Delegates of the inaugural Australia–Vietnam Young Leadership Dialogue (AVYLD) gathered in Sydney in May 2017 to participate in a series of workshops and presentations aimed towards building stronger bonds between the two nations.
The AVYLD is an independent non-profit initiative that was established to nurture relationships, promote engagement and incubate collaboration between Australian and Vietnamese young leaders from a broad spectrum of society.
The concept for the Dialogue emerged from conversations between project co-founders Thao Nguyen, Rachel Bui and Khai Ngo, all of whom have experience working with various Vietnamese communities across the education, technology and non-for-profit sectors.
The co-founders identified many synergies between Vietnam and Australia and believe that strengthening the bilateral relationship and nurturing young leaders will enhance the economic, social and cultural prosperity of both nations.
The four-day Dialogue was broken up into the major themes of ‘Leadership’ (day 1), ‘Education’ (day 2), ‘Business Trade & Entrepreneurship’ (day 3), and ‘National Development (day 4).
The program involved several diverse elements, including an induction session where delegates connected with each other through the theme of ‘authenticity’.
‘The Dialogue was a forum to incubate collaborative partnerships that will accelerate positive impact in our world,’ says Thao Nguyen, AVYLD Board Chair and co-founder.
‘The delegates represent the future of the bilateral relationship, it was not just an intellectual conference, many of the delegates expressed it was a transformative, personal experience unlike anything they have attended.’
At the ‘Design Thinking and Pitching’ workshops, delegates formed small groups to work on challenges they had previously proposed and voted on. Workshops provided delegates with the opportunity to collaborate in a hands-on environment, understand the process of rapid prototyping and validate their ideas.
‘A few delegates have started further research into their initiatives post-dialogue which we’re very excited about,’ says AVYLD co-founder, Rachel Bui.
For a bit of fun, there was even a break dancing session where delegates learnt hip hop dance moves and were asked to choreograph a dance routine together.
The Dialogue ended with a three-hour cruise around Sydney Harbour.
‘There were a lot of photos and selfies, plenty of singing and dancing, but the most memorable moment was watching Vietnamese delegate Hoang Dao’s daughter showing us all how to dance properly,’ says Rachel.
According to the AVYLD delegates, some memorable highlights of the Dialogue included discussions around ‘Education for an increasingly globalised world’, and hearing from the ‘Alternative Learning Panel’, which provided an overview of challenges in education and how technology can help to provide a different learning experience for students.
The ‘Journeys of Australian and Vietnamese entrepreneurs’ panel shared their experiences as entrepreneurs and some of the challenges that they confront in exporting to foreign markets.
Wrapping things up, the keynote presentation, ‘Past, present and future between Australia and Vietnam’, was presented by Australia ASEAN Council Chair and CEO of Blackmores, Christine Holgate.
Christine spoke about the opportunities in Vietnam as well as Blackmores’ experience expanding to Asia, and ended her speech by sharing her experience as a leader and her hopes for young people to be more engaged with Asia.
Christine was one of several experts from across a wide range of sectors to address delegates over the four days.
The selected 19 delegates (10 Australian and 9 Vietnamese) were chosen from a pool of 375 submitted applicants and over 1400 expressions of interest.
‘There wasn’t a platform in Australia that focused on building deep relationships between young Australian and young Vietnamese leaders until the AVYLD,’ says Rachel.
‘Through the inaugural Dialogue, great relationships have been formed amongst the delegates from Australia and Vietnam, which will lead to further introductions and people-to-people links as we help to build and accelerate trust between the two countries.’
The AVYLD is supported by the Australia ASEAN Council.
The Australia–ASEAN Council, launched by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on 8 September 2015, generates opportunities for Australian business, education, science and innovation, and the arts to work with partners in South East Asia.
Visit www.australiavietnam.org for more information on the project.
Follow the AVYLD on Facebook at www.facebook.com/avyld/