Chief Digital Technology Officer & SVP
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Two Ships Passing on the Way to Vietnam
While Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was here in the U.S. to discuss issues like trade, the environment and inflation, I was making my very first visit to Ho Chi Minh City. I have spent lots of time in Hanoi in recent years and was very excited to get to know a new Vietnamese city.
What struck me on this trip were the tremendous cultural and economic advances that continue to push Vietnam into the global spotlight. Businesses are cropping up everywhere, landscapes are changing rapidly. The integration of Vietnam into Western culture is astounding. For example, Vietnam is hosting the Miss Universe pageant this summer. The contest kicked off in Ho Chi Minh City and will include several events in Hanoi. The pageant itself will take place in Nha Trang this July. Just this one event, global and iconic in nature, has changed the very streets of Vietnam. There are more Western tourists filling the roads and the souvenir shops are selling apparel geared to the event and new audiences.
While in Vietnam I was watching the country transform and meeting IT teams, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met with President Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. They agreed to increase dialogue on both sides when it comes to politics, national defense, security, the environment, sciences and technology. Their meetings are another signal of the important role Vietnam is working to play in today's global marketplace.
And the news of the two leaders meeting was not only front and center here in the U.S. It dominated the Vietnamese news cycle every day that I was in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam is very eager to deepen and broaden their relationship with the U.S. From what I have seen in Vietnam and the people I have met, it is clear to me that the U.S. can be an excellent guide to this rapidly developing country as it works to become a more responsible, competitive and progressive global citizen. My hope is that despite explosive growth Vietnam can still retain its strong heritage and avoid the cultural losses that many of today's large, economically booming countries have suffered. I very much hope Vietnam remains the Asian Pearl -- rich in culture, sincerity and tradition.