17/06/2021 09:05 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

A French advisor promoting business integrity in Vietnam

Christian Levon is an expert dedicated to fostering integrity in Vietnam, especially in young people and businesses.
When Christian Levon was working as Economic Counselor at the French Embassy in Vietnam in 2008, he met Kieu Vien and had an opportunity to discuss with her on integrity issues. Learning that Kieu Vien was devising a plan to set up a non-profit consulting firm specializing in anti-corruption in Vietnam, he silently supported her in implementing the plan because he understood that corruption is a strong issue in many countries around the world, including Vietnam.

After realizing that Kieu Vien shared the same thoughts and lifestyle as his, in 2011, Christian proposed to her to marry him. The next year, she followed him in his next posting in Vilnius (Lithuania). In 2016, realizing that his wife was still holding on to the integrity and transparency story of Vietnam, Christian decided to retire early and returned to Vietnam with his wife to help fulfill her dream.


Christian Levon is an expert dedicated to fostering integrity in Vietnam. Photo: Viet Cuong / VNP

With his wife Nguyen Thi Kieu Vien, also the director of Towards Transparency,
the couple share a passion "For a Vietnam free of corruption“. Photo: Viet Cuong / VNP

 

Christian Levon represents TT organization in Vietnam to speak
at the International Symposium on "Global Financial Crime" in Singapore. Photo: TT's FILES



Christian Levon attended t
he 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Denmark in 2018. Photo: TT's FILES


Christian Levon presented his study at the l
aunching of Vietnam Youth Integrity Survey (YIS 2019). Photo: TT's FILES

 Christian Levon, his wife, and his TT colleagues have organized many events to promote transparency in Vietnam. Photo: Viet Cuong / VNP


Christian Levon talks enthusiastically about business integrity with students
of the National Economics University, Hanoi. Photo: TT's FILES



Christian Levon and his TT colleagues at the project promoting
the role of Vietnamese youth in anti-corruption. Photo: TT's FILES 


Christian Levon awarded certificates to students of the Vietnam Integrity School (VIS) 2020. Photo: TT's FILES

After returning to Vietnam, Christian officially joined Towards Transparency (TT), accompanying his wife on a journey to promote integrity and transparency in Vietnam. TT is the national contact of Transparency International (TI) - a global movement against corruption with more than 100 international organizations.
Before joining TT, his 35-year career as a trade and economic counselor at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance took him to various countries such as France, Israel, Korea, Germany, and Lithuania. In Belgium, he worked for 5 years at the French Permanent Representation to the EU (in charge of EU external Development programs) and 5 years at the European Commission (negotiating FTAs in the field of government procurement). During his 4 years (2008-2012) working at the Embassy of France in Hanoi, he promoted bilateral trade with special emphasis on large-scale projects.

Christian joined TT as an international senior advisor but he works without pay. He tried hard to overcome the language barrier to do research and share his thoughts with his partners about integrity.

In addition to consulting, Christian holds a variety of roles such as researching, writing and editing newsletters, and organizing integrity training sessions for other companies and organizations. He has edited research and survey reports such as Business integrity in high-tech parks in Vietnam, Transparency in Corporate Reporting: Assessing the 45 largest companies, Vietnam Corruption Barometer. These studies are considered useful reference sources for the authorities in the anti-corruption assessment process in Vietnam.

In recent years, Christian and his TT colleagues have conducted several integrity surveys of Vietnamese Youth (Youth Integrity Survey). This is an important source of data to help the government and educational institutions improve their youth integrity and anti-corruption curriculum. It also provides hard data useful in conducting the Vietnam Integrity School, organized bi-annually by TT. This course enables young Vietnamese to learn and practice integrity, as well as develop ideas and projects that promote integrity in their communities. The VIS course has attracted more than 300 young people from all over the country.

Christian was invited to deliver business integrity presentations in various fora, such as the Training of trainers on business integrity (organized by VCCI, UNDP and the UK Government) or TECHFEST, the annual tech & innovation event organized by The Ministry of Science & Technology. According to Christian, promoting business integrity requires to be patient and move step after step. He hopes that in the next 5 years, when Vietnam integrates more deeply into the international arena, businesses will have a better understanding of the importance of integrity
 
Story: Bich Van        Photos: Viet Cuong & Files       Translated by Hong Hanh