The speech at the MDRI 5th Anniversary Ceremony delivered by Dr. Phung Duc Tung, President of Mekong Development Research Institute.
Dear MDRI Partners, colleagues, and friends,
On April 17, 2013, with the support of Mr. Dang Kim Son and other senior researchers, Cuong, my six colleagues and I gave birth to MDRI.
Five years have gone by so fast, but not as fast as how the changes have taken place at MDRI. Over the past five years, MDRI has undergone a great deal of fluctuations: changes in personnel and in development direction. We have been involved in a large number of large-scale researches and projects, many of which are not in our field ofstrength and posegreat challenges for a young research institute. However, MDRI has overcome the upheavals while still upholding the core values of responsibility and honesty and maintaining a creative, dynamic, friendly and open environment.
Around 60 research and development projects conducted over the past few years are the best evidence of MDRI’s development. MDRI has conducted research in a wide range of areas: designing and evaluating the impact of development projects, research on ethnic minority poverty, water and sanitation, climate change, labor and migration, agriculture, trade, SME support, health and education, policy advice, poverty reporting by the World Bank, the Government’s MDGs 2013 and 2015, and more recently the VNR report.
In addition to research and policy advice, MDRI also conducts a number of empirical studies on the behavior of households and enterprises. Ourfindingshave been published in renowned journals such as American Economics Journal, World Development, The European Journal of Development Research, European Review of Agricultural Economics. As a result, MDRI has maintained its No. 1 position among the 42 Vietnamese research institutes according to IDEAS – Economic and Finances Research.
Over the past five years, MDRI has welcomed over 20 delegations of policymakers, university lecturers, researchers and students from countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, The United States, Korea, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Myanmar to exchange and share Vietnam’s experience in reforms and development.
Over the past five years we have also seen developments in the Institute’s research cooperation with major universities and research institutions in the world such as Minesota University, Oxford, Georgetown, Lund, Stockholm, Uppsala, De Rouen. , Duke, Indiana, Gottingen, Hannover, Frankfurt, Washington, Suffolk, Deakin, ANU, Brisbane, etc. for high quality academic research. In addition, MDRI has also cooperated with leading consulting firms in the field of development such as Nathan, Chemonics, NIRASS, MSI, ITAD, Landmill’s, ASI to produce consultancy reports which are highly valued by our donors.
Over the past five years, MDRI has become a trusted partner of many government agencies such as the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ethnic Minorities Committee, Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, to carry out research and policy consultancy, including impact assessments of important programs and policies, and the writing of national reports.
MDRI has inspired many new graduates to embrace theinstitute’sworking spirit of honesty, striving for excellence and progress. Participation in many field trips during the Institute’s projects has given the youngsters many eye-opening experiences and lessons. MDRI has also become a place where many international students from countries like the USA, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, France, etc. come for their internship and research on Vietnam.
MDRI is proud to be the first home to nurture the academic dreams of many young researchers to pursue further studies and research work abroad. Their stories will be shared in the later part of today’s event.
What we have achieved today is attributed to the immense support and cooperation of our partners, colleagues, and the extraordinary effort of MDRI staff. On this occasion, on behalf of the Institute, I sincerely thank the partners, colleagues and researchers in Vietnam and abroad for their support and trust. In particular, I would like to thank the staff who have been working at MDRI, who have experienced together many emotions and moments, with the common goal of nurturing MDRI which has been now recognized for a certain contribution to the development of Vietnam and the Mekong countries. Special thanks to Dr. Nguyen Viet Cuong, my longtime friend who has accompanied me in leading the institute and who has made great contributions to the academic quality of the Institute.
Thank you for your valuable presence today.