Hanoi University president and associates visit May 4 Visitor Center


Members of the Hanoi University Delegation including President Nguyen Dinh Luan, Dean Dr. Hoang Gia Thu and Director of International Office Nguyen Ngoc Tan look at a display at the May 4th memorial museum in Taylor hall on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015. The trio are here to sign an agreement between the University of Hanoi and Kent State partnering them in a Student Exchange Program.

Bruce Walton

The shots heard around the world on May 4, 1970, lives on in infamy at Kent State University, but even in the minds of Nguyen Dinh Luan, president of Hanoi University, the silence came to a bang of realization at the May 4 Visitors Center on Tuesday.

“I actually first heard of the killing of the four students when I first arrived here on campus,” Luan said. “And obviously, it tells me American people will always protest against war.”

Luan, along with his colleagues, Nguyen Ngoc Tan, director of international office and Hoang Gia Thu, dean of faculty of management and tourism, came to Kent State to sign an agreement with Kent State President Beverly Warren.

The agreement, signed later that day, planned for the universities to partner in a student exchange program allowing a collaboration with Kent State’s campus in Florence, Italy, according to a press release.

Hanoi University, established in 1959, serves as the leading institution in foreign language training. The exchange program for Hanoi University, Tan said, helps expand the different areas of academia like history.

Mindy Farmer, director of May 4 Visitors Center, gave the visitors a tour of the museum in the visiting center, and said she felt very excited to educate them on May 4.

“I’m very interested because the history of the United States and the history of Vietnam are linked tightly and this is a place where it is often said, the war came home,” she said. “So to have visitors from Vietnam here is an honor.”

Farmer said she looked forward to the exchange because unlike on May 4, Kent State has a choice to make history where the two universities can develop a relationship, which she believes is an amazing international opportunity.

During the tour, Farmer presented the set stage in the western world in social justice and the growing gap of generations of Americans in the 1960s. Later, with the Vietnam War progressing and the growing anti-war protests in universities, the conflict reached a boiling point, as they witnessed in a short film of the events which transpired on May 4.

Afterwards, Farmer showed them the international impact of the deaths and injuries of Kent State students through the headlines of countless newspapers across the world and political shifts to make sure nothing like this could happen again.

Tan said the Visitors Center has great importance to remember the past in order to build a better future, which Farmer added was Kent State’s mission too.

Thu complimented Kent State for maintaining the history of May 4, and urged not just Vietnamese students, but all students to see the Visitors Center.

Farmer said she looks forward to the exchange of Kent State and Hanoi University, which she hoped helped provide a greater connection through the tour of the Visitors Center.

“There’s an element of humanity that ties us all together,” she said. “It’s a sad place, but it’s also a place of hope and I think those two things—regardless of what culture you come from—I think are really apparent here and I think that’s a global message.”

Contact Bruce Walton at [email protected].