Viện Khoa học xã hội vùng Nam Bộ (Southern Institute of Social Sciences - SISS)

Established in 1975, SISS, representative of VASS in the South of Vietnam, is a multi-disciplinary research institute. SISS consists of 80 researchers including 1 full-professor, 3 associate professors, 18 doctors and other masters with various disciplinary and professional backgrounds. SISS includes 11 research centres as following: Center for Philosophy and Political Sciences, Center for Economics, Center for Sociology, Center for Gender and Family Research, Center for Ethnic Studies, Center for Religious Studies, Center for Environmental Research, Center for Development Research and Consultancy, Center for Literature and Linguistics, Center for Archaeology, and the Center for History. The Social Sciences Library at SISS serves the public with 150,000 books and over 1,000 scientific journals. SISS has the monthly Review of Social Sciences. The journal of SISS is the leading journal of social sciences and humanities in the South of Vietnam. The main functions of SISS is doing research in Southern Vietnam in order to be the foundation for policy making, exchanging scientific information, establishing international scientific collaboration and disseminate knowledge of the social sciences and humanities. SISS is also providing advocacy and consultancy for development via the cooperation with various PMU of environmental protection projects, urban upgrading projects, water resources related projects as well as rural development projects. Since the early 2000s, SISS has been focusing on the following research fields and topics: Socio-economic surveys for planning and governance in the South of Vietnam; Economic development in the South of Vietnam; Local politics, administration and civil society; Social stratification, social change, and institutional development; Urbanization and rural development; emerging issues in culture, religion and ethnicity in the South of Vietnam; Interaction between socio-economic activity and environment in the context of global climate change; Gender dimensions in development; Migrant workers and their families in cities and industrial zones; and Poverty reduction in urban and rural areas. In the period between 2006-2017, SISS conducted more than 20 research projects funded by the government agencies as well as by international donors.

The Souther Institute will support the project with its scientific expertise, broad knowledge of the academic and non-academic environment in Southern Vietnam and knowledge of the needs and requirements of the higher education sector. It will take the lead of joint practical activities (joint teaching, field-trip, summer-school), alternating with CMU and VASS. However, SISS will be supported by HCMCOU in carrying out these activities, as both institutes are located in HCMC.


Bui The Cuong

Cuong The Bui is senior researcher and professor of sociology at the Southern Institute of Social Sciences which is affiliated with the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences. He was trained in political economy in Viet Nam and in sociology in Germany. Between 1999 and 2005 he was Vice-Director of the Institute of Sociology in Ha Noi. From 2005 until 2012 he was Director of the Southern Institute of Social Sciences and Editor-in-Chief of the Review of Social Sciences. He has been leading several research programs on social change, social stratification, civil society, and community studies in Viet Nam.

Prof. Cuong The Bui has completed his study in political economy at Hanoi National University (Vietnam). Based on this background he has been longstanding interested in the issues of sociological and political theories. He received his Ph.D. at the Institute of Sociology and Social Policy (German Democratic Republic Academy of Sciences, Berlin). He returned home in the early 1990s and has worked at the Institute of Sociology (Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences). There he became principal researcher, associate professor and Vice-Director. His interests include methodology of social research, sociological history and theories, ageing, civil society, social policy and social work, and social stratification.

He was the founder of the Ageing Research Program at the Institute of Sociology (Hanoi) between 1991 and 2005 at which about 50 articles were published in Vietnamese journals and books. In collaboration with American colleagues at the University of Michigan, he conducted some surveys and qualitative researches on the elderly in Vietnam. These projects were funded by the University of Michigan, Toyota Foundation, and UNFPA in Vietnam. Based on the data sets of these researches, he was co-author with American colleagues at the University of Michigan for several articles published in the international journals later 1990s and early 2000s.

Since the early 2000s he has been interested in the issues of the civil society. In collaboration with German colleagues working at the Free University of Berlin and then at the Institute of Asian Studies (an affiliation of the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, GIGA, Hamburg), he conducted several projects on this topic during the 2000s and 2010s. In these projects the team focuses on civic organizations located in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The team has tried to explore the development of civic organizations, different types of civic organizations in Vietnam, their intra-organizational relationships, and their polyvalent roles in rapidly changing Vietnamese society. Based on these projects, the team produced some articles published in international journals and working paper series.

Prof. Cuong was the Director of the SISS in Ho Chi Minh City from 2005 until 2012. As its director, he has designed and developed several new research programs for the SISS, including the basic and longitudinal socio-economic surveys, community research, social history at macro and micro level, and environment issues in the context of climate change. These programs focus on the Southern region of Vietnam. Many research projects, articles and monographies have been published in these programs under the co-ordination of Prof. Cuong as program leader and principal investigator.

During the years 2008-2011 he was leader of a comprehensive research program funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (Germany). The program consisted of several activities in research, workshops and publications. In research activity, the program included three research projects. The first one was a literature overview on the gender studies in Vietnam and in the South region of Vietnam. The second one focused on the gender bias in textbooks and teaching practice in Vietnamese schools. The third one aimed to explore the roles of women of ethnic majorities and minorities (Viet, Khmer and Cham people) in family and community. Several articles and one book (2010) were the outputs of the program.

During the years 2008-2013 Prof. Cuong joined a multi-disciplinary project named Water-related Information System for Sustainable Development of the Mekong Delta of Vietnam (WISDOM), funded by the German and Vietnam Government. The component of social sciences in the project was co-ordinated by the Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung, University of Bonn (Germany) and Prof. Cuong was head of the SISS Team in this component. He edited several articles and one monography (2012) as results of this project. He also was the co-author of some articles of the project published in international journals and books. During the years 2010-2012 Prof. Cuong has worked for a project in collaboration with Korean colleagues at the Sogang University (Seoul, Korea). The project reviewed the comprehensive development of relationship between Korea and Vietnam after 1975, including the diplomatic and political relationship, economic and trade development, migrant labor, cross-national marriage and family, academic and cultural exchange. One book in Korea and one book in Vietnam have been published in 2015 as results of this project.

Currently, Prof. Cuong participates in the project The Transition of Vietnamese Family in the Doi Moi Period implemented by the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO). The project aims to explore tremendous changes of family in rapidly transformative Vietnamese society.

Social change and social stratification have been the topics of Prof. Cuong's long-term academic interests. During the 2000s he was leader of a research project funded by the Vietnamese Government. In this project he observed long-term dynamics in the modernization process in Vietnam. His monography in 2010 on social change in Vietnam was a result of this project. Based on the data sets of several surveys conducted between 2008 and 2015 at which he has been involved as principal investigator, Prof. Cuong has published many articles on social inequality and social stratification in Vietnam and in the South region of Vietnam.

In the field of teaching and training, Prof. Cuong was director of the multi-disciplinary graduated program (Master and PhD) at SISS between 2005 and 2010. Then, he was chief-representative for the Graduate Academy of Social Sciences (GASS - it is the graduate affiliation of Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences) in Ho Chi Minh between 2010 and 2013. On these posts he was responsible for designing and managing the curriculums of Master and PhD programs in different disciplines ranging from philosophy, economics, law, to sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, and history as well as literature. He has held several permanent courses such as methodology of social research, history and theory of sociology, social policy, and sociology of development at the GASS and at the Ho Chi Minh City National University.

Le Thanh Sang

LE THANH SANG is the Director of the Southern Institute of Social Sciences and Editor-in-Chief of the Review of Social Sciences in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. He received his Ph.D at the Department of Sociology, at the University of Washington, USA, in 2004. His main research interests are in demography, social security, social inequality and poverty. Specifically, he has focused on urbanization, migration, social structures, policies and their effects on inequality in occupational status, income, accessibility to education and health care in rural and urban areas in Viet Nam. In 2008, he studied climate change at the RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia and began to study climate change and adaptation for sustainable development as well.

He has been the principle investigator and core investigator of various research projects. Currently, he is the principle investigator of the national project on population and migration in sustainable development of the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam, funded by the Vietnamese government in 2016-2017 and the core investigator of a project on Viet Nam Population Health collaborated with the Social Sciences Research Council of America, funded by the Atlantic Philanthropy in 2008-2016. These are multi- and inter-disciplinary research projects. He is also a leader of a Vietnamese team in the Mekong Region Development Research Group project, a collaboration of the University of Utah and various universities and institutes in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, China, and Burma funded by the Luce Foundation in 2011-2016. This project focuses mainly on capacity building for social science researchers in the Greater Mekong Region and develops the networks among these regional research and education institutions.

Over the past decade, he has also collaborated with his colleagues at the Southern Institute of Social Sciences and other institutions to conduct various projects on rural-urban migration, social security for migration workers, rural and urban poverty in Viet Nam, border-migration between Viet Nam and Cambodia, climate change impacts and adaptations of population in Vietnam, Australia, Bangladesh, and other issues, funded by the Found Foundation, UNDP, IOM, Oxfam, Action Aids in Viet Nam, Mekong Migration Networks, and the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research.

He also gives lectures on demography, statistics, and research methods in social sciences for undergraduate and graduate programs at some universities in Viet Nam and on urbanization and migration in Viet Nam for international exchange students from the U.S. and Singapore. Besides doing research and teaching, he is a supervisor of many Master and Ph.D. Vietnamese students.

Based on longstanding experience in doing research and teaching, strong networking with local and academic communities in Viet Nam and in the Mekong Region, and especially the deep understanding of the situation in Southern Viet Nam, Sang and the Southern Institute of Social Sciences are going to be a key connection point with national and international partners in social sciences in Southern Viet Nam.

Nguyen Thi Minh Chau

NGUYEN THI MINH CHAU got a MA of political economics in 2007 at the Ho Chi Minh City National University. She has worked as a researcher at the SISS for 15 years, and is the director of the Center for Research and Consultancy for Development since 2008. She has been interested in development and global studies such as industrial labor, migrant workers (internal migration and cross-border migration, climate change, civil society, multi-dimensional poverty, human rights (worker rights and consumer rights) with her strength in qualitative methods. She was one of three main members of the project 'Legal and Practice Barriers to Access to Social Protection Policies of Migrant Workers in Vietnam' which was supported and published by Oxfam in Vietnam 2015. She has been studying the support of a more effective protection of consumer rights; research and communication for the change from the processed food sector. Especially, her interest lies in action oriented approaches and she leads some community development projects (basic and action research). Almost all results of her researches were background to develop action projects.

From 2008 until 2015, she was leader of four research and community projects which are funded and managed by the Vietnam Government or the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences; two projects which are funded and managed by international donors, NGOs; co-operator of 14 research projects which are in collaboration with international colleagues and which are funded by international donors, universities and NGOs; local consultant in four research/ evaluation projects which are funded by international donors and conducted by international consultancy agencies. She has expertise in working, collaborating and exchanging with international researchers of the University of Bonn, Germany; the Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK; the research team of the Copenhagen Business School and California State University, Monterey Bay University; etc.

She has joined the Mekong Migrant Network (MMN) in 2006 and has collaborated in projects of six countries in the Greater Mekong Su-region on migration and impacts on migration, impacts of economic zones on cross-border migrants, climate change and migration (environmental migration) research, Self-care & Health Care. She is also a member of the Mekong Region Development Research Group (MRDRG), managed by The Asia Center at the University of Utah, from 2012 to now. She participated in annual training workshops of MRDRG on research methods and approaches by sharing and exchanging together.

Pham Thi Dung

PHAM THI DUNG received a BA in Sociology and is MA student at the Graduate Academy of Social Sciences (Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences). She is writing her MA thesis on Health Care in Families of Middle Classes in Ho Chi Minh City supervised by Prof. Bui The Cuong. Ms. Dung had expertise working in some agencies such as the Marketing Company SMART, the Partage (a NGO), or the College of Air Services. When she worked for Youth Union in District 2 Ho Chi Minh City, she conducted the research project Need Assessment of Young People Living in District 2 Ho Chi Minh City (2011) and Survey on Socio-economic and Cultural Development in District 2 Ho Chi Minh City (2013). Currently she is assistant researcher for the project Change of Social Structure in the South Economic Zone beyond 2020, coordinated by Prof. Bui The Cuong at the Southern Institute of Social Sciences.