Andy Mai cropAlmost 40 years after the war ended, for many Americans a mention of Vietnam still brings back images of body counts in the far-away jungles – and protests and pains at home.

But when visitors land in Hanoi or Saigon today, the sights, sounds and chaotic energy convincingly demonstrate that the younger generation of Vietnam, 80 percent of whom were born after 1975, has found ways to move on, in spite of current political restrictions and tough economic conditions.

Next Thursday (July 25) at 3:30 p.m. Andy Mai will explore “Vietnam, Then and Now” in a presentation sponsored by the Arizona Senior Academy at Academy Village.

Mai was born in Vietnam as one of seven children. In 1964, sensing that war was coming, his parents encouraged him to leave the country after high school and seek opportunities elsewhere. He applied and was accepted for a scholarship to study engineering in Germany. Following his university education, his love for travel led him to take employment in Germany, Finland, Canada and eventually the USA. Mai is now retired and recently settled in the Academy Village.

Mai states that his native country is still quite poor by Western standards, although the recent jumps in exports of oil, agricultural products and tourism have been a big boost to the country’s economy. Having visited Vietnam many times in the last 15 years, the speaker says he has witnessed remarkable economic progresses, as well as a slow, but continuous, relaxation of personal freedom.

Mai’s talk will explore the history of Vietnam, its promising accomplishments in recent years and the challenges ahead.

Submitted by Marcia Reinagel, Academy Village Volunteer


A Look at Vietnam – Then and Now: July 2013
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