERGE Political Leadership training program combined lectures and practical exercises with leadership concepts and theories and specialized presentations covering “hot” issues in Vietnam, such as political performance, higher education management, judiciary practice, the economic competiveness of Vietnam, Chinese reform and politics, and sustainable development. Portland State University faculty and other local scholars and practitioners delivered topical lectures, including a presentation on the U.S. court system by former Governor Ted Kulongoski. Participants then apply their new leadership tools to real-time group projects.
The training program also arranged site visits at public agencies at all levels of government to study successes, failures and challenges in public leadership and management practices in Oregon and across the U.S. The participants met with the Portland Mayor Sam Adams; Portland State University President Wim Wiewel; and high-level officials and experts at Metro, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, state agencies in Salem, and the Oregon Department of Commerce. The delegation also visited Intel Corporation to learn about Intel’s partnerships with Vietnam and its human resource development strategies over the past decades.
Encouraged by the success of this training program, all members of the delegation have expressed their support for continued collaboration between PSU and Program 165. On August 30, 2012, Dr. Marcus Ingle, Director of the Training Program, met with the Monitoring Office of Program 165 in Hanoi to discuss a long term and comprehensive collaboration between the two partners. A Memorandum of Understanding and three training proposals for public leadership, professional English and graduate training programs were discussed at the meeting. Mr. Nguyen Van Du, Director of the Monitoring Office, highly praised the training capacities of PSU as well as its strong commitments in the development of human resources in Vietnam. The two sides have agreed to work together in order to prepare for a future collaboration at the beginning of 2013.