In order to address the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics’ demand for training on anti-corruption, Towards Transparency (TT) invited Law Professor Matthew C. Stephenson of Harvard University to Vietnam to a seminar organized by ?the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (Academy I) on June 7, 2019. With the topic “Anti-corruption – Theory and practical experiences of other countries”, the seminar was chaired by Associate Doctor Le Thi Thuc, Deputy Director of Academy, who welcomed nearly 50 participants, many of whom were deans, assistant deans and lecturers of the academy.
At the seminar, Professor Stephenson presented prominent world scientific research results on the consequences, causes, and solutions to anti-corruption. He also shared practical experiences of many countries in the fight against corruption, including both developed and developing countries. Notably, Professor Stephenson pointed out that not only does corruption have negative impacts on economic development and political stability, but it also costs human’s lives in many cases. He cited the example of casualties in earthquakes which were mostly caused by poorly-constructed buildings due to corruption. Many poor people also died because they could not afford to pay for bribes to access health care services. The presentation triggered deeper thoughts on the issue among the participants.
During the discussion section, participants from the academy shared their opinions and asked questions regarding anti-corruption solutions. Professor Stephenson said that currently there was no shortage of tools and solutions in the world to fight against corruption, what matters is the choice of each country. He emphasized that countries with widespread corruption should prioritize the promotion of the effectiveness and integrity of law enforcement agencies. Because no matter how good a country’s legal framework is, if the law enforcement is ineffective and the agencies themselves do not maintain integrity, that country has little chance to successfully end corruption.
This is the second time Professor Stephenson has come to Vietnam. During his first visit in 2018, he worked with TT to support the Government Inspectorate to improve the Anti-Corruption Law 2018. In 2019, he will continue to work with TT to support the Government Inspectorate to develop two Decrees guiding the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Law 2018. From the success of this international cooperation, TT will continue to introduce and bring world experts to share relevant experiences to promote more effective anti-corruption work in Vietnam.