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First PPEP Cohort Graduates

Pictured: MPPEP graduates with Professor Le Trung Chon, Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Technology under VNU, Professors Le Van Trung, MPPEP program director and Vo Le Phu, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Environment & Natural Resources who both came to Duke as Visiting Scholars, and other Faculty members.



In February, the inaugural cohort of ten students graduated from the redesigned Master’s Program in Public Policy for Environmental Protection (MPPEP) that resulted from the collaborative venture between Vietnam National University (VNU), Duke University (DCID and NSOE), and the GE Foundation. Another eight students are expected to graduate in June 2018.

While the Master’s program was originally to be located at Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCMC), the greatest demand for training turned out to be for upgrading the skills of provincial government officials in the Central Highlands region. The MPPEP was therefore redesigned into a part-time evening executive education program and is now located at Tay Nguyen University where it is run in partnership with VNU’s University of Technology and other universities under VNU-HCMC.

The initiative for the program came from the GE Foundation which had approached Duke in mid-2009 and provided a grant of $300,000. The principal achievements of the program are:

  • Joint design of the curriculum for the MPPEP program;
  • Identification of the areas of expertise not previously available at VNU-HCMC, and the subsequent arrangement of a visiting scholar program for selected VNU faculty to acquire exposure and mentoring in these areas at Duke University (NSOE and DCID);
  • Establishment of professional partnerships between 9 VNU faculty and about 12 Duke faculty during the semester the visiting VNU scholars spent at Duke;
  • Collaborative research between one of the visiting faculty and her NSOE counterpart that resulted in the publication “Arsenic Exposure to Drinking Water in the Mekong Delta” published in;
  • Organization by VNU of internships for two NSOE students who were supervised by former VNU visiting faculty; and,
  • Redesign of the program into an executive education program for provincial government officials.