In 2003, the DAAD opened its regional office at the Vietnamese-German Centre of the Hanoi University of Science & Technology (HUST). In the 15 years since its founding, almost 8,000 Vietnamese have been funded by the DAAD, and the DAAD has invested around 65 million euros in the academic exchange between Vietnam and Germany.

Earlier, German Ambassador Christian Berger and HUST President Prof. Hoang Minh Son emphasized the importance of the successful academic cooperation between the two countries and acknowledged the great contribution of the DAAD.

Ambassador Christian Berger, Anke Stahl and Stefan Hase-Bergen, current Head of the DAAD Regional Office Hanoi, then awarded the scholarship certificates to around 30 newly selected DAAD scholarship holders in the presence of around 150 alumni in a festive ceremony.

In terms of content, the alumni meeting connected to the big DAAD meeting at the HUST one year ago: “Environment and Health – Recent Trends” was the topic this year, to which the speakers of the four main lectures devoted themselves. Climate change, with its partly devastating consequences for Vietnam in particular, such as typhoons, floods or even droughts, poses a great danger for the entire region, explained environmental scientist Dr. Ing. Nguyen Phuong Nam of the Center for Responding to Climate Change. Prof. Frauke Kraas from the University of Cologne pointed out the great influence that increasing urbanization has on people’s health. Unfortunately, this influence would be considered too little in urban planning. On the positive as well as the negative influences of the environment on the health of humans, accentuated Prof. Dr. Nguyen Vu Quoc Huy, Vice Rector of Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy. He demanded: “Think big – start small!” Finally, Win Maung, chairman of the “Myanmar Environment Institute”, explained the partially very harmful human influence on the environment in Myanmar, for example in coal mining or the deforestation of forests.

At the 2017 Alumni Meeting, the “Green Champions of Southeast Asia” competition was launched. At the alumni meeting in 2018, the three winning projects from Vietnam and Cambodia were presented: a children’s playground made from recycled plastic waste, the use of recycled plastic waste for fish farming and the cleaning of heavily polluted water from the mining industry. The three winners will be invited by the German Foreign Ministry and the German Embassy in Hanoi for a themed trip to Germany.

The DAAD alumna Ajantha Perera, the initiator of this competition, encouraged the alumni at the end of the day to show commitment to environmental protection: “You can make a difference. But you have to start. The time is now!”