NFP Alumni event in Vietnam
On 26 and 27 October 2016, a thematic alumni event with the focus on Water took place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The theme of the conference was ‘Challenges that are posed to sustainable development and livelihood in the Mekong Delta’. Fifty Vietnamese alumni were present, all with a specialty in the field of water and agriculture. After a warm welcome by the Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Simon van der Burg, the conference kicked off with two highly experienced keynote speakers sharing their expertise and knowledge on water management and agricultural development in one of the largest Delta’s in the world: the Mekong Delta. They were followed by three Dutch organisations active in Vietnam: Vitens Evides, Pernam and Fresh Studio, who presented their activities in sustainable development in the Delta, as well as recommendations for future initiatives. The day was closed with a selection of poster presentations by alumni for alumni. The second day of the event was fully dedicated to round-table sessions on different themes revolving around water: Ecosystem - agriculture and coastal management, water planning, governance and the nexus of water-agriculture-energy, Water quality: the effect of agriculture on the environment and waste management and Capacity building to strengthen sustainable development. All alumni could join two sessions. The sessions were led by alumni present at the conference who are all experts in their field. The session on water quality was led by PHD fellows of Unesco-IHE and WUR. The session on capacity building was in part led by Dr Joop de Wit of ISS. During a plenary feedback session, it was clear that the day was filled with in-depth discussion and lessons learned on the past as well as recommendations for the future could be formulated. The organizing team, consisting of members of the NFP team in the Hague and the team of Neso Vietnam received many positive reactions during and after the event. Alumni indicated they learned many things that were specifically relevant for their jobs, as well as meet new contacts that will be supportive in their working life. As always, the aspect of meeting old friends is cherished during alumni events. In the same week, on 24 and 25 October, a Dutch Trade Mission was visiting Vietnam. Twelve Vietnamese alumni were invited to take part in the programme on 25 October, that was specifically dedicated to building sustainable business models in the agrifood sector. Examples of a.o. Unilever, Friesland Campina and Heineken were shared on decreasing the use of water as well as usage of sustainable energy and recycling waste during the production process. Alumni were active contributors during the discussion and were especially interested in how SME’s could learn and profit from the experience of multinationals in sustainable development and how SME’s and multinational could partner in order to implement sustainability broadly in Vietnamese society. The companies present at the trade mission highlighted the contributions of the alumni as relevant, pro-active and valuable. Would you like to receive more information? Please contact Willemijn van Os at Nuffic, firstname.lastname@example.org or Bang Pham, email@example.com at Neso Vietnam.