BRIEF INTRODUCTION ABOUT THE VIETNAMESE SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION (VSA)
The Vietnamese Sociological Association (VSA) is a voluntary professional and social organization of Vietnamese organizations and citizens who are, or have been, active in social scientific research, teaching, training, dissemination and application, within the field of sociology nationwide. It aims to gather and unite members, protect the legitimate rights and interests of all members, and support each other in conducting the activities of building and developing the discipline of Sociology in Vietnam (citing Article 2. Purposes of The Vietnamese Sociological Association).
The founding process of the Association began with the establishment and operation of a Committee consisting of 18 members to mobilise for the establishment of a Vietnamese Sociological Association under Decision No. 18 / QD of February 14, 2003 of the Minister of Science and Technology. After more than 3 years of operation, according to Decision No. 1310 / QD-BNV dated October 4, 2006 of the Minister of Home Affairs, The Vietnamese Sociological Association was officially established. So far, The Vietnamese Sociological Association has organized and held a Congress three times.
The first Congress was held in Hanoi on December 7th and 8th, 2006. The Congress elected an Executive Board consisting of 34 members, representing all branches in the country; The Leadership Board of the First term (2007-2012) included the President of the Association: Trinh Duy Luan; Vice Presidents: Nguyen An Lich, Dang Canh Khanh, Chung A and Tran Thi Kim Xuyen. The Standing Committee of the Association consisted of 9 members: Nguyen Dinh Tan, To Duy Hop, Vu Hao Quang, Nguyen Van Thu, along with 5 members of the Association’s Leadership Board.
The second Congress was conducted on November 24th, 2012 in Hanoi. The Congress voted for a 27-member Executive Board to represent the Association’s branches nationwide; The Leadership Board of the second term (2012-2017) includes the President of the Association: Nguyen Dinh Tan; Vice Presidents: Dang Nguyen Anh (cum General Secretary); Vu Hao Quang and Tran Thi Kim Xuyen. The Standing Committee of the Association consists of 9 members: Nguyen Huu Minh, Luu Hong Minh, Trinh Duy Luan, Trinh Hoa Binh, along with 5 members of the Association’s Leadership Board.
The VSA’s National Congress of the Third Term (2017-2022) was conducted on April 8th, 2017 in Hanoi. The Congress voted for a 27-member Executive Board to represent the Association’s branches nationwide; The Leadership Board of the third term (2017-2022) includes the President of the Association: Nguyen Huu Minh; Vice Presidents: Dang Nguyen Anh (cum General Secretary); Nguyen Thi Kim Hoa and Vu Hao Quang. The Standing Committee of the Association consists of 9 members: Bui The Cuong, Trinh Duy Luan, Nguyen Dinh Tan, Le Ngoc Hung, Nguyen Thi Hong Xoan, and 4 members of the Association’s Leadership Board.
Over the past 10 years, The VSA has implemented various activities and achieved certain successes. Activities which have been implemented range from building and consolidating the organization of local branches, to professional research activities, policy advice, social criticism, international cooperation, and organizing experience exchange workshops.
The association has organised a number of large scientific conferences. In 2008, the Association collaborated with the international research project “Vietnam’s Rural Families in Transformation”, under the Vietnam – Sweden Research Cooperation Program, to organize a workshop on Vietnamese families during the Doi Moi period, which attracted many members. Also in 2008, for the first time, the Southern Sociological Association branches organized the “Southern Sociological Day”, initiating this annual activity of the Southern sociological association branches with attractive topics such as “Southern sociological training and research in the context of regional and world integration”, “Southern and Vietnamese Sociology, Global Sociology”, “Development of public sociology in Vietnam ”, and so on. The “Southern Sociology Day” received the attention of both organizations and individuals and contributed to strengthening academic exchanges, linking institutions and research, teaching and learning sociology in the Southern region and throughout the country.
On a national scale, on May 26th, 2012, the Vietnamese Sociological Association, in collaboration with the Sociological Branch of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi National University, organized a conference on “The role of sociology in social development in our country today ”. This was an opportunity for the members throughout the country to exchange ideas on theory and practice, in teaching, researching and applying sociology in Vietnam today. The Association also collaborated with the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) to organise a series of sensitising conferences such as “Enhancing the dissemination of theoretical knowledge and sociological practice in scientific and technological activities in Vietnam today “;” Policies for elderly intellectuals “; “Disseminating knowledge about social stratification and poverty reduction in Vietnam today “, and so on. In addition, other Sociological Association branches also actively held seminars and conferences to discuss theoretical issues, methods and practices of Vietnamese and world sociology, and seminars attracting a large number of members of participating associations and resulting in social scientific and practical effectiveness.
Regarding international cooperation activities, the Association has actively developed cooperative and exchange relationships with domestic and international research institutes and universities. In 2007, in Hanoi, the Association leaders received and worked with the Vice President of the International Sociological Association, Prof. Michael Bourvoy; In 2010, Prof. Manshurov, President of the Russian Sociological Society. In addition, at the first Congress, the VSA welcomed Professor Francoise Houtart, a prestigious sociologist from Belgium who attended and spoke at the Congress. He had long contributed to the development of Vietnamese sociology from the late 1970s until his death in June 2017. In recent years, the Association continues to maintain and develop relationships with existing sociologists and sociological organizations, and expand the network of relations in other countries and regions around the world. The Association leaders met with international sociologists (USA, Canada, Japan, Poland, Australia, Korea, Mexico, and so on.) when attending international conferences as well as when they came to attend the seminar in Vietnam about the current sociological issues of interest and the possibilities of bi- and/or multi-lateral cooperation.
Regarding social counselling and criticism, the members of the Association have actively participated in conferences, seminars, and contributed comments to the central departments and agencies such as the draft Social Security Strategy (Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Society), National Orientation for Sustainable Development 2011-2020 (chaired by MPI and National Office of Sustainable Development), … with many ideas on sustainable social management and development in the context of innovation and international integration. The Standing Committee of the Association participated in consultative and critical conferences organized by VUSTA and made practical suggestions on a regular basis. In addition, the Association collaborated with other professional social organizations to carry out social criticism on social issues of interest such as Hanoi Urban Planning, Vietnam Development Orientation vision 2020. Since April 2009, the President of the Association has been invited to become an official member of the National Council for Sustainable Development (now the Council for Enhancing National Competitiveness and Sustainable Development, with the Deputy Prime Minister as Chairman) and actively contributed recommendations from a sociological perspective to the policies of the Party and State in the field of social and sustainable development. The leaders of the Association also conducted various field trips with VUSTA’s advisory and critical team to contribute recommendations from a social perspective. It can be said that the VSA’s potential capacity and opportunity to participate and contribute to research activities, to serve social criticism, to assess social impacts of projects, planning and policy making and the like requires further expansion and development. In the immediate future, activities include those coordinated with VUSTA. In the future, VSA can independently undertake the tasks of consulting and criticism. On the one hand, it will meet the needs of the social development career and on the other hand, it will contribute to improving the capacity and contribution of the sociology and VSA in these large social areas.
Regarding research activities, in 2017, within the framework of the Ministerial-level Program “A Comprehensive Study and Assessment of the Family in a Period of Industrialization, Modernization, and International Integration” chaired by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, VSA conducted a project on “the Middle-Class Families in Vietnam alongside with the Process of Cultural, Socio-Economic Development” which was led by Prof. Dr. Trinh Duy Luan. This was also the first ministerial level chaired by the Association, which attracted many experts and researchers of the Association to get directly involved. The project was defended and rewarded with an Excellent score on January 25, 2019. In 2018, the ministerial-level project “Migration of freelance workers from rural areas to Hanoi – Current situation and policy solutions” led by Dr. Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh while the Sociology Association is the lead agency and VUSTA is the management agency. The project was defended and received Good score in December 2018.
Regarding the communication work, right from the second term, the Association launched the operation of the official website of the Association (http://vsa.net.vn/) and went into operation relatively regularly, providing with the articles, information, links to other websites of sociological research and training institutions as well as related agencies.
In terms of organization, the Association has finalized the organizational structure of the Functional Committees assisting for the Standing Committee, approved the Regulation on the Establishment of Scientific and Technological Organizations under the Association. Organizational improvement is an important basis to promote other Association’s activities to develop better in the future. At the same time with the task of strengthening existing branches, the Association also promotes the establishment of a number of new sociological societies. So far, VAS has 18 association branches in provinces and cities such as Hanoi, Hue, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Can Tho and Da Lat.
Meeting the requirements of society, the birth of Vietnamese Sociological Association has actively contributed to the dissemination of knowledge to officials and people on social issues, improving professional capacity for those people working in the field of sociology. The Association has promoted the role of voluntary social-professional organization, contributing to the socio-economic policy advice and criticism, providing scientific arguments for the formulation of policies in the service of the country’s socio-economic development more and more effectively and successfully.