Drawing on the Fulbright School's (FETP) many linkages with national and local government, think tanks, and universities, Harvard Kennedy School and FETP economists and policy analysts engage in innovative research on the socioeconomic challenges facing Vietnam. This research is used to engage in policy dialogue with the government and the donor community, and infuses FETPâ€™s teaching programs with real-world insights and an intellectual vibrancy that sets FETP apart among Vietnamâ€™s institutions of higher education.
Descriptions follow of the Vietnam Program's specific research areas: Vietnam's Socioeconomic Development, Higher Education & Institutional Innovation in Vietnam, and Regional Research. View the Vietnam Program's latest researchÂ»
Vietnam's Socioeconomic Development
Drawing on the Fulbright Schoolâ€™s (FETP) many linkages with national and local government, think tanks, and universities, Harvard Kennedy School and FETP economists and policy analysts engage in innovative research on the socioeconomic challenges facing Vietnam. This collaborative network ensures that our policy analysis responds to the needs and challenges of Vietnamese policymakers. We also bring comparative perspectives to bear on our analysis of Vietnamese policy problems. In particular, the development experience of other countries in the region can help clarify the strategic options confronting Vietnam. This research is used to engage in policy dialogue with the government and donor community, and infuses FETPâ€™s teaching programs with real-world insights and an intellectual vibrancy that sets FETP apart among Vietnamâ€™s institutions of higher education.
Higher Education & Institutional Innovation in Vietnam
For more than a decade we have studied the challenges confronting Vietnam in higher education and science. We believe that the Task Force on Higher Education and Societyâ€™s study of higher education in developing countries provides a valuable analytical framework for considering both the nature of the problem and potential solutions. Today we are active participants in a dialogue with Vietnamese and international stakeholders regarding strategies for creating new Vietnamese institutions of higher learning.
Institutional innovationâ€”the development of public institutions that are responsive to the heavy demands of modern societyâ€”is a necessary component of Vietnamâ€™s continued development. This conviction underscores our commitment to the Fulbright School as an independent, self-sustaining institution of higher learning that enshrines the core principles of excellence including autonomy, merit-based selection systems, and academic space. At the same time, we observe that the established paradigms of academic exchange through which international universities engage with the world are incapable of supporting the creation of new institutions of higher learning that Vietnam requires.
Our experience developing the Fulbright School in an environment without an established tradition of independent institutions has meant that on many occasions we play the role of â€śsystems integrator,â€ť identifying new avenues through which international institutionsâ€”especially but not exclusively universitiesâ€”can engage with Vietnam.
Regional Research: Cambodia, Burma, and Indonesia
Although we focus primarily on Vietnam, Vietnam Program personnel occasionally conduct research on other countries in Southeast Asia. This research combines political and economic analysis of public problems. We typically begin by identifying the policy restraints to improved economic and human development outcomes in particular sectors. We augment this analysis with an examination of the political obstacles to policy change. These insights are used to ensure that our policy recommendations are tailored to the political economy of decision making. We combine research with policy dialogue by engaging with political, economic, and civil society leaders. Although we primarily address domestic policy challenges, depending on a countryâ€™s specific context we also consider barriers to improved relations with the international community, including the United States.
In recent years we have pursued or are pursuing research projects in Cambodia, Myanmar/Burma, and Indonesia. Our research in Cambodia examined policy barriers to more inclusive and sustainable development. In Myanmar/Burma, we conducted an assessment of the agricultural economy, with an emphasis on the rice value chain. Our research in Indonesia examined the strengths and weaknesses of the countryâ€™s economy and institutions, and provided a framework for designing a strategy aiming at achieving sustained economic development.