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UNESCO-UCLA program to launch magazine

(July 9th, 2016) The UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education at the University of California at Los Angeles is developing an online and print magazine to be launched in 2017. The publication will be called Global Commons Review: The Magazine of the UNESCO UCLA Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education.


The magazine will promote the core mission of the UNESCO Chair at UCLA: to construct a “pole of excellence and innovation’’ in global learning and global citizenship education to promote peace, transnational knowledge and understanding and sustainable development through programs around the world, including Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

The publication will primarily be an online magazine at GlobalCommons.Review and UNESCO.GSEIS.UCLA.EDU but will also include a  twice-a-year print magazine with topics that have drawn the most interest from the magazine’s online readers.

UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies will sponsor the nonprofit magazine. Donations to help defray its operating expenses will be sought from selected corporations, private individuals and nongovernmental organizations. There will be opportunities for donors to run vetted ads in the publication.

The magazine will be oriented toward Western Hemisphere audiences and will be primarily in English. However, we will make every effort to also run occasional articles in another of the official languages used at United Nations headquarters.  Topics will include:

  • Critical Issues in Global Citizenship Education (GCE).
  • Latest research on the effectiveness of GCE.
  • Brief pieces on youth social movements in GCE.
  • Hall of Fame: Brief description of corporations, nongovernmental organizations and individuals that have contributed to GCE and ESD.
  • Universities and GCE+ESD: A focus on initiatives, practices, experiences and projects to enhance universities’ commitment to GCE+ESD.
  • The network of practitioners, including professional educators, of GCE and ESD.
  • UNESCO partnership news.
  • Dialogues on Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development.

The publisher of the magazine will be  Prof. Carlos Alberto Torres, who holds the UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education at UCLA, where he is also Distinguished Professor of Education and Director of the Paulo Freire Institute.

The executive editor will be Mr. Tuan Anh Nguyen, who is co-Founder and chief executive officer of The Boston Global Forum (; founder and former executive editor of VietNamNet,  and chairman of the International Advisory Committee of the UNESCO Chair on Global Citizenship Education at UCLA.

For more information, please contact Tuan Anh Nguyen at:  or +1(617) 286 6589 or +84 902288999.

Carlos Alberto Torres Keynotes Conference on Global Capacity Building By Joanie Harmon

UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education shares perspectives on global citizenship education as alternative to xenophobia, violent extremism.

Carlos Alberto Torres, Distinguished Professor of Education at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies and the UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education (GCED), delivered the keynote to the first-ever Global Capacity-Building Workshop on Global Citizenship Education in Seoul on June 19. The conference was organized by Asian Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) under the auspices of UNESCO.

Torres, who directs the Paulo Freire Institute at UCLA, presented “Education 2030 and Fostering Global Citizenship Education.” Workshop participants were charged with designing training workshops on GCED specific to participants’ local contexts. UNESCO APCEIU is planning to oversee and advise post-workshop activities of participants and establish a human resources network for promotion of GCED in different regions.

Torres’ keynote address focused on GCED that honors the Global Commons as defined by three basic propositions: the protection of Earth as humanity’s only home; the idea that global peace is an intangible cultural good with immaterial value; and the need to find ways that people who are all equal can live within a democracy in an ever-expanding and diverse world, able to seek individual and cultural interests and maintaining the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Carlos Alberto Torres was appointed the inaugural UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education in 2015, the first such chair in the UC system. Courtesy of Carlos Alberto Torres

“UNESCO is deeply committed to promote Global Citizenship Education in the defense of Global Commons,” says Torres. “Yet, most recently with the growing phenomena of violent extremism which undermines global citizenship education and unity and cohesion in society, many countries have requested that UNESCO offer directions of how education can help address violent extremism from all ideological and political origins.”

The workshop covers topics including peace education, human rights education, sustainable development education, and cultural diversity to prevention of violent extremism. Professor Torres joined an international cadre of educators, policy makers, and other experts, including Soo-Hyang Choi, director of the Division of Inclusion, Peace and Sustainable Development of UNESCO; Professor Swee-Hin Toh, University for Peace in Costa Rica; Professor Hyo-Je Cho, SungKongHoe University in Seoul; Mirian Vilela, executive director, Earth Charter Center for Sustainable Development in Costa Rica; and Lea Espallardo, resident senior artist-teacher, Philippine Educational Theater Association in Manila. The workshop is sponsored by Ministry of Education of and Asia Culture Center of Republic of Korea.

Professor Torres, who was appointed the inaugural UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education in 2015, has been invited to an international meeting presented by UNESCO in New Delhi in September, to provide evidence-based research on violent extremism.

Professor Torres emphasizes the results of the Brexit vote as evidence of “the impact of immigration and globalization upon countries, families, and individuals.” However, he adds that a knee-jerk reaction to Brexit’s alleged veneer of racism should be examined more closely.

“It would be naïve and certainly dangerous to ignore that Brexit may empower nativists and rabid nationalism, undermining human rights, security and conflict resolution in the world’s systems,” he says. “Global citizenship education proposes an alternative to racist and xenophobic models of citizenship, as global commons invite dialogue across lines of difference, the promotion of a culture of peace and solidarity, and the universal protection of human rights, the environment, and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Above: Carlos Alberto Torres, the inaugural UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education, presented the keynote address at the first-ever Global Capacity-Building Workshop on Global Citizenship Education in Seoul this month, hosted by the Asian Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding under the auspices of UNESCO.

Courtesy of Carlos Alberto Torres

The International Institute on Global Citizenship Education


Paulo Freire Institute (PFI) – UCLA

(University of California, Los Angeles)

UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education (GCE)


July 25-29, 2016

The Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) currently being supported by UNESCO has encouraged national government agencies, transnational and non-governmental organizations, teachers, researchers, educators and K-12 practitioners to pursue policies, programs, pedagogies and K-12 practices for global citizenship education (GCE). However, many questions remain regarding the nature and possibility of education that can foster global citizenship. The International Institute on Global Citizenship Education, hosted by the Paulo Freire Institute at UCLA and the UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and GCE, seeks to address such questions as:

 What is GCE and how can it address global problems?
­ What and whose values and skills should be included in GCE?
­ How can GCE reconcile and complement national and local citizenship education?
­ Who is GCE o­ered to and who is providing it?
­ What are the best practices of policies, curricula and instruction of GCE?

Through lectures, participant-centered discussions, and workshops, participants will explore the literature, current research, and best practices of GCE through local, national, regional, and global perspectives. Building upon participants’ needs and experiences, the Institute will create a critical space where they can share, debate, network, and most importantly construct viable policies, curricula, and pedagogies for the implementation of GCE inside and outside the classroom.
Participants will…

  • Review current literature, research, and debates surrounding GCE
  • Dialogue and network with other international participants
  • Produce a GCE project that applies to their speci_c countries, institutions, and communities
  • Receive a GCE certi_cate of completion from the Paulo Freire Institute at UCLA

This program is for:

  • Professionals who work with policy analysis and/orpolicy formulation
  • K-12 practitioners and leaders in formal andnon-formal institutions
  • Researchers

Classes: The ­five-day program, consisting of morning and afternoon session on either a GCE thematic and regional facilitation or a workshop for GCE.
Language: English. The Institute will also include English as a Second Language (ESL) support for writing in academic English.
Cost: USD $2,000. The ­rst payment of USD $1,000 must be paid by May 1, 2016. Payments can be made
online Online registration and payment will be available early April 2016 at the following URL:

The remaining payment needs to be paid by July 1, 2016. If enrolled participants decide not to attend the courses after July 1, 2016, there will be a non-refundable fee of USD$ 500.
Housing and other Living Expenses: Please email p­ for information.
Institute Director
Carlos Alberto Torres, Ph.D.
UCLA Distinguished Professor & UNESCO Chair on Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education
Founder and Director, PFI UCLA; PFI-UK; PFI-São Paulo; President, World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES)
Professors Christopher Castle, UNESCO Global Coordinator for HIV and AIDS; Chief, Section of Health and GCE
Chen Wei Chang, Ph.D., National Academy for Educational Research, Taiwan; PFI-UCLA
Utak Chung, Ph.D., Director, Asia-Paci­c Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) under the auspices of UNESCO
Anantha Duraiappah, Ph.D., Director, UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Delhi, India
Liangwen Kuo, Ph.D., Graduate Institute of Communication Studies, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan.
Greg Misiaszek, Ph.D., Beijing Normal University, China; PFI-UCLA; WCCES
Lauren Ila Misiaszek, Ph.D., Beijing Normal University, China; PFI-UCLA; PFI-UK
Lynette Shultz, Ph.D., University of Alberta, Canada
Ana Elvira Steinbach Silva Raposo Torres, Ph.D., Federal University of Paraiba, Brazil; UCLA; PFI-UCLA
Additional Speakers
‑ Researchers and administrators from UNESCO centers
‑ Associates of PFI at UCLA


Brochure of the Program:

Building a foundation for close U.S.-Vietnamese relations by Lan Anh

On the night of May 22, President Obama landed at Noi Bai International Airport to start his official visit to Vietnam. U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also visited Vietnam while in office.



The American War in Vietnam was a long and sad chapter but that conflict ended 41 years ago.

President Obama’s visit to Vietnam  was a dramatic turning point as the two countries establish stronger ties  to promote the development, peace and security of the both countries, the Asia/Pacific region and the wider world.

Vietnam has spent  much blood,  wealth and time defending itself from invadersto regain and preserve its independence.  The country  has constantly faced threats to its freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

But, overcoming the sorrow of historical events, and some missteps in its economic-development strategy, Vietnam has  today achieved remarkable improvements in the economic and other aspects of its development. It has great potential strengths from its location and its population of 100 million, (making Vietnam the 13th most populous nation) including its large number of young people who are very receptive to new technology. It is also playing an increasingly important role in global economic development.

Meanwhile, Vietnam preserves many of its ancient traditions while it stays open to learning and accepting the best aspects of cultures and values all over the world.

Vietnam has become an inspiring story of a country in transition.  A nation that suffered the sorrow of  a long war with the U.S., Vietnam has since normalized the relationship with America and is taking steps to improve it further.  Vietnamese-U.S. relations are now a world-recognized symbol of reconciliation and of progress toward a peaceful, more secure and developed world.

America has the  world’s largest economy and is the global military superpower.  Thus,  the U.S. plays a crucial role in preserving stability around the Earth. American military power can be deployed quickly to any place in the world.  Further, America is the innovation hub of the planet. It’s where leading technologies are constantly being invented and refined with great international impact.

Since World War II, the U.S.  has led the establishment of a network of multilateral organizations  — most notably the World Bank, the  International Monetary Fund (IMF) and such regional  security organizations as NATO. In part becase of these organizations, the U.S. has strong allies around the world.

These factors are crucial parts of the foundation for stronger Vietnamese-U.S. relations.

Prof. Thomas Patterson, a leading Harvard scholar on politics, press and public policy,  and a co-founder and director of The Boston Global Forum (, said that the bases for a strong and sustainable relationship between  the U.S. and Vietnam are trust and respect for each other and mutual understanding of each other’s needs and values. Despite some inevitable differences, the two countries have many shared goals, which include building their own and each other’s prosperity, friendly cultural exchanges and peace and security in the South China Sea (called in Vietnam the East Sea). Strong andfriendly U.S.-Vietnamese relations will foster the strong growth of the two countries in the Pacific Era.

The U.S. can help Vietnam with capital and advanced technology so that Vietnam can continue growing its knowledge and innovation economy via such technology solutions as  artificial intelligence (AI) and network security.

After the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TTP) comes into effect, Vietnam’s GDP is projected to increase to $23.5 billion in 2020 and $33.5 billion in 2025. Its exports are projected to rise by  $68 billion by 2026.  Under the TPP, big markets,  such as the U.S., Japan and Canada, willeliminate tariffs for goods imported from Vietnam, which will obviously give its exporting activity a big boost..

Meanwhile Fulbright University Vietnam has officially been granted approval to open. This  is a milestone  in the journey of  cooperation between U.S. and Vietnam in education. Further, the University of California at Los Angeles ( UCLA ) will soon work with Vietnam to carry out new initiatives in global citizenship education.

To establish itself as a major global player, Vietnam needs to be independent  of bigger countries so that it can strategize its  path ahead while following universal standards and values. Vietnam will raise its visibility in  the world with a loving,  tolerant and generous attitude.

Vietnam has overcome sorrow and loss to make peace with other countries that caused it pain. Hence, Vietnam has become a symbol of reconciliation and can play an important role in preserving  international peace and security in the Asia/Pacific region and around the world.

For example, Vietnam can contribute to the effort to resolve conflicts between the U.S.  and Russia,  between Europe and Russia,  between China and Russia,  between the U.S.,  Japan and North Korea,  and between the U.S. and China. Vietnam could also become a centerfor finding solutions to conflicts in the Middle East and forhelping North Korea integrate with the rest of the world (as when Vietnam helped Myanmar reintegrate). And it can be a pioneer in building harmony and security in online space in South East Asia and around the world. This can include educating people  to be responsible online citizens in Internet era; teaching them to respect each other’s culture, knowledge and morality, and  promoting initiatives for global citizenship education.

Building strong Vietnamese-U.S. relations, as well as the other initiatives cited above, can’t be completed overnight but the path to a brighter future is opened. Tomorrow has started today.

Lan Anh is a journalist for VietNamNet

The BGF-G7 Summit Initiative: Ise-Shima Norms

The Boston Global Forum welcomes this opportunity to provide input to the agenda or the G7 Ise-Shima Summit. Global Economy and Trade, Development, and Quality Infrastructure Investment are three themes of this summit. Given the importance of the Internet in all three areas, we encourage you to address the following actions concerning cybersecurity at the summit. These actions have as their goal to raise the general level of security in cyberspace.

BG7I Cover

Download Ise-Shima Norms 


UNESCO UCLA work in Vietnam and the recent visit of President Obama.

UNESCO UCLA work in Vietnam and the recent visit of President Obama.

Carlos Alberto Torres, UNESCO UCLA Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education and Jason Dorio, Ph.D. Candidate

Vietnamese journalist Lan Anh of VietNamNet, the most important Vietnamese newspaper, published a short article reflecting upon the recent visit of President Obama to the country which was once at war with the United States. Multiple projects are underway to not only repair relationships but to take advantage of new found synergies between both countries, governments and civil society. The visit of President Obama opens a new and bright future for all.


Before posting the article in our website, we would like to provide some background of our work and plans for the future. The UNESCO UCLA Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education has been working in Vietnam since 2015 with a project on “THE UNIVERSITY IN TRANSITION: Policy Research Addressing Major Challenges In The Institutions Of Higher Education In Vietnam.” This project has support from private sources in Vietnam and strong collaboration from government institutions.

We are absolutely delighted to realize that both countries are achieving a great level of reconciliation and collaboration. Moreover, what this trip symbolizes is the great importance of a culture of peace to promote the protection of the planet, the protection of peace, and the protection of the people, the three goals of our Chair which symbolizes our commitment to a better world.

What follows is a detailed description of the objectives and rationale of our project in the context of the overall challenges to higher education in Asia. We also look at the challenges for higher education in Vietnam and the United States.


  1. Analyze the main challenges of higher education in Vietnam
  2. Explore how the lessons from universities in the United States can contribute to addressing the challenges of higher education in Vietnam
  3. Investigate the roles of online education and other technologies in furthering access and quality for higher education in Vietnam
  4. Develop a network of scholars, policy makers, students, and educators on issues of higher education in Vietnam and the United States.


Universities and institutions of higher education embedded in the dialectic between the local and the global are in transition. Two challenges have been magnified by the changes in technology and access to higher education: the question of rankings and the search for global or world class universities. These questions significantly confront the expansion of higher education in Vietnam and its position in the regional context.

Overall challenges to higher education in Asia

The twenty-first century is marked by significant political, economic and cultural shifts globally away from political and economic powers traditionally centered within the Atlantic-Mediterranean to the rising powers within the Asia-Pacific region. As Hawkins (2013) argues, “Given that half of global GDP and one-third of the world’s population are in Japan, China and the United States, in many respects these three countries represent the core of the emerging twenty-first century global political economy, including many of the HE indicators of concern to those proponents of HE regionalization” (p. 360-361). However, the region faces a number of important issues that will certainly be shaped by and shape higher education in Asia-Pacific.

Hawkins identifies four enduring issues that are critical to higher educational transformation in the Asia-Pacific region for the twenty-first century. Providing a general overview of the region, these issues include access and equity to higher education; quality assurance of higher education; the impacts of the movement and mobility of students, scholars, and knowledge to institutions in the region; and efforts to build cooperation and regionalization of higher education.

As one of the most dynamic and rapidly changing regions in the world, the issues of higher education will be exacerbated and significantly shaped by future efforts to raise employment prospects, which are obviously essential for social stability, and increasing domestic demands vis-à-vis international demand for goods and services. As one of the populous countries in the region, Vietnam has experienced an impressive expansion in its higher education system since 1993 (World Bank, 2008). However, similar to other countries in the region, Vietnam is facing a number of issues of higher education that demand alternative and comparative perspectives to address such issues in the twenty-first century.

Higher education in Vietnam

The country of Vietnam has had a long legacy of higher education. The oldest known institution of higher education in Southeast Asia was established in Vietnam in 1076 during the Ly dynasty (Houng and Fry, 2004; Welch, 2011). In the modern era, the Vietnamese higher education system has developed as an amalgamation of influences by indigenous, Chinese, French, Soviet, American and global initiatives and models of higher education (Houng and Fry, 2004). As one of the most populated countries in Southeast Asia, with a considerable percentage of young people,[1] Vietnam is currently facing a massive demand for higher education.

Over the last two decades, the system of higher education in Vietnam witnessed increasing numbers of student enrollment and an expansion of higher education programs and institutions. For example, the World Bank (2008) stated that in 1992-1993, approximately 162,000 higher education students enrolled in just 110 institutions, while in 2008 those numbers grew to 1.3 million students enrolled in 230 higher education institutions (p.1). The demand for higher education and the increases in student enrolment have exacerbated some of the major challenges facing the system of higher education in Vietnam. Issues such as improving the models of curriculum and teaching methods (Houng and Fry, 2004; Hayden and Lan, 2013), the quality of faculty and research (World Bank, 2008; Welch, 2011), teacher education (UNESCO, 2011), gender and ethnic minority equity (Hayden and Lan, 2013; World Bank, 2008), internationalization and regionalization (Welch, 2011), and privatization (Hayden and Lan, 2013; Welch, 2013) all present major challenges for policy makers, professor and students alike. Subsequently, to address some of its higher education challenges, the Vietnamese government has recently implemented a number of comprehensive state-driven higher education reforms (World Bank, 2008; Pham, 2014). However, it is unclear to what extent has the state-driven reforms have fully addressed some of the major challenges currently facing higher education in Vietnam (Pham, 2014), including the challenge to develop world-class universities in Vietnam.

Globalization and higher education in the United States

It has been argued that particular visions of the state shapes to a large extent higher education reform (Rhoads and Torres, 2006). The United State provides an important example of this connection. During the 1960s and 1970s, under the US Higher Education Acts, significant expansion and changes took place at US colleges and universities. Changes included increases in state financial support that directly led to higher education being available for first generation students, students from low socio-economic status, and students of color. The vision of increasing the access to higher education and other important changes which broke down social stratification and increased some levels of social and economic mobility, was related to progressive social movements of the 1950s and 1960s as well as to the particular vision often referred to as the Great Society. However, since the 1980s, particularly with the election of President Ronald Reagan a redefinition of the state emerged. This vision included attacks on affirmative action, assaults on state support for college, including “merit-based scholarship” and an overall decline for higher education as a public trust (Rhoads and Torres, 2006). Therefore, any visions of the university and higher education must take into account the impacts that forms of globalization have on the conceptions of the state.

The United States, along with providing significant models of world-class universities for emerging countries, is not immune from some of the issues that globalization present for higher education. Rhoads and Torres (2006) highlight some of the important issues linked to the changing landscape of higher education in the United States. First, the increase of knowledge and communication has amplified competition among institutions of higher education and adult education. This has led to inter-institutional partnerships of higher education being increasingly engaged in collaborative efforts to strengthen local, regional, national and global economies. Second, economic forces have increasingly shaped the visions of institutions of higher education shifting their foci on instrumental education, elevating fields of study that directly affects the economy or related careers within economic sectors. Consequently, Rhoads and Torres argue “business and science disciplines that directly connect to emerging technologies and revenue streams receive higher levels of funding and support than more traditional fields in the arts, humanities, and social sciences” (p. 337).

Third, linked to the increased relationship between universities and the economy, the operation of universities in the United States, especially world-class universities, has been driven to a large extent by “academic capitalism” (Slaughter and Rhoades, 2004). It appears that the mission of universities being driven by “public good” have been increasingly defined in solely economic terms. Forth, with the vision of the university being shaped by the neoliberal privatization movements, access to affordable higher education is slowly diminishing in the United States. Smaller portions of states’ budgets for public institutions of higher education have forced institutions to increase student contributions for tuitions and fees. To the point, a recent study conducted by the Government Accountability Office, found that America’s public colleges now get more money from their students than from all state sources (Chappell, 2015). Consequently, educational technology and online education has been introduced to alleviate some of the costs and demands of higher education. However, as Douglass (2013) argues, MOOCS (massive open online courses) have had “extremely low completion rates in purely online courses” for traditional age students, 18-to 24-years olds. Moreover, Douglass continues “large classroom courses supplemented by technology seem to be much more effective as a model” citing a recent experiment with online courses at San Jose State University in California, that found “large classroom courses may be cheaper on a per-student basis than MOOCs, when you factor in rates of completion of the course.”

Fifth, there is a broad shift globally, toward an international standardization of education curricula and credentials that is also connected to the last issue that Rhoads and Torres presents, which is the accountability movement. In the United States, academic standards and accountability have been framed as “assessment” or “institutional assessment.” Rhoads and Torres observe, “assessment tends to be rooted in schemas in which comparisons are drawn between and among similar types of institutions, as opposed to basing the assessment on measure of the institution’s contribution to society” (p.340). These measures tend to focus on the number of faculty publications, the number of faculty generated grants, the number of students, the number of degrees or certificates awarded, and the time to degree. Correspondingly, these measures put an enormous amount of stress on institutions, professors, and students to meet and exceed these quantitative indicators rather, than, again, focusing on a conception of the university as a public good and contributor to the betterment of local, national, and global communities.

The overall changing landscape and visions of higher education in the United States, promulgated by globalization, has forced policy makers and educators to face issues of instrumentalism, academic capitalism and entrepreneurialism, access and affordability, and evaluation and assessment.  Accordingly, institutions of world-class universities in the United States can provide valuable insight and models for institutions of higher education in Vietnam as they engage with similar as well as contextualized struggles connected to domestic, regional, and global impacts.

Globalization and the quest for World Class Universities

The question of ‘World Class Universities’ or in another formulation Global Research Universities is intimately tied to the discussion on the purpose and validity of global university rankings. Unfortunately, out of the five world university ranking sites for the 2014-2015 (Shanghai, QS, Times, US News &World Report, and CWUR), universities in Vietnam were not ranked within the global comparisons of universities. Only the QS World University Rankings 2014/2015 ranked three universities in Vietnam (#161 Vietnam National University, Hanoi; #191Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City; and#251 Hanoi University of Science and Technology) within the top 300 for the regional Asian University Rankings.  These dismal results in the university rankings should be a cause of concern for a country with such distinguished historical experience in higher education.

In addition to the dismal positioning of Vietnam universities in international rankings, the impact of globalization on universities raises several important questions.  Do shifts toward a market-oriented ideology within the wider society suggest similar and inevitable shifts within universities?  Do such shifts bring about the inevitable commodification of professional activities, family life, and the environment, or the life of the professoriate?  If such responses are unavoidable, does this necessitate a move in the direction of a free-market ideology on a global scale and hence we need some comparative data to assess who is who in higher education?  To what extent can the emergence of a single, global monoculture in higher education be expected once we have established a firm ranking of quality universities at a world scale?  Some of these questions will be addressed in this policy research.

The Purpose of this Policy Research

The purpose of The University in Transition: Policy Research To Address Major Challenges In The Institutions Of Higher Education In Vietnam is to conduct empirical research connected to the challenges facing higher education in Vietnam. The second component of this initiative is to bring together international and Vietnamese scholars, educators and policy makers who have dealt with these issues in varied national, political and institutional levels to enrich the research findings, knowledge, communication and cross-pollination of ideas on higher education in Vietnam.

The World Education Forum that took place in Incheon, South Korea on 19-22 of May 2015 set the tone for the changes at all levels of education worldwide. For the purposes of this policy research, inclusion, equity and quality are the topics that need to be urgently addressed in the higher education system in Vietnam and to be sure in most institutions of higher education in the world. Point #9 of the Incheon declaration is particularly relevant for higher education: “We commit to quality education and to improving learning outcomes, which requires strengthening inputs, processes and evaluation of outcomes and mechanisms to measure progress. We will ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems. Quality education fosters creativity and knowledge, and ensures the acquisition of the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy as well as analytical, problem-solving and other high-level cognitive, interpersonal and social skills. It also develops the skills, values and attitudes that enable citizens to lead healthy and fulfilled lives, make informed decisions, and respond to local and global challenges through education for sustainable development (ESD) and global citizenship education (GCE).”



Goyette, K. A. (2012). Stratification and the emergence of the postsecondary private education sector in  Vietnam. Comparative Education Review, 56(2), p. 197-222.

Harman, G., Hayden, M. and Nghi, P. T. (2010). Higher Education in Vietnam: Reform,

Challenges and Priorities. In G. Harman, M. Hayden, and P.T. Nghi (eds.) Reforming Higher Education in Vietnam: Challenges and Priorities. New York: Springer, p. 1-14.

Hayden, M. and Lan, L. T. N. (2013). Vietnam: The Education System—A Need to Improve Quality. In L. P. Symaco (ed.) Education in South-East Asia. London:Bloomsbury, p. 323-344

Houng, P.L. and Fry, G. (2004). Universities in Vietnam: Legacies, Challenges, and

Prospects. In P.G. Altbach and T. Umakoshi (eds.), Asian Universities: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Challenges. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 301-331.

Pham, D. (2014). Vietnam: New Legislation and Future Possibilities. International  Higher Education, 74, p. 27-28.

UNESCO (2011). World Data on Education: Viet Nam, 7th Edn, 2010/2011. Available at     

Welch, A. (2011). Higher Education in Southeast Asia: Blurring borders, changing balances.               New York: Routledge.

The World Bank (2008). Vietnam: Higher Education and Skills for Growth. Washington, DC: The World Bank. The World Bank (2014). Data: Vietnam. The World Bank Group. Accessed at

[1] Approximately 22. 9 percent of Vietnam’s population of nearly 90 million is under the age of 15.

DR. CARLOS ALBERTO TORRES – Member of Board of Thinkers, Boston Global Forum; Distinguished Professor of Education; Director, UCLA Paulo Freire Institute; UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education

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Dr. Carlos Alberto Torres is a political sociologist of education, a published poet and short story author. He did his undergraduate work in sociology in Argentina (B.A. honors and teaching credential in Sociology, Universidad del Salvador), his graduate work in Mexico (M.A. Political Science. FLACSO) and the United States (Master of Arts and Ph.D. in International Development Education, Stanford University), and post-doctoral studies in educational foundations in Canada (University of Alberta). He is a Professor of Social Science and Comparative Education at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and Chair of UNESCO-UCLA  in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education.

In 1991, in partnership with several colleagues, he created the Paulo Freire Institute, PFI, and is currently serving as its Founding Director at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. He also served as director of the UCLA Latin American Center. Dr. Torres has been a Visiting Professor in universities in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. He has lectured throughout Latin America and the United States, and in universities in England, Japan, Italy, Spain, Tanzania, Finland, Mozambique, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Portugal, Taiwan, Korea, Sweden and South Africa.

Jason Dorio  –  Ph.D. candidate Social Sciences and Comparative Education Division of the UCLA Department of Education


UNESCO Director-General to Join Global Education Skills Forum in Dubai

(March 14th, 2016) Irina Bokova, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), participated March 12 and 13 in the Global Education & Skills Forum in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), which focused on the theme ‘’Taking greater collective responsibility for public education’’


The Boston Global Forum (BGF) collaborates with UNESCO on global education and citizenship projects, especially through the Global Learning and Global Citizenship program at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Prof. Carlos Alberto Torres, Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences and Comparative Education and UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education at UCLA, is a member of the BGF’s Board of Thinkers.

You may see and hear him in his recent BGF online video, in which he discusses the meaning of global education and citizenship

Bringing together public- and private-sector leaders, the Dubai forum addressed ways to make education everybody’s business, reconcile relevance, excellence and inclusiveness, and promote stronger linkages for young people with the fast-changing world of work.

The director general shared UNESCO’s vision on what education should look like in 2030; on global citizenship; on girls’ and women’s empowerment; on addressing humanitarian crises, and on related issues in a session moderated by Economist senior editor Ann McElvoy. Ms. Bokova also interacted with 40 girls given the Sheikh Fatima Bint Mubarak award for their academic success and commitment to social responsibility. She also attended the Global Teacher Awards ceremony.

Dr. Liangwen Kuo


Dr. Liangwen (Wayne) Kuo is Professor of the Graduate Institute of Communication Studies at National Chiao Tung University, TAIWAN. Dr. Kuo obtained dual PhD degrees, first from the Department of Sociology at The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA, USA) in 1991, and second from the School of Media, Film and Theatre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW, Australia) in 2006. Dr. Kuo had teaching experiences in Shih Hsin University (Taiwan), Hsuan Chuan University (Taiwan), Shenzhen University (China), and Hong Kong Baptist University (Hong Kong). Dr. Kuo’s research interests include media sociology, aboriginal and ethnic media, participatory communication, cypersociety, and qualitative methodologies.