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What is VIET Fellows?

The Vietnam Involvement and Engagement Tour (VIET) is a multifaceted effort to invest in the leadership of young Vietnamese Americans in order to improve the quality of life of communities in the US and Vietnam.  The VIET Fellows program is an example of how to engage Vietnamese Americans in civic participation and their drive to give back to the community.

Why VIET Fellows?

A generation of Vietnamese Americans has grown up in the U.S. as part of the largest Vietnamese diaspora community in the world.  This generation is living proof of a community that has re-rooted and recreated their community in the U.S., while maintaining connections to their home country.  An estimated $35 billion is sent to Vietnam in family remittances, charitable causes, business investment, and community development.  For the younger generation, exploring a connection to Vietnam can mean many things, but the subject of the Vietnam War and Agent Orange/Dioxin (AO/D) is not always accessible.  Yet, approximately 12 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed over 18,000 square miles in Vietnam from 1961-1971 and that toxic legacy persists today in the environment and people of Vietnam. The lack of reconciliation for the Vietnamese people and its diaspora communities remains. Mirroring that disconnect is a lack of alignment between Vietnam and the U.S. philanthropic infrastructures. This is an issue that some may try to forget, but this is an issue that can inspire and activate change.

Who is leading VIET Fellows?

The VIET Fellows program is a project of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), an organization dedicated to building democratic philanthropy.   Founded in 1990, AAPIP invests in the issues that matter most to AAPIs, builds leaders, and lifts AAPI voices in social and policy debates to power the change and the future the AAPI community needs and wants.  President/Executive Director Peggy Saika, VIET Fellows U.S. Program Director Tony Luong, and VIET Fellows Vietnam Program Director Xuan Nguyen lead an experienced team to design, prepare, and manage the VIET Fellows project.