Vietnam Education Foundation Announces New Chairman of the Board: Christopher J. Fussner

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/—The Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) is proud to announce the appointment of Christopher J. Fussner as Chairman of the VEF Board of Directors as well as the appointment by President Barack Obama of two new Presidential appointees to the VEF Board of Directors, Ms. Sandy Hoa Dang and Dr. Isaac F. Silvera.

Mr. Christopher J. Fussner is Owner and Founder of TransTechnology Pte Ltd, a major distributor of Surface Mount Technology and Semiconductor capital equipment with offices in Singapore, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Chiangmai, Jakarta, Batam, Manila, Cebu, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hanoi, New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.

He received his B.A. in History and Asian Studies from The George Washington University and his Master of International Management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He began his international career in Ouagadougou (Upper Volta) Burkino Faso, West Africa, as Program Assistant with Catholic Relief Services. Subsequently, he joined the Church World Service devoting his time as a Refugee Resettlement Officer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he had responsibility for the Vietnamese Refugee resettlement process.

Mr. Fussner then headed the Far East sales for Amistar Corporation based in Seoul, Korea, and in Singapore and was responsible for sales and service for electronics manufacturing industry machines in Australia, the Far East, and India.

Mr. Fussner is recognized as an astute analyst of South East Asian Affairs and he has a strong commitment to American higher education. He lectures on South East Asia business and economics and U.S./Asia foreign relations. Mr. Fussner was appointed by former President Bush on October 10, 2008, to be a VEF Board Member. He was elected by the Board as its Chairman and assumed his duties on May 1, 2011.

Ms. Sandy Hoa Dang is the founder and former executive director of Asian American Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (AALEAD), an organization that supports immigrant families through a broad array of educational and social services. Ms. Dang arrived in the United States at the age of 13 after fleeing Vietnam and spending three years in Hong Kong refugee camps. Under her leadership, AALEAD transformed from a $15,000 seed grant project into a $1.5 million institution with a permanent community center, a broad base of partners and funders, and a history of innovation and impact. At present, she is a Special Initiatives Advisor at JBS International and a change management consultant for Casey Family Programs. Ms. Dang received her B.A. from Duke University, a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Masters in Social Work from Catholic University of America. She is fluent in English, Cantonese, and Vietnamese.

Dr. Isaac F. Silvera is the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University where he has taught physics and conducted research since 1982. His research is supported by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and NASA. Professor Silvera earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1971, he became a full professor at the University of Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, Professor Silvera stabilized the first Bose gas, atomic hydrogen, which led to Bose-Einstein Condensation. For this development Professor Silvera was awarded the Hewlett Packard Europhysics Prize. Recently, at the request of the Vietnamese government, he served on a team of the National Academies of the United States to advise on enhancing higher education in Vietnam in science and engineering. He has visited Vietnam several times to aid in the selection of scholars supported by VEF for studies in the United States, and he has lectured throughout Vietnam on advanced subjects in physics.

Dr. Lynne A. McNamara, VEF Executive Director, praised the work of the Board. “The VEF Board of Directors provides such valuable leadership and direction to all of our activities and programs. The Board members have varied experience and insights that lend depth to considerations of every aspect of operations and finances. I sincerely respect their efforts and their commitment to the mission and goals of VEF.” VEF is governed by a thirteen-member Board of Directors, which consists of two U.S. Senators, two U.S. Representatives, three U.S. cabinet members, and six members from the U.S. citizenry appointed by the President of the United States. The Board appoints an American Executive Director to oversee VEF operations, conducted through two highly coordinated offices: the U.S. Headquarters in the Washington, D.C., area and the Hanoi Field office in Vietnam.

VEF is a special initiative by the U.S. Congress to bring the United States and Vietnam closer through educational exchanges related to science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and technology. The Foundation is in its ninth year of operations. As its flagship activity, the VEF Fellowship program has placed 382 Fellows at 82 top-tier U.S. graduate research institutions, mostly for doctoral degrees. The two other major VEF activities are the Visiting Scholar Program for Vietnamese to pursue post-doctoral programs at U.S. universities for up to 12 months and the U.S. Faculty Scholar Grant Program for American professors to teach at Vietnamese universities for one or two terms via videoconferencing or onsite in Vietnam. VEF Fellows and Visiting Scholars are required to return to Vietnam after completing their academic programs in the United States.

For additional information on VEF, please visit the VEF website at: www.vef.gov