An opportunity to learn English and enhance economic development in Vietnam has been established thanks to a partnership between Trinity Western University, the Township of Langley, and the City of Ha Tinh.
A Canada Reading Room was created at Ha Tinh University as one of several legacies left to the Vietnamese City by Langley Township. The room was officially dedicated on Dec. 2 by staff from TWU and the Township, who were in Vietnam to complete an international partnership project.
â€œThis is the sort of international cooperation that ultimately leads to a stronger global society and stronger international trade,â€ said Township Mayor Jack Froese. â€œWe really value the relationships and friendships that were created through this program and hope the City of Ha Tinh continues to reap the benefits for years to come.â€
In 2011, the Township joined a Municipal Partners for Economic Development (MPED) initiative that paired municipalities in Canada to cities in the developing world, to help provide knowledge, expertise, and economic development support. Funding for the project came from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) so the municipalities were able to collaborate and support each other without using the financial resources of either city.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Association of Cities of Vietnam paired Langley Township with Ha Tinh City in central Vietnam. In early 2012, TWU was invited to collaborate with Ha Tinh University to support the larger project between the two cities.
â€œGiven TWUâ€™s longstanding involvement in humanitarian student projects around the world and our growing global engagement strategy, this project was embraced by many groups within the TWU community,â€ said TWU associate provost and international liaison officer Philip Laird.
It was also an opportunity for TWU to help the people in Ha Tinh learn English.
â€œEnglish is the language of global business,â€ Laird added. â€œA key to economic growth in the developing world is to broaden the use of English among people within the community.â€
While Ha Tinh University is the provincial center of higher education, there are very few English language texts and resources for the student and faculty to use.
In the summer of 2014, books were donated from across the TWU campus, including the School of Business, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, and Social Sciences programs. The Township also contributed used library books that were no longer in circulation in its system.
Sixty boxes holding approximately 1,200 books were sent to Vietnam.
To make space for the donations, Ha Tinh Unviersity provided a 500 square foot room in its library specifically for The Canada Reading Room, and the City of Ha Tinh ensured the books were received.
In addition, TWU sent a team of faculty and students to Ha Tinh in August of 2014 to provide basic English support. The university plans to send another team in the summer of 2015.
â€œTWU develops leaders who make an impact through serving in communities and organizations around the world,â€ said TWU president Bob Kuhn. â€œHundreds of students, faculty, and staff are involved in global service and learning projects each year. Serving others is not just something we do, it is who we are. It is in our DNA.â€
In early December, Laird was joined by Gary MacKinnon and Bob Andrews from the Townshipâ€™s Economic Development department as they completed the MPED project in Vietnam. Their task was to review Ha Tinhâ€™s first economic development strategy and support its initiatives, including the Canada Reading Room.