I just returned from Hanoi Vietnam where I attended the conference “Building Partnerships in Southeast Asia: Opportunities and Challenges for the U.S. The conference was wonderful. I met a ton of interesting Americans working on Fulbrights. I also got to do some site-seeing in Hanoi.
There were so many great presentations! I highlight a few of the most interesting talks here:
- Teaching the war in Vietnam….in Vietnam by Dr. John Milam
- Vietnamese students asked to name the first thing they thought of when they heard the word “America”, one third of the Vietnamese said “rich”, one third said “rock n roll”, and one third said “Hollywood”. Asked the same questions about Vietnam, 95% of Americans said “war”. One of Milam’s many goals is to teach Americans that Vietnam is more than just a war and to teach Vietnamese that America is more than just, rich, rock n roll, and Hollywood.
- Contracting for property rights in Indonesia: community fisheries, marine conservation, and dive tourism by Dr. Michael DeAlessi.
- Sustainable dive tourism has the potential to protect from over-fishing
- The distribution of helminthic neglected tropical diseases of the Philippines by Amelia Breyre
- More than 80% of the populations have worms! Amelia is trying to determine where and why and how this number can be reduced.
Be careful crossing the road here or even walking. There are not sidewalks and motorbikes whiz by from every direction!
The main differences between Laos and Vietnam are due to the difference in population size and density. Laos has only 6.5 million people while Vietnam has a population of 90 million people. Due to the high population density in Vietnam, pickpocketing, theft, scams, vehicle accidents, and violence are much more common. One of the Fulbright researchers had $400 stolen from his back-pocket. So as much as I liked Hanoi, I am very glad to be back to the slow-pace of life in Laos.