2nd Conference, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 17, 2005
Details at www.va-ngo.org

Vietnamese Americans Working Together to Help Vietnam

More than 120 participants from 36 Vietnamese American Non-Governmental Organizations (VA NGOs) throughout the US will be convening at the Second VA NGO Conference from November 18-20, 2005 in Sonoma, California. The theme for this year’s conference is Collaboration and Community Advocacy.

VA NGOs are groups based in the Vietnamese American community that work in Vietnam in areas such a humanitarian relief, community development and assistance for the poor and disadvantaged. Many of the organizations are also active in the U.S., providing services and help to the Vietnamese American community.

Since the First Conference in May 2004, more than fifteen collaborative efforts have been formed among VA NGOs in areas such as relief work (including aid to tsunami and Katrina’s victims), scholarships, health care, school construction, teacher training and IT instruction.

We are pleased to see such rapid progress, said Anh Tran, President of Pacific Links Foundation, the non-profit spearheading the effort to bring Vietnamese American groups together. Organizations are being very creative in combining resources, from sharing local staff and office to jointly sponsoring projects. One group of organizations even put together a comprehensive anti-trafficking program that has received financial support from USAID.

VA NGOs are growing stronger by working together, noted Diep Vuong, Chair of the VA NGO Network Planning Committee, the body charged with the task of developing the vision and strategy for the network. The VA NGO Network Planning Committee has been working closely with the US Embassy in Vietnam as well as with Vietnamese government agencies responsible for facilitating NGO work in Vietnam to promote better recognition for the contributions of Vietnamese Americans. Transparency, Accountability, Sustainability, and Recognition are the cornerstones of our efforts to build stronger Vietnamese American philanthropic organizations, said Ms. Vuong.

While we are grateful for the financial assistance from the various foundations to help us organize the conference, we also want to acknowledge the support from the Vietnamese American community in the last 30 years. Diaspora philanthropy is what fuels our energy and nourishes our commitment to help the people and the children of Vietnam. It should be recognized and appreciated, added Vuong.

The conference will honor Prof. Le Xuan Khoa and Mr. Huu Dinh Nguyen for their lifelong dedication to helping the needy and promoting development in Vietnam.

Funding for the conference has come from the Ford Foundation, The Asia Foundation, and the Alexander Wallace Gerbode Foundation. Support also comes from Vietnamese American donors and the VA NGOs themselves: Le Viet Canh & Vuong Ngoc Quyen Foundation, the Tran Family, East Meets West Foundation, Children of Peace International, International Children Assistance Network, and Pacific Links Foundation.