Boise State University College of Business and Economics professor Nancy Napier has been awarded Vietnam’s highest award for contributions to education in the Southeast Asian country.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training conferred the Medal of Honor on Napier during a special ceremony Nov. 18 in Hanoi, Vietnam, honoring her long-time work there, particularly at the National Economics University (NEU).
From 1994-2003, Napier led Boise State’s $8.5 million capacity building project at NEU, which involved delivering Boise State’s MBA to 84 participants, supporting more than 20 Vietnamese faculty members in other master’s and doctoral programs around the world, and helping to establish Vietnam’s first international standard business school in 1997.
“Many years ago, Nancy Napier had the inspiration to form a partnership between the College of Business and Economics and the country of Vietnam that would help that country begin to reshape its economy,” said Patrick Shannon, dean of Boise State’s College of Business and Economics. “What started out as an MBA opportunity for Vietnamese students has turned into a 20-year relationship with the country’s leaders. We are very proud of Nancy for her leadership and are thrilled that Vietnam has chosen to recognize her with this wonderful honor.”
Many Boise State Vietnam MBA graduates have become leaders in Vietnam’s business and government organizations, as well as within education. With Boise State’s support, the NEU started its own MBA programs in English and Vietnamese, and increased its other academic and outreach offerings. To date, the NEU Business School has trained more than 1,500 managers in its graduate and training programs that focus on doing business in a global economy.
The nine-year project involved more than 25 Boise State faculty members and administrators, more than 50 other faculty members from various countries around the world, and brought more than 100 Vietnamese to Boise to learn about education and doing business in a market economy. Many of
them did internships at Boise organizations, including Boise Cascade, Hewlett-Packard, Nelson Construction, ECCO, the YMCA and the Idaho Statesman.
Boise State began the project before the United States and Vietnam re-established diplomatic relations in 1995 and continued long after. The project, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (1993-2000) and USAID (2000-2003), represented USAID’s largest aid project in Vietnam at the time. It was featured on the front page of the Asian Wall Street Journal, in The New York Times and on NPR radio.
Since the project’s ending, when the NEU Business
School was fully functional, Napier has continued to return periodically to Hanoi, where she teaches at the NEU, works with several business organizations started by Boise State MBAs and conducts research. The College of Business and Economics Executive MBA program does its international residency in Hanoi, which is organized by former Boise State MBAs who are now business leaders in Vietnam. In addition, several other Boise State College of Business and Economics professors continue their links with the National Economics University through teaching and research.
Napier has published several articles, many with colleagues who were Boise MBA graduates, and a book (“Managing in Transition Economies,” 2005) that draw from her experiences in Vietnam. Her most recent book, “Insight: Encouraging Aha Moments for Organizational Success,” has been translated into Vietnamese.
Prof Nancy is a member of OMT’s Advisory Board.