Phuong-Mai Nguyen, Ph.D., Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
A few weeks before the launching of my book “Con Đường Hồi Giáo” (“Alone, Asian, and atheist in the Middle East”), I had a facebook conversation very late at night with the founder of Spread Out Academic Club. She invited me to be the first guest speaker for the nascent Club on the topic of Islam.
I was pleasantly surprised with how a spontaneously created group of 25 young students neatly organized their debut activities. Apart from some lack of academic experience, things went exceptionally well. The audience was filtered through a range of screening questions before being accepted; Participants were then provided with reference materials to get prepared; Transcripts, briefings and further readings were eventually sent out after the talk.
However, what really left a heartfelt impression in me is their great attitude towards learning and taking initiatives. While millions of students complain that there is no academic support and freedom in Vietnam, instead of blaming at school or society, these youths have taken action to set up a knowledge playground for themselves, and everyone else who cares to learn.
I always believe that with the advancement of our time, knowledge has become almost cost-free. As Donny Miller said, “in this age of information, ignorance is a choice”.
Xuan-Dung Cao, Ph.D., Ho Chi Minh City Open University, Vietnam
Through their preparation for the first screening – discussion of the film “Obsolescence Programme”, I witnessed goodwill, dynamism, progressive attitude, and honesty of all the club members I know. These qualities make me think they have great potential to contribute effectively and sustainably to spread constructive information and knowledge, not only limited to Ho Chi Minh City but throughout the country.
Long Dany, Documentation Center of Cambodia, Cambodia
The club members are very young and have initiative ideas for programs. They create a good chance for Vietnamese young generation to learn some historical experiences from neighboring countries like us in Cambodia. Moreover, they can able to discuss the topics among people from Southeast Asian countries.
This is a club with many useful activities. Not only can the members responsible for the topic learn something, but also will mentors learn a lot from them. Compared with many programs and projects which are cost-consuming but inefficient, investing in a youth community with such practical activities like this is a should-do and not an extravagance. I will keep supporting SOAC in the upcoming time.