British Council

Celebrating the achievements of UK Alumni in Vietnam

When outstanding individuals receive a world-class education in the UK, the effects can last a lifetime. The Alumni Awards shine a light on the impact that alumni of UK higher education institutions are making in their chosen field, and how this was sparked by their studies in the UK.

Awards are presented in three categories:

  • Professional Achievement Award: Recognising UK alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership and achievements in their professional industry, and who can demonstrate the impact and scale of their achievements in their profession, and beyond.
  • Entrepreneurial Award: Recognising UK alumni who are active in initiating or contributing to innovative and creative new ideas and solutions, and/or business opportunities that have the potential for strong growth.
  • Social Impact Award: Recognising UK alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others.

The awards categories hold both country-level and global-level titles. Vietnam is one of four countries celebrating winners’ only digitally this year and will be followed by further three countries, including Bangladesh, Turkey and Nigeria. Global finalists are being announced on March/April, and global winners are to be announced in August/September 2021.

For Vietnamese winners and finalists, please see their information below. With skills, stamina, and a solid UK education – you can be the next Alumni Awards Winner. For more information on the Alumni Awards, please visit our website here. To learn more about past winners, please refer to our website here.

Vietnam Alumni Awards 2021 Winners

Professional Achievement Award Winner

Tran Van Thanh
London Metropolitan University

Dr. Tran Van Thanh is the first Vietnamese international certified lighting designer. After completed his Doctorate degree in Lighting and Built Environment from the London Metropolitan University, he came back to Vietnam to establish ASA Lighting Design Studios, the first professional lighting design consultant of Vietnam, and now stands among the most respected lighting design practice in Vietnam and South East Asia. Thanh is the mind behind the lighting of the Dragon Bridge in Da Nang, which earned him the prestigious award from the International Association Lighting Designer (IALD) in 2012 for the gorgeous lighting design scheme that attracting millions of visitors, generating positive impacts on local human well-being and the city sustainable development. 

As a Vietnamese lighting design pioneer, he is striving to spread the knowledge, raise awareness of good lighting through local activities and education, sponsorship and awards, and nourish and inspiring young creative professionals to growth the passion of good Vietnam lighting design.  

His UK experiences have created a path and shaped his perspective, with its niche expertise, professional network, along with opportunities to work at UK lighting design companies. The diverse and dynamic community offered by the country, particular its capital London, had allowed him to fine-tune the way he approaches his professional and social endeavour successfully.

‘UK in general and London in particular, trained me to become global, and more importantly, taught me critical thinking. I could do it because of the diverse community that the country can create and offer to the world. I learnt to appreciate diversity and therefore I do believe that anyone can be different and should be different. Those experience and perspectives have paved a solid foundation for me to build my career as the first professional Vietnamese lighting designer, that later helped me won prestigious international awards.’ – Dr. Tran Van Thanh

Entrepreneurial Award Winner

Nguyen Phuong Thao
University of East Anglia

Nguyen Phuong Thao is the co-founder and COO of Nguyen Khoi Farm – an agricultural business that focuses on sustainable, organic farming. During years of operating, Thao and her team has successfully developed the first Circular Organic Agriculture Model to ever be successfully implemented in Vietnam, which has in turn gained her countless awards, titles and grants, both on a domestic and international level.

Thao was inspired by the deteriorating status of environment in Vietnam, which, combined with her belief for entrepreneurship in sustainable farming in socioeconomic growth. Set out to challenge problems of food and nutrients security, environmental protection and poverty reduction, Nguyen Khoi Farm has successfully created and implemented its Circular Organic Agriculture Model, with proven benefits: economic efficiency, zero-waste, farmer-friendliness, and production of healthy pork.

Nguyen Khoi Farm has integrated this model into operation of 2 farms in remote mountainous areas of Vietnam in the last 4 years, creating jobs for local residents, and a standardized supply for organic food stores and a private school in Hanoi, which in turn serve thousands of customers.

Until 2021, Thao has gained herself and her team numerous achievements, such as Challenging Prize with USD 25.000 granted in 2019 Proof of Concept Competition awarded by World Bank, Granted of Science Commercialisation Partnerships scheme, Pioneering Sustainable Agriculture Awards, Blue Swallow 2019, Third Prize, Vietfarm Award 2019, and Top 16 in Vietchallenge 2020.

'Studying at UEA seized my opportunities and shaped my future by bringing me a whole new perspective, from the academic to industrial and from local to global perspectives. UEA is a very popular university for international students coming for education. Studying at UEA exposed me to new people and new cultures so that I was building my own resilience and broadening my experience. I had chances to test myself individually in an unfamiliar environment and develop my inner self-confidence. At UEA, I had made my lifelong friendship with no border from all over the world. My eyes were widened by joining the seminars, workshops and research collaborated by UEA and academic, industrial, and commercial partner institutes from all over the world' – Ms. Nguyen Phuong Thao

Thao said that the multidiscipline sciences in the Master course in Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA) plays a pivotal role in her tackling big issues, overcoming the challenge of running her own business nowadays; all the while reshaping her perspective on academic, industrial, local and global issues.

To her, her own development can be attributed to her time of studying in the UK, which has provided her with valuable experience working alongside renowned figures in the industry, which has left great impact on her analysing, developing and producing solutions later on.

Social Impact Award Winner

Hoang Le Thuy Duong
London School of Economics and Political Sciences

Thuy Duong has gained herself a reputation as the Ambassador for Facing The World UK Charity, an organization that has carried out free-of-charge surgeries for children with innate facial deformity, inspiring them and giving them the chance to overcome such barrier of appearance. Moreover, she is also well-known for being the Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam UK National Friendship Association, Owner – CEO of Nemo Partners Investment and Consulting Vietnam, Owner of a chain of F&B stores, Co-Founder of Carvir Trading Company, the number 1 Vietnamese pangasius importer & distributor in Panama, in partnership with the former Panamanian Ambassador to Vietnam.

Being an active board member of the Vietnam UK National Friendship Association, Duong was later contacted by Facing The World charity, to become their representative ambassador. With the rates of war-related cases of facial deformity in Vietnam almost 10 times higher than other countries, Facing The World has helped a great number of children by giving them access to surgeries, and have been continuously giving out aids since having their license granted in 2015.

Ever since, Facing The World has managed to increase the number of children receiving life-changing surgeries from hundreds to thousands of kids, even in the most remote areas. They have not only increased the number of yearly missions of sending doctors to Vietnam to perform surgeries, but also have organized training sessions for local doctors as well as flying Vietnamese doctors onto fellowship programs abroad, making them a much more trustworthy charity and popular worldwide, resulting in a huge rise in all kinds of amazing donations for Vietnam.

After years of operation, Duong and her team has made great achievements, such as the Points of Light Award from the UK Prime Minister Teresa May in 2017; Friendship Medal from the Vietnam President in 2018; establishment of the first multidisciplinary integrated approach craniofacial centre in Vietnam, which was opened by HRH the Duke of York in December 2018, in collaboration with 108 Military Hospital, the biggest state owned hospital; and signed a MOU with The Red Cross & Direct Relief for more donations to Vietnam.

'What stands out most about having studied in the UK, apart from being able to receive the highest level of education at one of the top Business Schools in the world, is the fact of having shared experiences with a diverse student body and being exposed to a culture rich city like London. I believe this was key in broadening my knowledge and understanding the importance of globalization in today's world. But surely having studied abroad, specifically in the UK, a country which Vietnam has a very close political and economic relationship with, allowed for many doors to open once I graduated from university.  Perhaps studying in another country would have been different in this regard.' – Ms. Thuy Duong

At a younger age, after her primary education in London, Thuy Duong had won several international awards including the first Silver Medal for Vietnam in the ASEAN Young Talent Competition in Manila, Philippines and then later she was the Vietnam winner in the International Environment Competition in South Africa.

Thuy Duong had her experience in higher education at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) on a full scholarship. Upon graduation, the degree gained her valuable job offers from the Vietnam Foreign Minister, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank, creating a solid foundation for her personal development afterwards, including the establishment of her own business.

According to Duong, the British education has served as a solid base for success in her career and in life in general. To her, the place taught her to look beyond a professional career, and to learn to give back to society while enriching experiences of her own.