By Mary Caroline Mitchell
Springfield, IL-3, Chapter Leader
Dr. Ha Ngo, Ph.D., is the director of a women’s empowerment program in Vietnam. Visiting the US as part of a program sponsored by the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, we were fortunate to have her join us for our February chapter meeting. The State Department program fosters citizen diplomacy and brought Dr. Ngo, the deputy director, Center for Education, Promotion and Empowerment of Women located in Hanoi, Vietnam, to Springfield.
She is a gold star alumni of the program. She was selected to make this trip — her second to the states — based on her role in drafting 2006 legislation in Vietnam to prevent domestic violence. The law that she drafted was a direct result of ideas she got from her trip to the US in 2001.
While in Springfield she visited domestic violence prevention programs, attended a court hearing and ate dinner with our Dining for Women group, as she wanted to meet women social entrepreneurs. My husband and I hosted for her for two night nights in our home. Having been on the Dining for Women trip to Vietnam in March 2013, I was especially eager for one on one time with this Vietnamese leader who works for human and women’s rights through her leadership of a non governmental organization. One of our chapter members, Karen Hasara, the first woman mayor of Springfield, is currently in Vietnam on a DFW trip and hopes to have a chance to meet with Dr. Ngo while she is in Hanoi.