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Ferris Welcomes Vietnamese Delegation

BIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University will welcome five An Giang University leaders April 5 through 8 while the delegation is visiting the United States to further enhance educational opportunities in Vietnam.

An Giang University is located in Long Xuyen, Vietnam, the capital city of An Giang Province in the Mekong River Delta, about 124 miles from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

While at Ferris, An Giang's Rector Dr. Xuan Tong VO will present the Ferris Fulbright Lecture at 11 a.m. April 6 in Science 102 on "Sustainable Food Production for All: Vietnam as a Model for the 21st Century." Xuan received his doctoral degree in the field of agriculture in Japan and has written several books, as well as numerous articles and scientific reports, on various topics dealing with rice production and farming systems in Vietnam and the Philippines. He also is on the board of the Rockefeller Foundation.

The delegation is visiting Michigan under the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership program to learn more about curriculum development, education assessment and accreditation, graduate programs and transfer programs with U.S. institutions. An Giang's leadership efforts coincide with the university's five-year vision to increase its student population, the number of faculty and raise AGU to world standards.

One of three key institutions in the Mekong River Delta, An Giang is a relatively new university, beginning as a two-year technical college and being established as a university in 1999. An Giang is the primary provider of teachers, medical, agricultural and environmental personnel to the Mekong River Delta and biotechnological personnel to the nearby Cuu Long Rice Research Institute.

The university is undergoing rapid development and currently has approximately 341 faculty and 7,500 students. During the previous five years, Dr. Phillip Watson, a professor of biology at Ferris, has made many contacts with Xuan. Watson also spent a sabbatical semester teaching in the biology and agriculture departments and took a study abroad class to An Giang.

Leaders from An Giang also will be visiting universities in California and North Carolina before returning to Vietnam.