For American National University President Frank Longaker, it was a full circle more than 40 years in the making. After returning from 18 months in the jungles of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, the decorated Special Forces officer and Kentucky native embarked on a new career as an instructor at the Lexington Campus of the storied institution that became American National University this past March.
On Friday, April 26, Mr. Longaker – now president of ANU and its affiliated National College, comprising 31 campuses in six states – sat down with counterparts from two universities from Vietnam and signed cooperative agreements that could see Vietnamese students coming to the Salem and Tysons Corner, Virginia campuses of ANU in large numbers in coming months.
“We look forward to working with Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City—International University and Dong A University in a variety of academic and cultural endeavors,” said President Longaker. “The agreements we have recently made with these two institutions will, we believe, lead to a long and fruitful relationship that will benefit students of both of our countries.”
The Vietnamese institutions were drawn to American National University by the combination of its English as a Second Language (ESL) programs as well as the career-focused programs in business, information technology, and health care the university offers. In addition to ESL and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) education for Vietnamese students, the institutions have discussed a variety of additional activities, including short-term training for Vietnamese small-scale business enterprises, 2+2 programs leading to a bachelor’s degree from ANU for Vietnamese students completing their first two years at their home institution; similar 1+1 master’s degree programs for Vietnamese ESL instructors from both ANU and IU, who will receive practical training at ANU (including the opportunity to teach American students in English); and student, faculty, and administrative staff exchanges.
“Implementing these agreements will help ANU have a greater position in the higher education world, and help UDA and IU acknowledge the qualities of their graduates,” said Dr. Nguyen V. Muoi, ESL program director for ANU’s Tysons Corner Campus. “These agreements will be a win-win-win, for ANU, for UDA and IU, and for all students.”
[img]Senior administrators from the two Vietnamese universities visited the ANU flagship campus in Salem, as well as the satellite campus in Tysons Corner, Virginia. During the visits, they held discussions with American National University faculty, staff, and students, including a current ESL student from Vietnam.
The agreements were signed after an educational forum sponsored by the Embassy of Vietnam in Washington, DC. While several American universities were in attendance at the forum, American National University was the only institution to sign cooperative agreements.
“The forum has contributed to developing higher education relations between the US and Vietnam and improving the quality and effectiveness of English language education to meet the growing demand in both countries,” commented Dr. Muoi. “The forum will improve the current and future educational capacities in both of our countries.”
As for history, President Longaker was reflective. “While there are some—on both sides of the Vietnam conflict—who still harbor bad feelings, my view is that you can’t live in the past,” he said. “The best way to honor the sacrifices of those who fought on both sides is to do our best to work in a new spirit of friendship and cooperation that will benefit both the people of Vietnam and the people of America.”
In the top photo, ANU president Frank Longaker (second from right) and Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City—International University president Ho Thanh Phong signed cooperative agreements, while Vietnamese ambassador to the United States Nguyen Quoc Cuong (far left) and Dr. Sylvia W. Crowder, director, International and Foreign Language Education, US Dept. of Education, look on.
In the bottom photo, ANU director of admissions & international programs Ron Smith, Roanoke Valley ESL director Eric Rothgery, Dong A University director of international relations Long Minh An, Dong A University vice president Tran Thi Hong, and ANU president Frank Longaker on the ANU campus in Salem in April 2013.