Vietnam women’s Union and global exchange – America

Global Exchange (GX) is a non-profitable organization in America, established in 1988 to promote the equality on environment, politics and society.

GX looks forwards to improve the awareness among American public and to build up the partnerships with others in the world, especially between people in America and the developing countries.


The relation between Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) and GX started in 1991 when Ms Carol Wagner- member of GX Executive Committee- was visiting the VWU Headquarter in her first trip to Vietnam. Deeply impressed by the historical struggle and the successes of the Vietnamese women as well as the diversified activities of VWU, she decided to organize a delegation of American women to visit Vietnam. With the good arrangement from VWU, the 8-member group of GX for 20 days in October 1992 had visited and worked with many organizations, cultural places and landscapes of Vietnam. “Vietnam is a beautiful country, its people is very hardworking and kind-hearted. Wherever we go, we always receive people’s enthusiasm and openness. We are specially moved with the tolerance of the Vietnamese people”- this is the common feeling of American friends. After this trip, there opens a range of activities for Vietnam and the good relation between GX and VWU.

One year after returning to America, Ms Carol Wagner established the organization for Indochina assistance of Madison, Wisconsin State, in order to directly provide support to Vietnam. Until being dissolved and mergered into Quaker Madison in 1996, the organization for Indochina assistance through VWU supported $11,000 for income generation of poor women in Quang Ngai, where hundreds of Vietnamese women, children and old people were massacred by the America war o­n 16 March 1968. All efforts to heal the wounds of war from these American friends, especially from Mr Mike Boehm who is the president of this organization, created the inspiration for the Vietnamese film producer Tran Van thuy in the film “The sound of violin in Mylai” of Vietnam Documentary Film Company o­n the occasion of 30 years of the massacre event.


Also after the 1992 trip, GX has started a scholarship program in Vietnam. Respectful for learning spirit and enthusiastic to the difficult situation of pupils in remote and mountainous areas, especially the low schooling rate of girl pupils, GX and VWU have formulated the scholarship program for the disadvantaged girl pupils who get good results in learning. According to this program, GX mobilizes the donations from its members and kind-hearted people in America. Annually, VWU at all levels in coordination with local schools and authorities select outstanding pupils who are the most reserved to receive the scholarship valued $100/each. Under the VWU supervision, the pupils use the money for supportive learning activities such as: purchasing books, learning utilities, closes, bikes, chicken-raising for income generation ...with the purpose of reducing the burden for their families etc. VWU has responsibility to transfer their application, studying results, pictures and thanking letter (the English translated o­ne) to the donors.


By now, there have been 3 mountainous provinces of Thanh Hoa, Yen Bai and Son La participating in this program with 185 female pupils (most of them are ethnic) as program beneficiaries and the total amount is up to $ 18.500. GX is proud of the practical impacts of the program as well as satisfies with the effectiveness of VWU’s management. Many touched letters; pictures from the pupils have been published in GX Bulletin, which are very supportive for fund raising of GX. Therefore, the annual grant for the program is regularly increased.


Within the framework of “Reality Tour” which was followed 1992 trip to Vietnam, in 2003 GX in cooperation with VWU and the Peace Tour Company (which belongs to VWU) have organized two delegations to Vietnam. The participants in these delegations are GX members coming from various areas, but sharing the same aspiration of getting more understanding about the country, people, culture, history, socio-economic and political situation, especially the women’s movement in Vietnam. Both trips leave the deep impression o­n the participants. They become more sympathy with Vietnam and surely, more actively contribute to GX scholarship program in Vietnam. Similar trips will be continuously organized by GX and VWU in the future.   

Although the cooperation between GX and VWU is o­n small scale, by the practical and continuous activities, the direct contact between people in two countries has contributed to enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between Vietnam and America, supporting the efforts and improving the prestige of VWU in the areas of education, gender equality and international integration