US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday officially launched Vietnam's first private non-profit university in Ho Chi Minh City.
The launch came at the end of a three-day visit to Vietnam by US President Barack Obama and a delegation of senior officials.
Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) was licensed by the Vietnamese government on May 16. The university is expected to expand the important work of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP), which has educated more than 1,200 Vietnamese mid-career professionals in the public and non-governmental sectors since 1995.
Dinh La Thang, the city's Party chief, said at the launching ceremony that the government has high expectations for FUV and will create the most favorable conditions for the university to develop qualified human resources.
The school is allowed to begin its enrollment at the end of this year, providing programs in public policy and administration besides science and technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.
The US government has pledged to provide more than US$20 million for the project, while HCMC allocated 25 hectares of land in the Saigon High-tech Park in District 9 for the university's campus.
In total, more than $60 million in cash and others have been pledged by sponsors. Dam Bich Thuy, the founding principal of FUV, said it needs up to an estimated $150 million in the first five years.
The Cambridge-headquartered Trust for University Innovation (TUIV) in Vietnam executes the project in cooperation with the US Department of State.
FUV will inherit the human and knowledge capital of the Fulbright School, established in 1994 by Harvard University and the University of Economics, HCMC and widely recognized as the leading independent center of public policy teaching and research in Vietnam, according to TUIV.