Seminar: Vietnam and the Major Powers: Multilateralising International Defence and Security Cooperation



About the Seminar

For the past twenty-five years Vietnam has pursued a policy of ‘multilateralising and diversifying’ its foreign relations. Vietnam seeks to develop comprehensive relations with each major power without aligning with any one of them. Vietnam manages it external relations through the framework of formal agreements on strategic partnerships such as those with Russia (2001), India (2006), Japan (2007), China (2009), and in the case of the United States an agreement on comprehensive partnership (2013).

Since 2011 Vietnam has given priority to developing international defence and security cooperation with the major powers. Vietnam seeks to give each major power equity in Vietnam’s stability and development in order to ensure Vietnam’s non-alignment and strategic autonomy. This seminar compares and contrasts Vietnam’s multilateralization of international defence and security cooperation with Russia, India, the United States, Japan and China over the last five years.

About the Speaker

Carlyle A. Thayer is Emeritus Professor, The University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra. Most of his academic career has been spent teaching in a military environment: The Royal Military College-Duntroon (1979-85); Australian Defence Force Academy (1985-2010); Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu (1999-2002); Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, Australian Defence College (2002-04); and the Australian Command and Staff College (2006-07 and 2010). In 2005 he was appointed C. V. Starr Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. In 2008 he was appointed the Inaugural Frances M. and Stephen H. Fuller Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. Professor Thayer was educated at Brown (1967), and received an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from Yale (1971) and a PhD in International Relations from The Australian National University (1977). He is the author of over 500 academic publications, including: The Vietnam People’s Army Under Doi Moi (ISEAS 1994); Beyond Indochina, Adelphi Paper 297 (IISS 1995); Vietnam People’s Army: Development and Modernization (2009); and Southeast Asia: Patterns of Security Cooperation (ASPI 2010).

For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 3 June 2016.

Seminar: Party Elections in Vietnam:The Assessment of the 12th Party Congress




The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) held its 12th national congress from 20 – 28 January 2016. The congress attracted a lot of public attention not only because it reviewed the country’s past thirty years of reforms under Doi Moi (renovation) and set the national socio-economic, political and foreign policy framework for the coming years, but also because of the rumoured internal power struggle for the party’s top job. The seminar will provide an analysis of the congress by examining its actual proceedings, its major outcomes, especially in terms of leadership changes, as well as its broader implications for Vietnam and the region.

The seminar will also address key issues for the economic development ahead. The 12th National Congress has adopted resolutions on socio-economic development of the country, aiming to reach sustainable high growth and development in the next 5 years. For the first time, Vietnam’s business community will face strong competition in its domestic market, while at the same time the government faces sturdy external pressure to reform its institutions and market economy as well as the quality of manpower.


Le Hong Hiep is Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore, and Lecturer at the Faculty of International Relations, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City. Hiep earned his PhD in Politics from the University of New South Wales in 2015. Before becoming an academic, he worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam from 2004 to 2006. Hiep’s scholarly articles and analyses have been published in Contemporary Southeast Asia, Asian Politics & Policy, Southeast Asian Affairs, Korean Journal of Defence Analysis, ASPI Strategic Insights, American Review, and The Diplomat.

Le Dang Doanh is currently a Senior Fellow at the Economic College, Hanoi National University (HNU) and member of the Scholar Board of the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM). Before that, Dr Le Dang Doanh was a senior economist and advisor to the Minister of Planning and Investment until his retirement in July 2007. Dr Le has also been a member of the (advisory) research commission of the Prime Minister of Vietnam from 1993 until June 2006; the president of the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM) between 1993 and 2001; vice-president of the CIEM from 1990 to 1993; and the senior economist to the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Van Linh from 1989 until 1990. In addition, Dr Le has lectured at universities and academies in Hanoi, and spent time as a visiting professor at the Nihon University in Tokyo. He has served on various boards and committees, including the commission for state-owned enterprise reform; the research group of the Prime Minister for socio-economic and administration reform; the commission for finance and monetary policy; the Vietnam-Japan Research Council; and the commission for finance and foreign exchange in East and South East Asia of the Ministry of Finance of Japan, nominated by Minister Myazawa.

For registration, please fill in this form and email to by Tuesday, 1 March 2016.

Vietnam Forum 2016





The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) adopted the Doi Moi (Renovation) policy at its sixth National Congress in 1986, opening up a new chapter in the country’s modern history. Under Doi Moi, Vietnam has undergone significant socio-economic reforms that transformed the country from a backward centrally-planned, autarkic economy into a dynamic market-based and highly internationally integrated one, and one of the most successful stories in terms of poverty reduction in Asia’s contemporary history. The country’s political system has also adopted various reforms to facilitate economic development and good governance. At the same time, Vietnam’s foreign policy has also been renovated under Doi Moi as Hanoi abandoned the ideology-based foreign policy making to pursue the “diversification and multilateralisation” of its international relations. As such, Vietnam has transformed itself into a well respected international partner with increasing influence over regional affairs .

Against this backdrop, the Vietnam Forum 2016 on “Vietnam: Thirty years of Doi Moi and beyond” will provide a timely opportunity for Vietnam watchers to review and examine the various socio-economic, political and foreign policy transformations that Doi Moi has produced over the past 30 years as well as their national and regional implications. Held at a critical juncture of the country’s development, the Forum will also be an appropriate platform for scholars and policy makers to share their views on Vietnam’s contemporary challenges and its future trajectories.


Please download the Programme (as of 1 April 2016) here.


Registration is now closed. Thank you for your interest.

Please note

• Admission to the forum can only be taken as confirmed upon receiving the written acceptance from ISEAS.
• We regret that unconfirmed and late arrivals will not be admitted.

Seminar: Politics of the United States-China-Vietnam Triangle




Vietnam’s balance of power act, namely the policy of seeking counterweight to Chinese pressures and the politics of the United States-China-Vietnam triangle, took shape in the early years of the 21st century. However, it was deeply rooted in the changing relationship between the big powers in the 1980’s and Vietnam’s need to adjust its policy to these changes. This seminar will examine the factors and forces that underline this triangular relationship; the role, perspective, moves and countermoves of each of the players in the triangle; the impact of the South China Sea dispute on their relationship; and the regional implications of this triangular politics.


Dr Nguyen Manh Hung is Professor Emeritus of Government and International Relations at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. Before joining the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute as Visiting Senior Fellow he was Nonresident Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. Dr Hung received his License en Droit (equivalent to a J.D.) from the Faculty of Law, University of Saigon (1960), his M.A. and Ph.D. in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson Department of Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia (1963 and 1965 respectively).

A two-time Fulbright Scholar and Social Science Research Council Fellow, Dr. Hung is the author of several books, book chapters, articles, and commentaries in journals such as World Affairs, Asian Survey, Pacific Affairs, Global Asia, Amerasia Journal, and Journal of Asian Thought and Society, Asia Pacific Bulletin, The Diplomat, and CogitAsia. Dr Hung has contributed book chapters to New Directions in the International Relations of Southeast Asia (Singapore University Press, 1973), Refugees in the United States (Greenwood Press, 1985), The American War in Vietnam: Lessons, Legacies, and Implications for Future Conflict (Greenwood Press, 1987), Refugees in America in the 1990’s (Greenwood Press, 1996), Southeast Asia on the Growth Path (Universiti Pertanian Malaysia Press, 1997), Southeast Asian Affairs 2004 (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2004), and “U.S.-Vietnam Relations: Evolving Perceptions,” in Strategic Asia 201-2015: U.S. Alliances and Partnerships at the Center of Global Powers, National Bureau of Asian Research, 2014.


For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 11 December 2015.

Seminar: Vietnam-US Relations: Opportunities and Constraints in an Integrated World



In the past two decades, US-Vietnam relations has rapidly progressed, from navigating through the imposition of sanctions to a comprehensive partnership. Previously isolated, Vietnam now fully embraces regional integration. This transformation is closely associated with improvements in its bilateral relationship with the US, and effected by changes brought about by the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and possibly the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This seminar will discuss the domestic, bilateral, and international forces that brought about these changes, and also discuss opportunities and constraints, against the backdrop of recent developments.


Bui Thi Phuong Lan (Lan Bui) received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2003. Thereupon, she was pivotal in designing and setting up the operation of the US Congress funded Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF). In 2005, she founded and served as Dean of Faculty of International Studies at Hanoi University, the first and only undergraduate program that teaches social sciences in English in Vietnam.

Her interests and writings include global history (US, Europe, China), environment, and education. She has contributed to the New Literary History of America (2009) and Access, Equity and Capacity in Asia Pacific Higher Education (2010). Her book on Vietnam-US Relations 1994-2010 by Social Sciences Publishing House came out in 2011 in Hanoi. Dr. Bui was Deputy Director for the Institute of American Studies, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences in Hanoi, Vietnam.


For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 23 November 2015.

Workshop: Chinese in Vietnam – Trends and Developments


This workshop brings together contemporary research on the ethnic Chinese in Vietnam. The papers in this workshop will examine a variety of issues including the dynamic economic position of the ethnic Chinese in the country, their cultural negotiations with the broader community, business networks and tensions, temple rituals, and the impact that the rise of China has had on them. The aim of the workshop is to present research findings, update the existing literature, and to identify further areas of investigation into the lifeworlds of the Vietnamese Chinese.

This event is open for registration on a first-come, first-served basis.

The programme can be found here.

To register, please complete this form and email it to by Wednesday, 6 October 2015.