Recently, our Chancellor, the Honourable Andrew Fraser, hosted two events in Vietnam for our Vietnamese alumni. In preparation for this the Griffith Archive was contacted for content on our relationship with Vietnam.
The Archive receives a wide variety of requests for content or information relating to the university. Requests for information and content cover areas such as the history of a university building, events and ceremonies hosted by the university, and the history of our Schools and students.
The Archive provided several stories and images on our connection with Vietnam, which is a close relationship that goes back to the 1970s.
As a result of the Vietnam War (which ended in 1975), thousands of Vietnamese people emigrated or fled to Australia. In 1977, our university recognised the importance of supporting these people and worked with the Queensland Government to provide home tutoring in English for the Vietnamese.
By 1980, we had introduced an intensive Vietnamese language course for public and private sector employees who were providing services and support for Vietnamese migrants.
One of our most enduring Vietnamese connections is with Phan Thi Kim Phuc, or the ‘The Girl in the Picture’. Despite receiving life-threatening injuries as a nine-year old during the Vietnam War, Kim Phuc has prospered in her adult life and been a champion for peace and is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
In 2002, she agreed to ‘star’ in our ‘Get Smarter’ advertising campaign. Our university has recognised Kim Phuc’s extraordinary life and her community service by awarding her an Honorary Doctorate in 2005. Kim Phuc and Vietnam remain close and important friends of our university.