Good News from Afar

COVID has challenged the world in so many ways, including follow-up to the launch of Dr. Diana Dudzik’s memoir in Vietnam. However, in the midst of the COVID era, books continue to be given to teacher educators by the VietTESOL Association (Vietnam Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), and proceeds continue to go toward cancer patient expenses.

On June 23, 2021, a representative of VietTESOL presented Diana’s book and 5 million VND (proceeds from sales of the book) to Tuan and his grandparents. Click here to read the full article, and keep children like Tuan in your prayers.

Cancer Event in Hue

A cancer event was held in Hue City on Saturday October 19th. Diana’s book was available at the event for participants.

Participants at Cancer event in Hue City
Diana’s book on display
Information and education about breast cancer
Cancer event in Hue with Dr. Tung, oncologist (center)

Launch Party

More than fifty guests gathered at Sunwah Hall, on the campus of Vietnam National University Monday evening, October 21, 2019 to celebrate the launch of Diana’s book, Mountains Beyond Mountains: A Memoir of Vietnam, Cancer and Meaningful Work.

After a social hour of light appetizers, fruit juices and wine, a small program–hosted by Ms. Nguyễn Thị Lan Hường of the University of Languages and International Studies/VNU–started with a talk show about the book. Diana, her husband Jerry and her translator Mr. Lê Thanh Dũng discussed aspects of the story. A highlight was when Mr. Dũng described the meaning of the title and its relationship to the story.

Guests included Dr. Phạm Quang Vinh, former ambassador to the US and Dr. Trần Văn Nhung, former vice minister of education, who both wrote forwards to the book. Dr. Đỗ Tuấn Minh and Dr. Nguyễn Hoà, president and former president of ULIS/VNU respectively, Dr. Nguyen Mai Huu, Director of Vietnam’s National Foreign Language Project, and Dr. Phan Van Que, Diana’s former colleague at the NFL Project also attended, along with longtime friends, former students and colleagues from Hanoi University, ULIS/VNU, and the Ministry of Education and Training.

Book Launch Events in Hanoi

University of Languages and International Studies

On Wednesday, October 16, the Resource Center at ULIS/VNU hosted a book launch event for 60 students, mostly foreign language majors with a second major in English. The event was organized by Ms. Dương Khánh Linh, librarian of the resource center and her staff and Ms. Nguyễn Thị Lan Hường, vice director of General Administration. Ms. Nguyễn Thị Thuỳ Linh, English instructor used the event as a field trip for several classes of students. Diana and Jerry talked about the book, about her cancer story, and about how cancer has been a positive pressure in their lives. Students had the opportunity to ask questions in order to receive a book. They asked thoughtful and reflective questions like, “How do you deal with the fight inside yourself?” and “How do you deal with struggles like depression?”

Eager English students at ULIS

Launch Event at Hanoi University

An intimate launch activity was held in the English Department (ED) of Hanoi University (HANU), Vietnam’s premiere foreign language university, on Friday October 18th. It felt like a homecoming. The current ED administration — Mr. Đoàn Quang Trung, ED Dean; Dr Nguyễn Quang Vịnh, Vice Dean; Dr Ngô Văn Giang, Vice Dean; and Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Tân, Head of International Affairs — were Jerry and Diana’s students in a 2001 to 2004 teacher development project at HANU. 

Twenty eight second-year English majors and ten teaching staff attended the launch event organized by Ms. Ms. An Thuỷ Tiên, also Diana and Jerry’s former student. Special guests included Mr Lê Thanh Dũng, former ED dean who served as Diana’s translator for this memoir project and Mr Bùi Văn Cất, former ED Vice Dean.

Translator, the former ED dean

After a short video of photos from the past, Diana introduced the book and read a few excerpts. Audience members teared up as she read about how Jerry came to meet her at school after she got the call, “It’s cancer.” A highlight was when her translator, the former ED dean, described how he translated Diana’s use of the terms “disease” and “dis-ease” in her memoir.

Book Launch Events in Hue

Introduced at VietTESOL

Mountains Beyond Mountains: A memoir of Vietnam, Cancer and Meaningful Work was introduced at the 5th Annual VietTESOL Convention, October 11 and 12 in Hue City, the ancient capital of Vietnam. Nearly 500 Vietnamese and international presenters and participants attended the conference.

Thanks to the generous support of the VietTESOL organizers, Dr. Nguyen Hoa, president of VietTESOL, and Dr. Bao Kham, president of Hue University’s College of Foreign Languages (HUCFL), the book was displayed in a prominent place at the conference.

Ms. Lien (left of Jerry) and her staff and their artful book display

Official Book Launch Event at HUCFL

An official book launch event was held at HUCFL on Saturday afternoon October 12 for more than 60 students, staff and guests. VIPs Dr. Bao Kham, Dr. Nguyen Hoa, Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Hung, as well as Dr. Tran Van Phuoc, President of the US-VN Friendship Association in Hue, and oncologist Professor Dr. Phan Dinh Tung, Vice Director of the Cancer Center at Hue Central Hospital, and President of the Cancer Association of Thua Thien Hue Province attended the event. 

Truong Bach, a dynamic second year English student, and president of the HUCFL English book club “Câu lạc bộ Sách HUCFL,” interviewed Diana and her husband Jerry about their experience in Vietnam and with cancer.  Diana and Jerry donated a number of books to the HUCFL library’s “American Corner” and to the local cancer association.

Generous contributions were made for teacher development activities and cancer patient expenses and more than 250 books were distributed. The events generated interest in more fund-raising activities to support cancer patients in Hue.

Book Launch Events

It’s happening! Mountains Beyond Mountains: A Memoir of Vietnam, Cancer and Meaningful Work is about to launch.

National VietTESOL Conference

Diana and Jerry will be at the VietTESOL conference in Hue, Vietnam Friday and Saturday, October 11 and 12.

Books will be available for sale. All proceeds will go to VietTESOL teacher development scholarship fund and to cancer patient expenses.*

Hue University College of Foreign Languages, 1st floor Library

Saturday October 12, 3:00-5:00 PM, for staff and students.

University of Languages and International Studies (ULIS/VNU) Resource Center

Tuesday October 15, 9:00-11:00 am. Resource Center. Talk show format.

Hanoi University English Department (HANU – ED)

Friday October 18, 10:00-11:00 AM. English Department. More details to come.

Launch Party

Monday October 21, 6:00-8:00 PM, first floor, Sunwah Building, ULIS, 144 Xuan Thuy Street, Cau Giay, Hanoi (near front gate across from IPH).

Open House. Everyone we’ve worked with is welcome! Please come.

Program: Diana will read short selections from the book, there’ll be food, brief remarks from VIPs, and books available for sale* and signing. There may even be a song or dance performance or two. Come, have fun, pick up a book, and celebrate with us!

*All proceeds from sale of books will go to VietTESOL scholarship fund and cancer patient expenses at National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (HIHBT) in Hanoi.