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Simmons College Receives $1.8 million Grant To Ready New Generation of Vietnamese Librarians for Leadership Roles

Simmons to help developing nation rebuild its information and education systems

BOSTON (October 26, 2005) — Simmons College has received $1.8 million to prepare a new generation of Vietnamese librarians for key leadership positions to run some of the country's largest university libraries and help further its educational system.

The grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies will pay for 25 Vietnamese librarians to study at Simmons College's Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Boston, before returning to Vietnam and completing coursework in their home country, where they will be taught by Simmons faculty. Emphasis will be placed on developing leadership and information management skills during their course of study.

The new program builds on the more than 12 years of experience the Simmons library and information science school has developed in educating Vietnamese librarians. In 1993 the school became the first major American library program to help Vietnam rebuild its library system and information infrastructure. Today, Simmons-educated librarians fill influential positions at libraries across that country. Among the graduates are the deputy director of the National Library, and the director of the General Science Library in Ho Chi Minh City.

Upon successful completion of the new program, the Vietnamese librarians will receive a master's degree in library and information science from Simmons. Professor Patricia Oyler, who runs the Simmons Vietnam program, said she expects the advanced degrees from a respected American institution of higher learning to give the Vietnamese librarians the additional skills and professional status they need to take on leadership roles in their country.

Librarians from Hue, Danang, Can Tho, and Thai Nguyen are expected to participate and fill leadership positions at the university libraries in those locations, which have some of the largest libraries in Vietnam. While in the U.S., the Vietnamese librarians will also visit major American information centers such as the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

The Atlantic Philanthropies are a group of Bermuda-based charitable foundations whose grant investments are focused internationally in program fields that include aging, disadvantaged children and youth, population health and reconciliation, and human rights.

The Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science (www.simmons.edu/gslis/) was established in 1902 and today is one of the oldest and largest graduate schools of library science in North America. The school has more than 9,000 alumni in library and information science positions around the world. Simmons College (www.simmons.edu) is a nationally recognized private university located in the heart of Boston.

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