Danida Fellowship Centre Chairperson, Margrethe Holm Andersen’s speech of introduction, Danida Alumni Prize 2019

Danida Alumni Prize 2019
Photo: Crawfurd Media

First, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you in the room and not least to all Danida alumni who are present – from a range of Danida partner countries and countries with which Denmark is collaborating. A special welcome to Dr. Phan Thi Van from Vietnam. It is a great pleasure to see you all here.

I would also like to thank the organisers of the 5th Joint Nordic Development Research Conference on ‘Knowledge Production in North-South Collaboration’ for accepting to include the handing out of the Danida Alumni Award 2019 in the programme of the conference.

The Danida Alumni Network is a unique global network of professionals from Danida countries. All alumni in the network have been trained, studied or done research in collaboration with Danish researchers or research institutions.

Since the 1960s, 25000 individuals from Denmark’s partner countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and now also Europe with Turkey have received a Danida fellowship and are thereby potential members of the Danida Alumni Network.

Danida fellows are handpicked and the Danida Alumni Network personalizes the 25000 Danida fellows that have so far received a fellowship from the Danish state to pursue a PhD or Master’s degree or attend one of Danida Fellowship Centre’s capacity building courses.

The Danida alumni network aims at making it possible for alumni to stay in touch with each other and with Danish partners after returning to their home countries. National Alumni networks have been established in 8 countries so far and are organizing various joint events – some of which with support from DFC and the Danish embassies.

The Danida Alumni Prize was ordained in 2017 by Danida Fellowship Centre and aims at celebrating eminent Danida alumni.

The Danida Alumni Prize 2019 is to be awarded to an alumnus, who based on his or her Danida funded studies and as a result of research based achievements, has contributed to positive change in his/her home country or area of employment.

Dr Phan Thi Van is the first woman to receive the Danida alumni prize. It is encouraging to hear Phan Thi Van explaining in the film, how she has drawn inspiration for her leadership style from female role models in Denmark and at Danida Fellowship Centre in particular. She explains, for instance that she has benefitted - both as a leader and as a researcher - from making active use of such attributes as patience and determination.

It is also remarkable how Dr Phan Thi Van during her time in Denmark consolidated her international outlook to further embark on research and knowledge creation from a global viewpoint. I happen to know that Dr. Phan Thi Van was to a large extend inspired by her father to always keep the value of a global network and international interaction in mind. Dr Phan Thi Van’s international mindset illustrates how Danida’s support to research contributes to building a global collaborative research network with roots in Denmark.

I am therefore very pleased that we can today honour Dr. Phan Thi Van with the Danida Alumni Prize 2019. Congratulations and wishing you all the best in your future career. We are proud to be able to have you in our midst and look forward to many more years of good collaboration with you.