Discussion on Vietnam’s Energy Future with John Kerry

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Energy security is a priority issue for many countries around the globe, but what does the term “energy security” really mean? For many it is assuring the safe supply and transport of energy as a matter of national security. For others it is developing and moving toward sustainable and low-carbon energy sources to avoid environmental catastrophe, while still others prioritize affordability and abundance of supply. Vietnam is seeking a solution for all of these issues and the United States can help. Join AmCham for a special Global Leaders Series discussion on June 21 with former Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss Vietnam’s energy future.


The demand for energy has ramifications in every part of the globe. Yet the fact remains that the vast majority of global energy production still comes from fossil fuels, and it will take a thorough understanding of the interrelationships of complex challenges – finite supply, environmental concerns, political and religious conflict, and economic volatility – to develop policies that will lead to true energy security. Vietnam has a proud history of extending grid electricity to almost every village and of increasing the total amount of power by more than 12% a year since 1995. Moving forward, Vietnam needs to place greater emphasis on domestic potential for energy efficiencies and renewable energies to be added to other clean sources of power for consumers and enterprises. Foreign companies are showing what can be done with renewable energy farms and micro-grids for industrial parks, solar, and “smart city” technology in Vietnam. In addition, the development of domestic natural gas should be maximized to reduce Vietnam’s dependence on the costs and risks of imported fuel. While Vietnam’s carbon emissions are growing at the fastest rate in the region, good decision making and new technology can enable Vietnam to tackle the growing environmental concerns and avoid many of the environmental problems that countries like the United States and China have experienced.

John Kerry served as US Secretary of State from 2013 to 2017 following nearly three decades as a United States Senator from Massachusetts, including serving as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A decorated Vietnam War veteran, leading environmentalist, and 2004 nominee for president of the United States, Kerry remains one of the most respected voices in American public life and on the world stage.

Kerry was born in Colorado and graduated from Yale University in 1966 with a major in political science. Kerry enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1966, and between 1968 and 1969, he served a four-month tour of duty in Vietnam as officer-in-charge of a Swift Boat. Kerry returned from Vietnam with Silver and Bronze Stars for bravery and three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action. He went on to become a prominent anti-war activist.

After receiving a J.D. from Boston College Law School, Kerry worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Massachusetts. He served as Lieutenant Governor under Michael Dukakis from 1983 to 1985 and was elected to the US Senate in 1984. Kerry was re-elected to additional terms in 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008.

In 1993, Senator Kerry, working with fellow Vietnam veteran John McCain, urged President Clinton to lift US trade sanctions against Vietnam. In 1994, Kerry and McCain sponsored a resolution to lift the embargo, against the opposition of veterans’ groups and many politicians. The two would continue to work with the president to accelerate the normalization of trade relations with the country.

Looking back on the development of bilateral relations, Kerry said, “The United States and Vietnam have again proven that former adversaries really can become partners, even in the complex world we face today. And as much as that achievement matters to us, it is also a profound and timely lesson to the rest of the world.”

Kerry recently joined Washington think tank The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as its first visiting distinguished statesman. In his new role, Kerry will concentrate on conflict resolution and environmental challenges facing the world.

EVENT:     A Discussion on Energy in Vietnam with John Kerry
DATE:       Wednesday, June 21
TIME:        8:30am – 10:00am
PLACE:     Hilton Hanoi Opera, 1 Le Thanh Tong Street
COST:        650,000 VND (members); 850,000 VND (non-members)

This event is sold out. If you haven’t previously registered, please do not come.