In love with Vietnam

David Devin - beyond love for Vietnamese women

After working in Vietnam during the war, David Devin returned to the S-shaped country in peacetime. During his 19 years living in Vietnam, the 78-year-old writer has continued his writing career, teaches English, and participates in community activities supporting Vietnamese women in their life and work.

Seattle, where David Devin grew up, has more than 60,000 Vietnamese living there. In the "Little Saigon" area, David would come and speak Vietnamese with the shop owners and buy books, newspapers and CDs. He had a chance to see traditional handicrafts and enjoy special food from all the regions of Vietnam. Vietnamese culture had planted a seed in the young man.

While studying at the University of Washington, David first went to Vietnam in June 1967. He spent 3 months of his summer holiday with a northern family who had migrated to Dak Lak province.

From October 1968 to April 1975, he went back to Vietnam and worked as a finance officer of at the US Embassy. During this time, with the project “Plowers have fields”, David traveled to rural areas of Central Vietnam to buy paddle rice fields from landowners and distribute them to poor farmers for free.

Later, David returned to the US and worked in the US State Department. After retired in 1990, David set up a construction company and then almost went bankrupt due to a major business incident.

In 2009, he decided to go back to Ho Chi Minh City to reflect on the ups and downs of his life.

The book "Loving Female Leadership" has become a  phenomenon in Vietnam with 8 reprints.

Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

David Devin talks with young Vietnamese about the book “Loving female leadership” and how to learn English. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

David Devin with his students at a talk about success stories for Vietnamese women. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

For him, love contributes to helping women achieve success. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

David Devin and Vietnamese students. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

David renewed his life by learning Vietnamese, achieving a pedagogical certificate, and moving to Hanoi. Since then, he has worked as a teacher of English.

Teaching at Bac Ha University, Hanoi University of Mining and Geology, and Nguyen Trai University, he was surprised that most students dreamed of becoming the CEO of a big company, but they were not taught how to. 

This inspired him to write the book "Loving Female Leadership". In 2015, this book became a phenomenon in Vietnam with 5 reprints. Khuc Hoa Phuong, director of the Women's Publishing House, said that David's book was the most interesting and most useful book for women among the works they had published in 10 years. The publishing company presented the "Most Inspiring Author 2015" award to David.

David had organized 30 seminars discussing the topic of "leadership with love" attracting a large number of female participants.

Currently, David is also teaching 6 Vietnamese students to express the messages they want to deliver in books.

As a teacher for 9 years, David has helped 6,000 Vietnamese students improve their pronunciation and grammar. Thanks to his help, more than 10 Vietnamese alumni had a chance to study for a mMaster's degree courses at the top universities in the USA.

Some English teaching centers also asked him to teach math and science in local high schools. On November 20th, 2015, in a contest with 100 native teachers, David won an award for "Top Favorite Teachers in Topica" voted on by more than 1,000 students.

The greatest joy to him is that he regularly receives emails from Vietnamese women, thanking him for writing the book and asking for his advice in dealing with relationships and taking control of their lives.


Story: Bich Van Photos: Viet Cuong Translated by Hong Hanh

Japanese Coordinator Helps Economic Empowerment for Ethnic youth

Japanese Coordinator Helps Economic Empowerment for Ethnic youth

Haruna Ishimaru, a Japanese woman, has worked as the project coordinator for the Plan  International's "Promoting economic empowerment for ethnic Minority Youth in ha Giang and Lai Chau" initiative. Her work involves regular travel to remote areas within these provinces, where she directly supports the economic development of ethnic minority youth.