Former ambassadors change the face of Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge – Ha Chan Ho, a senior advisor to Samsung, first came to Vietnam as a foreign ambassador.
His wit and charm along with his ability to speak in a candid, friendly down to earth conversational tone have always made him the quintessential diplomat.
“I am an 80% Vietnamese,” he once said fluently in Vietnamese while talking with the local media at a banquet in late 2014, “not 50%” as some have suggested.
Ho can speak Vietnamese as fluently as his mother tongue and has always made himself readily accessible to the media. Ho’s openness makes him different from other diplomats and entrepreneurs.
He seems to enjoy the give and take of a press conference.
“I would like to have a private conversation with you. I am sure you have something to ask about Samsung,” he said to a VietNamNet reporter.
“Many Vietnamese think Samsung does not want to cooperate with Vietnamese businesses,” he said, referring to the articles about Samsung and the development of support industries in Vietnam.
“In fact, it would be really much better for Samsung to have Vietnamese component suppliers,” he said. “However, developing support industries is not as easy as we think.”
He suggested that Vietnamese businesses still cannot meet the requirements to become direct suppliers to Samsung. However, they can start with becoming secondary suppliers.
Samsung has shown its goodwill towards Vietnamese businesses by inviting 24 Vietnamese component suppliers to visit factories. The meeting is believed to be the initial step for long-term cooperation between Samsung and Vietnamese businesses in the future.
Like Ha Chan Ho, after finishing his duty in Vietnam in 2007 Japanese ambassador Norio Hattori came back to the country on business after a three-year hiatus. Since then he has fulfilled many different roles.
In 2011, he was a key advisor for Hai Phong City authorities in attracting Japanese investment. More recently, in June 2014, Hattori returned to Vietnam as an advisor for Hattori Associates Ltd and was involved in a US$3 million project to construct an International Eye Hospital.
He said that the hospital would be equipped with latest technology to provide Vietnamese patients with the highest quality of services.
”Vietnam is my second homeland”, said Hattori after 5 years serving as Japanese ambassador to the country.
Former US Ambassador to Vietnam, Michael W. Michalak, also returned and now serves on the board of the Tan Tao University (TTU). In addition former Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Michael Mann, returned as founding president of RMIT International University Vietnam.
Michael W. Michalak played a pivotal role in doubling the number of Vietnamese students studying in the US.
After ending his term of office in Vietnam in 2002, Michael Mann remained in Vietnam at the helm of RMIT International University Vietnam, which was fully funded by foreign investment.
However, with enthusiasm and vision, Michael laid a foundation for the RMIT University, which currently has more than 6,000 students and becomes a leading training venue in Asia.
In addition to former ambassadors, many former state leaders have also returned to Vietnam as advisors of economic groups, such as German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who later served as stint as an advisor for Swiss Group Ringier AG that has had 15 years of operation in Vietnam.
He shared communication economy experiences with local newspapers through online roundtable discussions.
Some estimate that former ambassadors have helped Vietnam attracted more than US$20 billion of investment as a contribution to changing the face of the nation during a historic period.