Ben’s connection to Vietnam began with his sixth-grade social studies teacher, who captivated Ben and his classmates with accounts of Vietnam and the Vietnamese people based on his wartime experiences there.
For Ben, Vietnam sounded infinitely more interesting than his small hometown in central Connecticut. As a college freshman, he enrolled in beginning Vietnamese, beginning a lifelong devotion to the Vietnamese language and its rich literary heritage.
Later, he took a year off from his studies to live in Hanoi. He was taken in by a Vietnamese family in which both parents served in the North Vietnamese Army during the war.
After several spectacularly unsuccessful attempts to become a tech mogul and then a corporate lawyer, Ben returned to Vietnam and joined the staff of the Fulbright School. He worked at the school for ten years, serving as the Harvard Vietnam Program representative.
During his time there, the Fulbright School emerged as the leading center for the study of Vietnam’s economic development, something that Ben can claim very little credit for. He also directed the Vietnam Program’s policy dialogue activities with the Vietnamese government.
For six years, Ben served as a consulting producer to The Vietnam War, an epic ten-part documentary miniseries directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that is scheduled to air on PBS in the fall of 2017. Ben occasionally interprets for the US side at high level bilateral meetings.
At FUV USA, Ben works closely with the FUV team on three interrelated work streams: development of FUV’s business and financial model, design of FUV’s academic programs, and the planning and development of FUV’s campus and facilities. One of the great privileges of Ben’s job is the chance to work with veterans from all three sides to create new opportunities for the young people of Vietnam.
Ben holds a degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard College.