Posted on 04.07.2023 | Tag: Expert views

Hanoi, 22/02/2023, Obama Foundation announced the wildlife conservationist NGUYEN THI THU TRANG was selected as the only young leader of Vietnam participating in the Asia-Pacific Leadership Program 2023. Thu Trang, or Trang Nguyen is the founder and director of the local, charity wildlife conservation organisation WildAct Vietnam

The Obama Foundation Asia-Pacific Leadership Program trains and connects young leaders from different countries and sectors, such as public, private, and nonprofit services. This is a very competitive program with more than 4000 people around the world nominated in 2023, and only 105 of them were selected by the International Leaders Program - Obama Foundation. Selection criteria are based on the potential impact and ability to promote the common good within the sphere of influence of each candidate. This year, 35 individuals from 22 countries in the Asia-Pacific region were selected.

In the program, Leaders participate in virtual skill-building workshops, network-building opportunities, and a variety of moderated conversations with experts, while focusing on individual growth as a leader. The program is also an ideal hub for leaders from other countries, thereby expanding the network and improving the opportunities for cooperation on social projects in the future. In addition, participants will have an opportunity to meet and discuss with former US President Barack Obama on development issues in the region.

“I feel honoured and proud to be the representative of Vietnam, of the WildAct team, and of the conservation sector this year. By participating in the program, I hope to spread the messages, share our efforts, and tireless contributions to wildlife conservation in Vietnam with international leaders. As my leadership skillsdeveloped and strengthened through the program, I aim to mobilise more resources and support from international citizens to create more impactful and sustainable conservation efforts in Vietnam” - Dr. Trang Nguyen shared.

Prior to being nominated for this program, Dr. Trang Nguyen has devoted 16 years to wildlife conservation research and led WildAct to create numerous positive changes for the conservation. Aiming to increase Vietnam’s capacity in the wildlife conservation sector, Dr. Trang Nguyen and her colleagues at WildAct pioneered the implementation of courses on illegal wildlife trade and animal welfare in Vietnam. More than 40% of students taking the course are working directly in the conservation sector in National Parks, Protected Areas, and domestic and international NGOs. WildAct is also a pioneer in organising the Student Conference on Nature Conservation, with 100% of participants satisfied with the conference, and more than 92% of participants hope that it will be held annually. 

Moreover, Trang Nguyen also led WildAct to become the first organisation in Vietnam to implement a gender program in the conservation sector that builds an equal and safe working environment for officers and employees from conservation organisations in the country. In addition, Trang directs WildAct to develop programs that motivate individuals and communities to manage and conserve natural resources and prevent illegal poaching and wildlife trades in 7 provinces, including Dak Lak, Quang Binh, Ninh Binh, Nghe An, Ha Giang, Hue, and Hanoi.

In 2022, Dr.Trang Nguyen was the first Asian to win the Princess of Girona Foundation International Award, presented by the Princess of Spain - Leonor. This prestigious award was given to Trang Nguyen for "her courageous and inspiring work in wildlife conservation in her own country and elsewhere in the world”. Dr. Trang Nguyen also entered the Top 5 social contributions of "The Women of Future" award in Southeast Asia of The Women of The Future Program (UK). In 2018, Trang received the Future for Nature Award – a distinguished award for conservationists around the world.