More than 160 people joined the Australia Vietnam Innovation Symposium on 29 August to celebrate the history of research, innovation and educational engagement between Australia and Vietnam. Co-hosted by the University of Sydney and the Consulate-General of Vietnam, the Symposium addressed shared challenges and opportunities for partnership, in particular how research and innovation can enable both countries to meet their global commitments to sustainable development.
Chaired by Professor Greg Fox, Director of the Sydney Vietnam Academic Network and from the Faculty of Medicine and Health, the Symposium featured a series of engaging discussions and presentations aimed at bolstering ties between Australian and Vietnamese industries. Roundtable discussions explored collaboration in research, science and technology and ways to enhance economic partnership and trade between the two countries.
Outcomes of events like this will contribute to better cooperation between the two countries in the next 50 years and beyond.
In the opening addressd Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Sydney, Professor Mark Scott AO, highlighted the friendships forged between Australia and Vietnam and the contributions of Vietnamese students to society.
“The enduring friendship between our nations is evident for us at the University of Sydney with our Vietnamese students, who are part of our strong international cohort, and the many alumni who have gone from here – those who've gone back to Vietnam and worked significantly with government and industry, and the many who have remained in Australia, a vital part of our society and our fabric and who are living lives that embody leadership for good.
“We're proud of playing our part over the last 50 years to build and strengthen the relationship between Australia and Vietnam – our great thinkers, our finest researchers, our most influential teachers, and recognise we will do so much more powerful work together in partnership,” said Professor Scott.
In a recorded message Vietnam's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Bui Thanh Son emphasised the role of scientific and technological innovation in the bilateral strategic partnership.
“One of the priorities in Vietnam's development strategy is to build an economy based on science, technology, innovation, digital transformation and green growth. With Australia being a leading partner, as countries are facing challenges in implementing the UN sustainable development goals in 2030, it is even more necessary for Vietnam and Australia to boost bilateral corporations in these areas to realise our common goals and aspirations.”
NSW Minister for Industry and Trade, Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, the Hon. Anoulack Chanthivong, an alumnus of the University of Sydney, spoke about the positive experience of education and a commitment to supporting innovation.
“As a proud economic student of this fine university I'm personally delighted to know it is an educational home for about 800 international Vietnamese students. A place where they will have a positive cultural and educational experience, that will change not only their lives, but also the lives of the many Australians that they'll come in contact with on this very special journey in their education.
“The NSW government is very much committed to supporting innovation to develop a more sustainable future and strengthen both of our economies. And we know that technology and innovation are at the heart of attracting significant global investment to NSW and pivotal to shaping our future industries.”
University of Sydney Vice President (External Engagement) Kirsten Andrews spoke about engagement between the two countries over five decades.
“In 1974, just a year after establishing diplomatic recognition, Australia awarded its first educational scholarship to a Vietnamese student. Since then, more than 80,000 Vietnamese students have pursued education in Australia with ongoing engagement in various educational pursuits.
“Our partnerships in Vietnam are diverse and active. They support learning and research exchange in infectious diseases, agriculture, business and innovation, maternal and child health and arts and social sciences. Beyond education, the economic ties between our nations have also flourished with the strengthening of trade and investment links.
“Furthermore, the two countries have joined efforts in addressing global challenges in environmental conservation and sustainable development, combating climate change, and promoting renewable energy,” said Ms Andrews.
In the closing address Ambassador of Vietnam to Australia, Mr Nguyen Tat Thanh, spoke about the importance of Vietnam’s partnership with Australia in science and technology, alongside economic, health and security collaborations.
“Australia is our partner of choice, and with particular regard to science and technology Australia has always been the first choice for Vietnam.
“Outcomes of events like this will contribute to better cooperation between the two countries in the next 50 years and beyond, and you will continue to have a lot of similar opportunities in the future to cooperate with Vietnamese partners.”
The Symposium was supported by the University’s Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, Sydney Vietnam Initiative and Office of Global and Research Engagement. Congratulations to all involved on bringing together a highly successful event.