Friday, October 23, 2009

Fellowship for Deputy Prime Minister Hai, of Vietnam

At lunch today,  I had the honour of awarding Fellowship by Presidential Invitation to the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam,  Houng Trung Hai.

Deputy Prime Minister Hai is an electrical engineer,  graduating from Hanoi Polytechnique in 1981.   He subsequently completed an MBA at Trinity College Dublin in 1994.

His initial career was at the Pha Lai thermal coal fired plant about 65km north east of Hanoi,  rising to become Chief Engineer, and managing four 110MW Russian built turbines.   He then became international cooperation manager at Power Company 1,  a unit of Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), handling 15 provinces in the north of the country.

In 1993 he joined the Ministry of Energy,  and subsequently was placed on the Board of Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).   By 1998 he was President and CEO of EVN.

He became Vice Minister and then Minister of Industry from 2000,  and has been Deputy Prime Minister since 2007.

He has been very active on behalf of Vietnam,  visiting President Nathan in Singapore this summer;  Premier Wen Jaibao in Dalian recently at the East Asia World Economic Forum,  which will now be held in Vietnam next year;  and just last week signing trade co-operation agreements with Belaruss,  before visiting UK,  Northern Ireland and ourselves.

The lunch was hosted by ESB International,  and in particular by Padraig MacManus (ESB CEO) and Ollie Brogan (ESBI). 

Deputy Prime Minister Hai has excellent English,  and the lunch was quite an informal affair.  We even had singing from both delegations,  including an incredibly powerful rendition of "Old Man River" by David Farrell of ESBI - I subsequently discovered he is a trained opera singer!

It is clear that the Vietnamese have a fondness for the Irish,  and Irish Engineers,  built up over many years by ESBI,  and John Gunning and others.   I myself will be visiting Hanoi for the first time in three weeks time,   in conjunction with a project for Irish Aid and Enterprise Ireland (not directly connected with Engineers Ireland).

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