Four British Council Alumni Recognized for Outstanding Contributions to Society

Four Vietnamese finalists of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2023-2024 Vietnam were recognized by the British Council in Vietnam on March 1st.

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This year, the outstanding achievements of four finalists were celebrated across four award categories: Science and Sustainability, Culture and Creativity, Business Innovation, and Social Action.

The recipient of the Science and Sustainability prize was Associate Professor Dr. Le Kim Phung, who previously studied at the University of Sheffield. Dr. Phung is currently the Director of the Refining and Petrochemical Technology Research Center (RPTC) and the Head of the Sustainable Engineering Research Group at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HCMUT). She completed her PhD in Chemical Process Engineering in the UK in 2008 and has since expanded her research and application of advanced environmental technology. Dr. Phung has secured international sponsorships from the US, Japan, and various other Asian countries. Recently, she was honored with the 2022 Hitachi Foundation’s Outstanding Innovation Award.

Associate Professor Dr. Le Kim Phung. (Photo: British Council)

Dr. Phung’s exceptional research areas include renewable energy, biomass, refining, and biorecovery. Her inventions offer environmentally friendly solutions for wastewater treatment and biofuel production, contributing to sustainable development in Vietnam and worldwide.

The Culture and Creativity prize was awarded to architect Nguyen Phuc Minh, who previously studied at the University of Bath and the University of Gloucestershire. Minh has accumulated 10 years of experience at Foster + Partners, a leading architectural firm based in London. He has been involved in several notable projects, such as the Thang Long Theater, the masterplan for Thu Thiem’s new urban area in Ho Chi Minh City, St. Petersburg New Holland in Russia, and Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan. Thanks to his significant contributions, Minh has become a member of the Royal Society of British Architects.

Architect Nguyen Phuc Minh. (Photo: British Council)

Upon returning to Vietnam, Minh co-founded MPN + Partners to deliver designs that carry depth and meaning to a wider audience.

Minh has received multiple international accolades for his dedication to meaningful architecture that has a positive impact on the environment and community development. Through talks, seminars, and consultancy sessions, he shares his expertise and inspires the younger generation. He is also involved in promoting cultural exchanges by bringing students from the University of Bath and international students to Vietnam for enriching experiences.

The Business and Innovation prize was presented to Nguyen Thi Hai Thanh, an alumna of the University of Huddersfield. Thanh is the co-founder of APAC DAO, one of the largest B2B networks in Asia that facilitates educational and business connections for over 2,000 blockchain businesses. As the ASEAN Regional Vice President of the Global Impact Fintech Forum, Thanh collaborates with visionary leaders, central banks, and Fintech associations to accelerate the adoption of Fintech worldwide.

Nguyen Thi Hai Thanh. (Photo: British Council)

Thanh plans to establish Tech Vietnam Advocates, the local chapter of Tech London Advocates, an alliance of leading technology experts with roots in the UK. This initiative aims to promote technology collaboration between Vietnam and the UK, as well as between the UK and the rest of the world. She also serves as an honorary advisor of the BRICS Industry Chamber of Commerce – Women Entrepreneurship Vertical and collaborates with global female leaders to inspire and support aspiring female entrepreneurs.

The Social Action Prize was granted to Trieu Thi Thanh Truc, an alumna of the University of Manchester. Truc serves as the Ambassador of the Vietnam Breast Cancer Network (BCNV). Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28, Truc has shared her story on various media platforms to raise awareness about cancer. In 2020, a fundraising campaign she initiated raised USD 20,000, which was used to establish hair libraries throughout Vietnam. In 2022, Truc launched her own project called “Trokies,” which bakes vegan cakes and donates the profits to cancer education programs. That same year, she donated her hair for 3 years following chemotherapy, becoming a source of inspiration for many young women. In 2023, she launched a bra brand specifically designed for breast cancer patients.

Trieu Thi Thanh Truc is the ambassador of the Vietnam Breast Cancer Network. (Photo: British Council)

According to Donna McGowan, the Director of the British Council in Vietnam, UK alumni serve as ambassadors for UK higher education and play an essential role in fostering people-to-people connections between the two countries. She stated, “The Study UK Alumni Awards winners are all leaders in their respective fields. You have leveraged your education and experience gained in the UK to achieve success in your chosen careers, making a positive impact on your communities and changing lives.”

Tracy Dao