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The President of SSRC and the President of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences signed a memorandum of understanding to extend over 30 years of collaboration in research, training, and scientific collaboration.

Meeting participants: (Seated left to right) Alondra Nelson and Nguyen Quang Thuan.(Standing left to right) Van Tran, Mary McDonnell, Dang Nguyen Anh, Nguyen Thanh Ha, Nguyen Thi Hoai Le, and Nguyen Duc Vinh.


Thirty years after signing the first historic memorandum of understanding in September 1988, SSRC and VASS affirmed their intent to continue to cooperate in social science research, training, exchange, knowledge and data sharing, and policy consultation. The agreement expressed SSRC and VASS’ commitment to collaborate based on four integrated modalities:

1. Training to equip social scientists with new and interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to investigate rapid socioeconomic change and its social implications, and to communicate their findings and implications;

2. Research on current and future social dimensions of socioeconomic development;

3. Policy consultation to inform both the decision-makers and the environment in which policies and decisions are made; and

4. Sharing knowledge and data.


Professor Thuan thanked SSRC for over 30 years of support and praised highly the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary social research methods training program in advancing the capacity of VASS researchers. The program has been institutionalized within VASS’ Graduate Academy of Social Sciences (GASS), where it continues to be a part of the core curriculum. President Alondra Nelson also expressed the Council’s appreciation for VASS’ support over the years and for the excellent hosting of the recent Conference on InterAsian Connections VI in Hanoi, December 4-7, 2018.


(Left) Dr. Mary McDonnell gives opening remarks at the Conference on InterAsian Connections VI, providing an overview of SSRC’s work in Asia and highlighting ongoing work in Vietnam. (Right) Drs. Prasenjit Duara, Alondra Nelson, and Dang Nguyen Anh present in a panel on Social Knowledge and Boundary Crossing.


Since the mid-1980s, the Council has partnered with VASS to:

  • promote academic and information exchange between Vietnamese researchers and foreign counterparts;
  • develop short workshops on social science concepts and methods;
  • collaborate with the Southern Institute of Social Sciences on a project to enhance research, training, institution building, and network creation by examining poverty and socioeconomic mobility in the context of rapid urbanization in southern Vietnam;
  • train 120 researchers—most of whom were from VASS—in the first ever interdisciplinary social science research training program in Vietnam (this program is now institutionalized within GASS);
  • organize study programs in the US for delegations headed by the president and vice president of VASS on various topics, including the rule of law (2004), humanities (2006), international relations (2009), social work and public policy graduate degrees for GASS (2012), human rights (2013), US involvement in Vietnam from 1954-1975 (2017), and disciplinary, state, and regional encyclopedias (2017);
  • review Doi Moi in 1990 and 2005, looking at Vietnamese youths under 20 years of Doi Moi;
  • carry out the longitudinal Provincial Population Health Study in three provinces in Vietnam, hold training workshops, and disseminate key findings (2008-2018); and
  • organize the Conference on InterAsian Connections VI in Hanoi (2018).


Also present at the ceremony were director and associate director of the SSRC’s Vietnam Program, Mary Byrne McDonnell and Van Bich Thi Tran, and leaders from VASS, including: Professor Dr. Dang Nguyen Anh, Vice President of VASS; Mr. Nguyen Thanh Ha, Director of the International Cooperation Department; Associate Professor Dr. Nguyen Thi Hoai Le, Director of the Scientific Management Department; and Associate Professor Dr. Nguyen Duc Vinh, Director of the Institute of Sociology.