“I am humbled that my entry received recognition from the panel,” the environmental specialist from University of Toronto expressed his thoughts on winning.

From an environmental profession, Lee Andre Chan said he’s keenly interested in the city’s vulnerability to climate change, so he wanted to help strengthen adaptation and resilience.

In 2013, he even developed in his spare time a roadmap to a sustainable city specifically for Ho Chi Minh City.

“The city should capitalize on greening, circularity and internet opportunities that would both elevate it economically and environmentally on the world stage,” he said.

 “A global marketing program would showcase these achievements.”

Lee Andre Chan won the prize thanks to his entry suggesting a number of solutions to make Ho Chi Minh City a sustainable and livable city that meets UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“A livable Ho Chi Minh City would meet several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by embracing a circular economy that reduces waste and improves the urban environment and socio-economic prosperity,” he wrote in the winning entry.

In his plan for Ho Chi Minh City to go global, Lee Andre Chan pointed out how the city should ease traffic with bus rapid transit systems, as well as go green with electric-powered scooters and cars, as well as green infrastructure.

“A successful circular economy program can be showcased to demonstrate globally Ho Chi Minh City’s commitment to clean oceans, job creation for the poor, and resource conservation opportunities,” he wrote.

According to him, this contest was an opportunity to not only suggest ideas based on his experience and expertise, but to also learn other ideas from its residents.

“I am hopeful that these ideas can be further developed and implemented in the city with official support,” he expressed.

“From my childhood memories and recent visits, Ho Chi Minh City has a special place in my heart and I hope that it continues to develop in prosperity as well as sustainably.

“It is a unique city which can become a more globally recognized metropolis,” he concluded.

Lee Andre Chan is seen in a photo he provided Tuoi Tre News
Lee Andre Chan is seen in a photo he provided Tuoi Tre News

In explaining his interest in the contest, Lee Andre Chan said many of his relatives including his mother are from Bac Lieu Province in the Mekong Delta.

“I have visited Ho Chi Minh City many times for both tourism and a climate change resilience project in the delta involving Vietnamese non-for-profit organizations. I, therefore, have Vietnamese ethnicity and have fond memories of Ho Chi Minh City.”

The ‘Ho Chi Minh City Goes Global’ contest, an open forum for readers to contribute their ideas and solutions to raise the position of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City in the international arena, has wrapped up after a two-month journey, with ten prize winners announced.

The contest was co-organized by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper and the Ho Chi Minh City Department of External Relations, along with the accompaniment of Global Embassy and Vietnam Signature.

From June 16 to August 16, the organizing board received over 420 entries including articles, PowerPoint files, graphics, and video clips presented in both Vietnamese and English.

Aside from Vietnamese contestants, many foreigners who are living in Ho Chi Minh City or have visited the metropolis also participated in the competition.

“I am very honored to be one of the winners of this contest,” Guillaume Rondan who won a consolation prize with his video entry of five minutes presenting why Ho Chi Minh City should be Asia’s new business-friendly hub.

In his Vietnamese and English subtitled video, Guillaume Rondan suggested the southern metropolis should relax visa policies for foreigners, as well as tax incentives for entrepreneurs, among other suggestions for the city to develop.

“Obviously, not all the ideas will be implemented, especially right now the top priority is keeping everyone safe and healthy, but I am still grateful that Tuoi Tre has organized this contest for people to speak their mind and contribute to the growth of the city we love,” he told Tuoi Tre News.

Guillaume Rondan is seen in a photo he provided Tuoi Tre News
Guillaume Rondan is seen in a photo he provided Tuoi Tre News

“Over the last two years, I have seen more and more foreigners contacting me through my company Movetoasia.com to find job opportunities, open businesses or invest in Vietnam,” he added.

“I am confident that this trend will keep going up in the next few years as Vietnam has been getting attention in the international market.”
“That’s the reason for my application to focus on key topics such as visa policy for foreigners, incentives to attract more investors or business owners as well as easier conditions for foreigners wanting to settle down for the long term in Vietnam,” he explained.

Guillaume Rondan said he will continue to stay optimistic on the rebound of the economy after this current chaotic time, as he believed the authorities are doing their best to protect the entire country.

Video participating in Ho Chi Minh City Goes Global contest by Guillaume Rondan

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