While studying abroad in Vietnam, Mark Hallman ’07 recently had a brief conversation with President George Bush.
“Our conversation started with a firm handshake and President Bush asked what I do in the Embassy and how I liked Vietnam,” said Hallman, who is an intern this semester with the Foreign Commercial Service at the United States Embassy in Hanoi. He met the President during Bush’s brief stop last week at the Embassy in connection with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
“I told the President that Vietnam is a beautiful country and that the people have been really great and interesting. I told him that he should visit Ha Long Bay possibly Vietnam’s most famous natural attraction and he agreed. He said that his daughters would love this country and that he will tell them to come here.”
In his address, Bush discussed extending economic relations between Vietnam and the United States, and how both countries have put the dark chapters of war behind them for mutual prosperity in the future. He also thanked the Embassy staff for their dedication to the country.
A history and environmental studies major, Hallman said he was inspired by the President’s visit. He plans to attend graduate school and study international energy policy.
There are eight Hobart and William Smith students currently participating in the Vietnam program. They study and travel with nine students from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. The Colleges program in Vietnam began in 1994, the same year the United States lifted its embargo.