Dear beloved students,
I am delighted to welcome all of you to the new 2019-2020 school year and a new mission that I can’t wait to share with you in the next part of this letter!
After the interesting summer experiences, the last two kick-off weeks must have brought you back to the exciting and dynamic learning environment at VAS. To more than 2,000 VASers that just start their study journey at VAS from this school year, this is the time for you to discover and get acquainted with the new environment, modern facilities and advanced equipment that support for practice, research and a new learning method - where you are free to share your ideas, discuss and learn from teachers and friends.
This school year, VAS has 984 Vietnamese and foreign teachers with nearly 10,000 students studying at our 7 campuses. That means you have great opportunities to connect, expand social interaction and develop yourselves beyond the school curriculum. Don’t hesitate to grasp and exploit this wonderful opportunity because all of us, from senior managers to teachers, admissions and school support staff including security guards, drivers, maintenance staff and nannies are here and always in a state of readiness to help you feel comfortable and confident in every day of learning and growing at VAS.
My dear students,
During the years I have worked at VAS, I have had the opportunity to go along this S-shaped land and realized that Vietnam is a very beautiful and rich country in terms of natural landscape. We have massive mountains in the Northern border areas and the Central Highlands. We own rich rice fields in the lower Mekong and Red River. We possess warm seashore stretching thousands of kilometers with appealing beaches across the Central Coast, and rich tropical flora and fauna from the forest to the bottom of the sea.
Unfortunately, all those beautiful gifts of nature are currently vulnerable because of destruction, pollution or extinction! Vietnam becomes the fourth country in the world discharging plastic waste into the sea, Hanoi becomes the second most air polluted city in Southeast Asia and Ho Chi Minh City, where we live, also ranks 15th on this list. Breaking the balance of nature and polluting the water, soil and air ... not only make 77% of the wildlife lost on earth but also directly affect the daily life of humans in respect of the quality of food, water and the air we consume every day.
I know it is actually late to raise awareness of environmental protection and Vietnam is taking very slow steps compared to the developed countries in the world. But I have also observed many efforts and activities in recent times by the government, Ho Chi Minh City, news agencies, businesses, families and even Vietnamese young people at your age to reduce waste, protect the environment and preserve the nature. Those actions are gradually leading to a big change! More than ever, VASers now need to join hands and take the responsibility of a Vietnamese citizen before becoming global citizens.
“Green Year” will be a prolonged environmental project that VAS officially implements from the 2019-2020 school year. It is also a determined affirmation and commitment that VAS will participate in environmental protection activities. I am honored to bring this noble mission to all of you - the VAS Green Warriors, the mission to preserve the living environment for the future development of both human and nature.
In the next few weeks, you will be able to meet and be inspired by the reputable Vietnamese environmental activists and artists through our “VAS Talks” series. You will be updated with the latest environment news through the live and online communication channels of VAS. I look forward to the projects to share, spread the message and bring practical solutions to protect the green planet from the "Green Corner", the "VAS Green Ambassador" contest and the VAS Community Programme. I also can’t wait to see you at the VAS Green Day Run, a fundraising running event focused on planting trees.
In addition, there will be some minor changes in school that you will adapt to quickly such as reducing waste and sorting waste at the source; saving paper, electricity and water; cutting down on food waste; actively reusing, recycling and planting trees. The positive effects from the programme will be replicated and spread to families and communities with the cooperation of all parents, teachers and VAS staff.
Finally, after all these activities, I hope we would change our behavior, habits and actions that could harm the environment and start building a green lifestyle for ourselves, the civilized citizens - the Green Generation of VAS!
I wish you a new school year with lots of exciting experiences and impressive achievements on your journey to become Global Citizens and Green Warriors!
Marcel van Miert
Executive Chairman - Vietnam Australia International School