U of A Forges Relationship with Two of Vietnam's Largest Universities

Thanh Toan Ha, rector of Can Tho University, and U of A Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz.
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Thanh Toan Ha, rector of Can Tho University, and U of A Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz.

Earlier this semester, Ruben Michael Ceballos, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, met with a delegation from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam at a U.S. State Department meeting in Washington, D.C. 

There, he delivered a presentation on ongoing research and student training collaborations between his lab at the U of A and labs at two of Vietnam's largest universities, namely Vietnam National University and Can Tho University. Officials from the science and technology units of the U.S. Department of State and the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C., were present, as well as representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.

This meeting was the beginning of a week-long journey for the Vietnamese delegation, which was supported by the U.S. State Department's International Voluntary Leadership Program and which sought to promote the Lower Mekong Research Collaboration Initiative. 

Meanwhile back in Fayetteville, Jeannine Durdik, associate dean of Natural Sciences at Fulbright College, and Dawn Fisher, assistant to the dean at the college, worked diligently to organize a conference and campus tour for the following week, when these officials from the U.S. Department of State and the Vietnam would visit the U of A campus.

After traveling to Louisiana and Mississippi, the delegation arrived on campus at U of A for a series of discussions on how to enhance collaborative research and student training opportunities for both U.S. and Vietnamese students through the current NSF Research Coordination Network grant (award no. 1624171; PI-Ceballos) and other funding opportunities. 

Thanh Toan Ha, rector of Can Tho University, and the Vietnamese delegation met with U of A Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz and Provost Jim Coleman to discuss needs for an updated and enhanced memorandum of understanding between the University of Arkansas and Can Tho University to facilitate research and student exchange.

The memorandum of understanding was finalized and signed in April, and as a result 24 faculty members and students will be conducting research in the Lower Mekong Basin this summer.

Academics units from across campus provided the delegation with information about past and current U of A research efforts in Vietnam. Currently, two Vietnamese scholars are completing research exchanges in the Ceballos Lab and have applied to the U of A Cell and Molecular Biology program — one to the master's program and the other to the doctoral program.  

Two additional Vietnamese doctoral student applicants have been admitted to the Cell and Molecular Biology program with an anticipated fall 2017 start date. 

This effort is part of U of A's continued dedication to forge meaningful international research and student training collaborations. Shared interests in climate change research, aquaponics, river systems ecology, rice production, and other topics position U of A as a primary resource and valued partnered in Vietnam.

For more information regarding faculty and student research and student training opportunities in Vietnam or Thailand, please contact ceballos@uark.edu

Contacts

Ruben Michael Ceballos, assistant professor
Department of Biological Sciences
479-575-5643, ceballos@uark.edu

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