Students and professors from the University of Montana learn about how people are dealing with life and livelihoods under dynamic conditions

People of Vietnam: Mr. Ly Quoc Dang

By Max Longo

img_0326While in Vietnam, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Ly Quoc Dang, an environmental educator, community leader, and researcher through Can Tho University. Mr. Dang received a B.A in Environmental Science from Ho Chi Minh National University and a Masters in Development Studies from Geneva International University in Switzerland. He is currently a PhD candidate at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, pursuing a degree in the social sciences with an emphasis in gender studies.

Mr. Dang joined us for a day of lectures and presentations with the Delta Youth Alliance, a group of students he helps to lead at Can Tho University who are interested in environmental issues, such as environmental education, sustainable farming practices, and pollution control. It was clear that Mr. Dang motivates and inspires these students in their environmental education. In fact, the very day we met with him, he received word from the U.S. State Department that his “Teaching Farm and Youth Engagement” project proposal was funded as one of several 2017 YSEALI Seeds for the Future grants.

img_0483Mr. Dang is from the Southern Vietnamese community of Soc Trang. He first became interested in conservation issues as a child by spending time at the local Pagoda. Learning about bat conservation, he grew interested in helping to maintain the bat species and livelihoods of local people. Mr. Dang continues to bring his environmental expertise into the community, which strengthens the bond between a university system and community development. During his lecture, he said, “I work here because I want to raise the voice of the local people.” With the Khmer youth we met living in this community, he is succeeding in his mission.

Mr. Dang’s ongoing commitment to educating and expanding opportunities for local people is inspiring. His passion and enthusiasm for his job is radiant. I feel fortunate to have met him and, through him, learn about environmental issues facing Vietnam.img_0562

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