Call for Applications: July 2019 Training Program on “Contemporary Challenges to Development in Upland Regions of Vietnam: Impact on Ethnic Minority Peoples”

Call For Applications

We are pleased to announce a call for applications for a July 2019 Harvard-Yenching Institute/Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences Joint Advanced Training Program in Vietnam:
Contemporary challenges to development in upland regions of Vietnam: Impact on ethnic minority peoples
Organized by the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Institute of Anthropology, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences
Held in Vietnam from July 1-11, 2019
Application deadline: April 30, 2019
Download application form [Word]
Download Call for Applications/Program Description – English version [Word]
Download Call for Applications/Program Description – Vietnamese version [Word]


Most ethnic minority groups in Vietnam are located in upland regions, where their history and cultural identities have been formed for centuries. However, since the 1960s, this upland region has experienced tremendous socio-economic, demographic and environmental changes. Migration, market-oriented economy, land or forest laws, urbanization, modernization and globalization are significant forces that have influenced these processes. Accordingly, landscapes and livelihoods of ethnic minority peoples have been tremendously modified, affecting social networks and cultural identities. In terms of economic activities, subsistence-oriented farming has been replaced by cash crops, and emerging multiple income sources outside agriculture such as tourism, wage work or businesses have become more and more significant. Ethno-demographic picture indicates that different ethnic groups are living together in the same villages/communes, in so-called new ethnic living zones with intertwined ethnic boundaries. Acculturation has diminished cultural differences, fostered cultural exchanges and posed challenges for ethnic minority cultural identity maintenance.

Therefore, there is a need to have a new approach to studies related to Vietnam’s upland region in general, and to ethnic minority people in particular. These two concepts must be viewed with new eyes and interpreted by new discourses. In order to do this, updated theories and methodologies related to ethnic studies including ethnicity, ethnic relations, cultural changes and human-nature relations will be important foundations.

Objectives of this course include:

  • Introduction of key contemporary theories and theoretical literatures related to ethnicity, ethnic identities, ethnic relations, cultural changes, and nature-human relations;
  • Introduction of key contemporary methodologies and research tools that are feasible and useful for upland studies and ethnic studies;
  • Introduction of an updated picture about the state of changes and challenges to Vietnam’s upland region and to ethnic minority peoples;
  • Provision of a comprehensive view and understanding about various transformations in Vietnam in the post Doi Moi era;
  • Creation of a network for scholars who are interested in the proposed themes.

Training topics:

  • Cultural and socio-economic changes in upland region;
  • Development challenges in upland regions
  • Nature- human relations in upland context;
  • Disciplinary differences and interdisciplinary exchanges in studying the upland and minority ethnicity;
  • Research methodologies for conducting field studies in upland and ethnic minority upland contexts;

Harvard-Yenching Institute Fellowship Opportunity for Academic Year 2020-21: After the workshop, the Harvard-Yenching Institute will offer opportunity for a very small number of outstanding trainees from Asian universities and institutions to visit the Harvard-Yenching Institute for a one-year research stay with HYI fellowship in the 2020-21 academic year.


  • There will be 20 students accepted to the program including international students;
  • Applicants should be enrolled in PhD programs of recognized institutions in Vietnam or in other countries in the region, and should major in related fields such as Anthropology, Sociology, Cultural Studies, History and Gender Studies. Their dissertation topic must be about upland regions or about ethnic minority peoples;
  • For those who are not Vietnamese, fluency in Vietnamese is a must;
  • Vietnamese students who received scholarship and studied aboard for graduate degrees are not eligible to apply.


  • There are six lecturers; three are international and three are Vietnamese;
  • Each international lecturer will give lectures for two days including time for field visit, while there is one day for Vietnamese lecturers.
  • The proposed topics are tentative, and subject to change for more detail
Training time and place:
  • The training is planned to start at the beginning of July 2019. Call for application will be announced in early March 2019;
  • Length of the program is 11 days of which the first 06 days will be in Hanoi, at the institute of Anthropology meeting room;
  • Students will spend 5 days studying and living in Mai Chau, Hoa Binh. They will have opportunity to pay field visit for quick interviews with local ethnic minority peoples and bring collected information back to class for discussion. Detail schedule will be provided later;
Language: There will be one English-Vietnamese interpreter for international lecturers
Financial supports
  • International students are responsible for their visa application and round-trip air ticket. The institute of Anthropology will provide necessary supporting documents for the visa application (if any);
  • Accommodation, meal and transportation cost for all participants during the program will be provided by the organizers;
Application: Interested applicants should submit their electronic applications in English or Vietnamese to following email address at no later than April 30, 2019.
Application packets should include:
  • Brief CV with certification of their institutions (no longer than 3 pages)
  • Application form
  • Two recommendation letter from academic advisor or employer
Application documents will not be returned. 

SelectionThe institute of Anthropology will establish a selection committee to review all applications. Final selection will be announced before May 15, 2019.
Contact person: 
Dr. Nguyen Cong Thao
Handphone: 0943-071-577