UB's Vietnamese Executive Program aims to encourage business contacts, trade


News Services Staff

HE WORLD Languages Institute at UB is coordinating a new program that will bring a group of Vietnamese business executives to Western New York this summer. An estimated 15-20 executives from small- and medium-sized Vietnamese companies will be here from July 27 through Aug. 10 to learn about American culture and business practices in both formal and informal settings.

The Vietnamese Executive Program is one of the first-if not the first-of its kind in the United States to facilitate interaction between Vietnamese and American businesses to the end of encouraging international trade, according to George Buchanan, director of the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"Any interaction like this one that takes place in Western New York serves to stimulate profitable trade between the two countries, and benefits businesses in this region seeking to engage in such trade," Buchanan added.

One highlight of the program will be meetings between the visitors and local executives representing a variety of businesses and industries that are interested in doing business in Vietnam or are already doing so. The meetings will assist the local business executives to establish contacts with their Vietnamese counterparts and exchange information, ideas and trade possibilities.

Other activities for the visitors will include an orientation session on American culture, business and society; visits to local import/export-oriented companies and tour production facilities; lectures (translated into Vietnamese) about business and economic development in New York State, Western New York and Southern Ontario; a two-day sightseeing visit to New York City, including a visit to Wall Street, and an overnight homestay as a guest of a Western New York family.

The Vietnam Executive Program will be coordinated by Hoang Vu Cuong, a Harvard-Yenching Fellow and doctoral candidate in International Trade in the UB Department of Geography.

Hoang, who is a Vietnamese language tutor at UB, also directs UB's new "Summer in Vietnam" exchange program, a language and culture program at the Dong Do University of Science and Technology, a private university founded by a group of eminent Vietnamese educators and scientists in Hanoi. The program is open to all Western New York residents.

Mark Ashwill, director of the World Languages Institute, said the Vietnamese Executive Program was suggested to UB by faculty and staff at Dong Do University.

The new venture is not as academically oriented as UB's International Executive Program, which emphasizes language education and management training over cultural familiarity, personal and business relationships.

"In order to successfully conduct business in Vietnam," said Ashwill, "it is very important for foreign business people to establish personal contacts with their Vietnamese peers and become familiar with the business situation in that country."

This is particularly important in the jewelry business, Ashwill added, and several of the Vietnamese executives who will be coming here in July are in that field.

Ashwill noted that the program is a prime example of the way in which UB, its faculty and various departments use their considerable resources to serve a need in the Western New York community at no cost to either the community or the institution.

Besides the International Trade Administration, entities working with UB's World Languages Institute, part of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, to make the program possible are UB School of Management, UB English Language Institute, Canada-U.S. Trade Center at UB, Western New York International Trade Council, Council on International Visitors and several local companies.

Cooperating Vietnamese institutions are the Executive Training Center for Non-State Enterprises and the Department of Business Administration at Dong Do University.

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