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ERIC Number: ED499960
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb-10
Pages: 9
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 10
Teaching the New Vietnam: It's a Country, Not a War
McCornac, Dennis C.
Online Submission
Vietnam has made remarkable progress over the past two decades in its transition to a market economy resulting in numerous changes to both its social and economic institutions. It is a nation at peace focusing on economic development and integrating into the world economy. Although the tragic events in Vietnam's history cannot be forgotten, the image of Vietnam deeply ingrained in the American psyche as a place of napalm bombs, bloodshed, political discontent and defeat must be changed. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to offer suggestions for presenting to undergraduate students the new Vietnam as a country, not a war. First, there is a need for educators to get past the imagining Vietnam mentality and debunk the stereotypes that are often presented in the media--small-armed men in black pajamas. Vietnam should not be portrayed as an enemy or assumed that Vietnamese must harbor ill-feeling towards Americans based on their past relationship. Vietnamese have long gotten past the images of war and are concentrating on building a new, peaceful Vietnam open to the world community. Second, analyzing economic development in Vietnam requires understanding the concept of transition, a relatively new area of study and involves changes in all aspects of the economy. In Vietnam, transition and development go hand in hand. Both involve comprehensive change, involving all aspects of the economy, including labor markets, capital markets, and the organization of industry, especially privatization. This leads to a focus on understanding changes in economic and social institutions as a result of development and include such factors as the role of government, income distribution and doing business the Vietnamese way. Finally, educators should take advantage of information available online as well as make an effort to talk to individuals familiar with the Vietnam of today. Perhaps when considering Vietnam the words of a one of a former Vietnamese colleague should be note "too often commentators try to highlight the difference between Vietnam and America. But we are not so different--we all laugh, we all cry, and we all want a better life for our children." (Contains 2 footnotes.) [An earlier version of this paper was presented at the ASIANetwork Conference (April 22, 2005 ).]
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Vietnam